In the current issue of Christianity Today, I was asked to comment on the following question, “Should Christians read through the entire Bible in one year?” It may surprise you but I came out on the “no” end of the spectrum.  Now hold on. Before you get on my case, let me explain my reasoning.


Because Christianity Today only had space for a small excerpt of my response, here’s the full answer I gave them… 


“I’ve never been a big fan of reading through the Bible in a year. I know that makes me seem like a spiritual weakling. All my life I’ve been taught that the strongest Christians use the ‘snow plow method;’ they start in Genesis at the beginning of the year and plow all the way to Revelation by the end. The problem is most people never get past February, which I call Bible Bail-out Month; that’s when they hit Leviticus and give up. 


The truth is reading through the Bible in a year is a good thing; I’ve done it several times myself and believe it should be on the spiritual bucket list of every Christian. I just think we should avoid making it our default methodology. So regardless of which Bible reading plan we use, let’s agree that the most important thing is not how much Scripture we read every year. It’s how much Scripture we apply every day.”


So what do you think? Should Christians read through the entire Bible in one year?  Feel free to add your comment to this blog.  Thanks!

Should You Read the Entire Bible in One Year?

18 thoughts on “Should You Read the Entire Bible in One Year?

  • February 10, 2014 at 11:28 am
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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and this expanded answer.

    I read through the Bible every year by simply starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation. Even though I have never “bailed out” in Leviticus in Feburary, I do believe that it is a temptation and can become difficult for some people.

    However, I think it is okay to look at alternative ways to read the Bible (as you have mentioned). Maybe someone listens to an audio Bible while driving or exercising? Maybe they focus in on a specific book of the Bible every month?

    Just thoughts. I agree that we need to focus not on how much of the Bible we read, but how much of it we apply to our lives.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Christopher S.

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  • February 10, 2014 at 2:57 pm
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    In thinking about reading the whole Bible in a year, you bring (as always) a measured and realistic response to what, after all, is simply a humanly created response to the Bible. Great idea though it is it can easily become a measure of spiritual maturity and a reason for spiritual pride and condescension. It is of huge importance that we ensure that we grasp the big picture and vary the Bible genres that we read. But of even greater importance is ensuring that our reading of the whole Bible sends us to the Lord Jesus, focusses ultimately on him and expands our appreciation of what God has done in Christ

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  • February 26, 2014 at 1:31 am
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    I have written 'Bible Stories For Big Kids' which is the Old Testament written as a story in a contemporary and sometimes humorous style for teens and adults. This is a great way to read through all the Old Testament and use it an introduction to reading the Bible version. Check out http://www.BibleStoriesForBigKids.com Karina Shim

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  • February 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm
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    It's good to read the Bible through every year, and a good way to avoid the February Bible Bailout is to read a One Year Bible. The one by Selwyn Hughes has two or three Old Testament chapters, a portion of the Psalms, of Proverbs and of the New Testament, followed by a short reflection and suggestions for further study. This takes no more than about a quarter of an hour a day and means that you meet unfamiliar passages as well as greeting old friends.
    Anne

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  • May 23, 2014 at 7:20 pm
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    Having come late to faith at 38, over the last 15 years I have read the Bible through 7 times. Although I've had many 'rhema' scripture moments and 'remez' hints that have led me to some deeper scriptural revelations, I can't say I had any recognisable benefit from reading the Bible through in a year, except that it helped me form and maintain the habit of daily reading of scripture.

    Lately I've taken to watching David Pawson's Bible commentaries on YouTube and found them quite illuminating, although as his teaching spans the learning of some decades, the later material shows more depth and includes his newer realisations.

    The other thing I'm finding helpful is reading the same few chapters daily for a month to really get to grips with it before moving onto another section, thus apparently covering the whole Bible in around 3 years.

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  • June 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm
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    I appreciate your thoughtful response to the CT inquiry. I, like several of the other responders, have read through the Bible in one year and found it vey helpful. One of the more meaningful years was reading the Bible in chronological (or at least a close as possible to chronological) sequence. It puts all the historical events in a more logical order, including sequencing several of the Old Testament books that are were written at or near the same time or like Kings and Chronicles books which cover the same events from slightly different perspectives. The chronological sequence reveals God's plan in an easier to comprehend beginning to prophetic end story compared to jumping around in history.
    I also appreciate the daily Bible reading plans from your Scripture Union publications allowing us to read though the Bible in five years (twice for the New Testament). The commentaries are enlightening. I especially like the online reading option. I do have one suggestion regarding references to other verses in Bible (besides the verses that are part of the day's reading). It would be nice if the other verses were hyperlinks to make it fast and easy to quickly go to them. That may be difficult but if it is possible, I'd like to see that.

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  • June 12, 2014 at 7:21 pm
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    A friend of mine suggested another way which I liked.

    You can use audio version too but try to concentrate on it !

    Start reading two chapters from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament, plus 2 chapters from psalms and one from proverbs.. by the time you have finished the old testament (almost after one year) , you have read the psalms , proverbs and NT three times!

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  • June 28, 2014 at 1:54 am
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    Does Leviticus contain the boring measures and/or so-an-so beget so and so's???? If so, then, yea, I might give up too. I think I totally skipped over those parts in when I read the Bible through. I may have the book wrong though, so it may be a moot point…

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  • August 21, 2014 at 7:52 am
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    It's too difficult for me to read the Bible in one year. I'm a tortoise rather than a hare, and prefer the approach used by Scripture Union's Encounter with God daily guide to read through the Bible in 5 years. I'm in the middle of my second year, and this pace works very well, giving me more time to chew on what I've read and to apply it to my life. But I'm all for other ways to read through and study the Bible, including Bible Study Fellowship, which takes about 7 years. Sometimes, I like to take the time to read a commentary on a book of the Bible.

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  • August 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm
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    At first I did agreed with you, but I have read through the Bible in a year many times and sometimes it just becomes an exercise in getting it done in the time span rather than understanding or hearing God as I read. I would rather read the Word to understand, mediate, and hear from God every day. Reading one passage or devotional reading is the better approach so you can really think about what you have read and apply the Word to your life.

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  • October 15, 2014 at 7:48 pm
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    I have read the Bible through in a year and I feel that I get more out of it if I focus on one book at a time instead of trying to read it like I would a novel.

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  • April 8, 2015 at 3:37 am
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    Reading through the Bible in one year, year after year as some do, should result in familiarity with everything in the Bible. It doesn't seem in reality to have that result for anyone I know. This says to me that many are passing their eyes over every page but absorbing and retaining very little. For me and I suspect for many of the one year folk, a slower, more engaged approach would result in richer understanding and more faithful application.

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  • June 3, 2015 at 10:26 am
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    I'd just like to pass on another way to help spread the gospel and it's simply this:-

    Include a link to an online gospel tract (e.g. http://www.freecartoontract.com/animation) as part of your email signature.

    An email signature is a piece of customizable HTML or text that most email applications will allow you to add to all your outgoing emails. For example, it commonly contains name and contact details – but it could also (of course) contain a link to a gospel tract.

    For example, it might say something like, “p.s. you might like this gospel cartoon …” or “p.s. have you seen this?”.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2015 at 7:51 pm
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    Psalms, proverbs, 4 gospels, revelation, acts, and pentateuch gets read through once a month.

    Starting from Joshua one chapter, from ecclesiastes one chapter, letters/epistles one chapter those three chronologically.
    As it seems the Old testament is dependent on the pentateuch, the New testament is a continuation of and is dependent on Old testament prophecies fulfilled, and to be able to apologize and be an effective witness of Jesus (and help guide my spiritual life) I am trying to be very familiar with the pentateuch as the foundation on which the gospel and the entire bible rests.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2015 at 7:53 pm
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    Psalms, proverbs, 4 gospels, revelation, acts, and pentateuch gets read through once a month.

    Starting from Joshua one chapter, from ecclesiastes one chapter, letters/epistles one chapter those three chronologically.
    As it seems the Old testament is dependent on the pentateuch, the New testament is a continuation of and is dependent on Old testament prophecies fulfilled, and to be able to apologize and be an effective witness of Jesus (and help guide my spiritual life) I am trying to be very familiar with the pentateuch as the foundation on which the gospel and the entire bible rests.

    Reply
  • November 30, 2015 at 5:12 pm
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    I'd just like to pass on another way to help spread the gospel and it's simply this:-

    See if a newspaper will publish a gospel tract (e.g. http://www.freecartoontract.com/are-you-a-good-person-english). Maybe pay for an advertisement in the newspaper – but submit a gospel tract to them instead – hopefully they'll publish it as if it were an advertisement?

    Another way is to print out the tract and hang it on your wall (as a poster) so that anyone entering your home will see it.

    Reply
  • December 23, 2015 at 9:31 pm
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    I am on my second reading of the bible in a year. What I do before I start my reading everyday is to ask God to send the Holy Spirit into my heart and mind to help me understand what I am reading in the scriptures today.

    Reply

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