The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program

Last year, I decided to try a one-year Bible-reading plan because I’m one of those people who lives in cycles of near-coma transitioning into frenzy and back again. (Don’t ask me to do ANYTHING before noon.) The Book of Durrow's Gospel of   MarkThat served me well until about age forty, but now I can’t seem to handle the mania like I once did.

So rather than the feast or famine approach I took to Bible reading in 2005 (not my normal pattern, either), I decided to try something highly structured and methodical. As someone who loves Scottish preachers, I threw my allegiance to the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible-reading plan.

That lasted four months before I threw in the towel.

Plenty of Bible-reading systems exist, with M’Cheyne’s one of the most popular. No doubt M’Cheyne and I will not cross paths in heaven given that he’ll be next to the throne of God, while I’ll be resigned to a distant spot on the outer edge of things, but this doesn’t change the fact that his Bible-reading program’s not all that good.

What’s Wrong with One Year Bible-Reading Plans?

The problem, as I see it, is that all such programs miss the point. While reading through the Bible in a year is a worthy endeavor, it’s an artificial one. God’s not so much interested in us making it through all 66 books in 365.25 days. What He desires of us is that we understand what we read in His word, ruminate on it, and then do something with what we’ve read. With some of the plans out there, I could spend an entire year reading the Bible and not remember one whit of it, nor put into practice even one of its commands.

Sadly, that seems to be what a lot of Christians do. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the state of the world, and especially the biblical ignorance rampant in the Church in America.

Beyond the artifice behind them, most Bible-reading plans suffer from an imposed superficiality and disjointedness. This latter problem drove me off the M’Cheyne plan. It included an OT reading, a Psalm, a Gospel, and an Epistle all in one day. The next day, move up a chapter in each. Is it any wonder that the unity of the Scriptures begins to fall apart when read that way? Yes, I’m reading the Bible! But I’m not putting it all together into a whole that transforms my life.

One of the posts I featured in my “The Best of Cerulean Sanctum 2006” is entitled “Chapter, Verse, Blog” (it’s a good read; make certain to follow the link to the Viola piece). The main idea in that post concerns the artificial chapter and verse system we’ve imposed on God’s word. It may come as a shock to some people, but the chaptering system we’re so familiar with did not exist until eleven centuries after the New Testament came to be. The verse system came three hundred years after that. In other words, when the greatest saints of the Church read the Scriptures, they thought of them solely as uniform books. Today, we think of them more as chapters and verses. Most reading plans slavishly obey chapter delineation for no good reason other than convenience. But God never intended His word to be “convenient.”

How to Read the Bible for Life, Not Just a Year

The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program, as I see it, moves beyond this piecemeal approach to reading the Scriptures. It has nothing to do with the proud announcement that “I read through the entire Bible this year!” Instead, it has everything to do with knowing the word of God and putting it into practice. It’s not a one-year reading program, but a “rest of your life until they bury you in a pine box” program. The first way of thinking is marketing; the other is transforming.

Here’s how The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program works:

    1. Find a quiet, undisturbed place to read. Start in the New Testament since the New Covenant is necessary for perspective on the Old Testament. Might as well begin with Matthew. 

    2. Read through one entire book in a single sitting. Obviously, the first five books of the NT are going to require some time. But do it. (You’re eternal. Live like it!) These books are whole units and are meant to be read as such. We need to experience their coherence. Trust me; the Holy Spirit will bring the entirety of the book to your mind in the future in a way you’ve never experienced before.

    3. When you’ve read the book once, don’t move on! Read through it again. For the first five books, if you must break them into chunks, go with five or six chapters—whatever maintains the arc of the narrative.

    4. Re-read that one book. Note the way the narrative and themes flow. Commit those stories and themes to memory. Note where they exist in the book.

    5. Re-read that one book. Pay special attention to the way the Lord is portrayed.

    6. Re-read that one book. Examine the relational aspects of the book, God to Man, Man to Man, Man to God.

    7. Re-read that one book. Note the Lord’s redeeming and salvific acts within the greater arc of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.  (This first pass through the NT assumes you have a modicum of OT understanding. After reading the OT through, the second pass through the NT will clarify things further.)

    8. Re-read that one book. This time around, note all the Lord’s commands and how we’re told to practice them. Consider how they might work practically in your daily activities.

    (By this point, you’ve read the same book seven times. Depending on the length of the book, it may have taken seven days or seven weeks. It doesn’t matter. This is about changing your life and relationship with Christ. This is about sixty years of discipleship. It’s not about getting through the Bible in a certain length of time.)

    Now comes the hard (and controversial) part…

    9. Take everything you’ve learned in this book and put it into practice. Take a month (*see comments below) to do nothing but concertedly meditate on what you’ve just read by making it real in your own life. It might mean that the only Bible you read this month are the parts of this one book that you still aren’t getting and must re-read. Doesn’t matter—do it. (If you absolutely have to read something every day that isn’t part of this program, consider a few Psalms or a cycle of Proverbs. They’re the most suited to broken-up reading patterns since they are collections of wisdom and less unified than a book like Romans.)

    10. After your month, take stock of all that you’ve learned by reading and practice. Make a mental assessment of the themes of the book and how they apply to your discipleship. If you’re confident you’ve read and practiced this book, move on to the next one. Once the NT is finished, move onto the OT. (I realize some of the OT books are daunting in length for a single read-through. Make a concerted effort to read them in one sitting. Failing this, some of the OT books are narrative, which allows for breaks in the story. Psalms and Proverbs are easily segmented, as noted above. All prophets must be read in one sitting the first time through. A book as enormous as Isaiah is hard to partition, so consider reading it on a weekend day.)

Repeat these ten steps for the rest of your life.

George Barna’s dire poll warnings about Biblical ignorance today in Evangelical churches largely reflect the piecemeal approach we take to reading the Scriptures. Too much of our reading and teaching are topical, destroying the uniformity of the revelation. That so few churches preach through the entirety of the Scriptures in the way outlined in this reading programs explains our ignorance, too. Bible reading programs that reduce the Bible to tatters only compound the problem. So does the lack of digesting what we read.

I can’t guarantee many of the things I write here at Cerulean Sanctum, but I guarantee this: If you make The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program your lifetime plan for reading the Scriptures, you’ll be transformed.

And you can take that with you to eternity.

***

A final note: If you are looking to find out more about Christianity and its core beliefs, please visit this link: “How to Become a Christian.”

by Dan Edelen

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73 Comments

  1. Posted January 11, 2007 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    I’ve never posted here, but I’ve seen this blog referenced on many others. This post caught my attention. A few months ago, I was talking to a friend and brother about studying the Bible. On a whim, I made an off-the-cuff remark, “When are going to stop studying the Bible, and start living it.” He reminds me of that comment from time to time. You point #9 reminded me of that comment as well.

    Reading, re-rereading, re-reading, etc. entire books is one of the only ways to truly know what Scripture says. Thank you for this post and the reminder.

    -Alan

    • Posted January 11, 2007 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Alan,

      Thanks for posting! As 2 Tim 3:16-17 tells us, the whole point of knowing the Scriptures so well is that we live it out in such a way that our lives are equipped to do good works. Knowing the Bible solely for knowing it is a noble idea, but it’s not really the point. Yet too often that’s what gets drummed into our heads by people who want us to know it.

      • Cheyanne
        Posted April 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Hey Dan!
        I’m a young teen who is trying to delve deeper into God’s word instead of just skimming it’s surface. I’ve been trying to look for Bible Reading Plans and I think yours is absolutely amazing! My goal is to understand the bible not just have a bunch of head knowledge. Thank you sooo much for sharing this with others. I can’t wait to see the benefits of this plan! :)
        God Bless,
        Cheyanne

        • Posted April 26, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

          Blessed that you are benefiting from the plan, Cheyanne. Thanks for sharing what God is doing in your life. Keep the Faith!

  2. Posted January 11, 2007 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this post. I found it very helpful and encouraging. I enjoy spending extended times on one book or going back and forth between a few short books in the NT (such as Galatians, Romans, 1 John) to help me understand certain topics better, such as law/grace. Strangely I have often felt guilty for reading too much of the Bible at a time, since we’re usually taught that it’s better to read a small portion and meditate on it. I have often wondered why I don’t devour Scripture the way I devour other books, reading my favorites over and over again. I think this post has hit the nail on the head: I enjoy the narrative more as a whole and it makes more sense that way. I love this plan!

    • Posted January 11, 2007 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Julie,

      I think the plan will also help people know where certain passages are. I’m on my fifth day of reading Titus and already I have a better idea of its themes. As someone who’s been a Christian for thirty years, I’ve read every book of the Bible through dozens of times, but a lot of it didn’t sink in because my reading approach was “one shot and out” instead of constantly re-reading the same book. That’s why this “plan” is unique.

  3. Mike
    Posted January 11, 2007 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Great post. Your recommendations are spot-on.

  4. Posted January 11, 2007 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    “Too much of our reading and teaching are topical, destroying the uniformity of the revelation. That so few churches preach through the entirety of the Scriptures in the way outlined in this reading programs explains our ignorance, too. Bible reading programs that reduce the Bible to tatters only compound the problem. So does the lack of digesting what we read.”

    You are spot on with this one! Thanks for the encouragement. I have found expository reading, studying, teaching and preaching to be transforming in my life. And since it has only been a couple of years since I started using this approach, I know the other side as well.

    • Posted January 11, 2007 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Don,

      I’m not against topical. I think someone has to have a grounding in the overall arc of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration before one can grasp the topical, though.

      • Posted January 12, 2007 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        I’m also not anti-topical. Some doctrines can only be dealt with topically, so there is a place for the topical. But I believe the main thrust must be expositional.

  5. Posted January 11, 2007 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    My take: Reading plan or no reading plan is not really the issue. I have tried both. Personally I need the structure of a task to keep me in the Word. I wish I was spiritual enough to not need a structure imposed upon me, but unfortunately I’m not. I require some auxiliary motivation. Call me a sinner if you will and I’ll say “Amen”. This is just how I am motivated best. For others, I can see how the “check the box on my Bible Reading Plan sheet” approach would seem rather mechanical and counter to good devotional thought. Either way, we agree that the goal is transformation by the Holy Spirit through his Word, rather than just intake of information.

    • Posted January 11, 2007 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Zach,

      I’m reading through Titus right now. I’ll read it for seven straight days. Then I’ll put it into practice and meditate on it for a month (you can do it for less if a month seems too long.) If you wish to read out of the Psalms and Proverbs during your time spent on Titus, that’s fine. It’s still a disciplined way to approach Scripture.

  6. Posted January 11, 2007 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    The problem with just about all reading plans is that they fail to inculcate the reality that the Word is progressive revelation. In Genesis we have a “germ” of Adam’s transgression, but in Romans Paul elucidates the “mystery of Christ” which is concomitant to the fuller exegesis of Adam. Richard Hays in his book, The Art of Reading Scripture, nails it when he says that the Bible should be read from back to front. Concentration should center on the epistles for that is where Paul lays out the “mystery.” See Eph. 3:4.

    • Posted January 11, 2007 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Peter,

      That’s why I try to do the back to front with this, too.

  7. Posted January 11, 2007 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    COMMENT on post above:

    Obviously, you’re going to need a month to think about and practice a book like John, Daniel, or Romans. You won’t need that amount of time for a book like 3rd John. Use sense about this, gauging what God is doing inside you during your meditation and practice time.

  8. Josh Carpenter
    Posted January 12, 2007 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    I appreciate all of the comments posted here and I agree that this is a terrific reading plan that would benefit any follower of Christ. However, I would not discredit reading the Bible front to back so quickly. I read the Bible front to back last year, and in doing so I feel that I have a MUCH greater understanding of God’s love and his sovereignty, culminating in Christ coming into the world for us. I’ve been in Sunday School, Church, and have done daily devotions since I was 12 (I’m now 24), and it wasn’t until last year after reading straight through the Bible that I felt I had a decent understanding of the whole picture. I agree with all of you that reading and re-reading a book with specific focuses is a great way of growing closer to the Lord, but I would also encourage anyone to read straight through the Bible in a year if you’re having trouble putting the pieces together. This comes from personal experience.

    • Posted January 12, 2007 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      There are positives and negatives to both approaches. If you have been too microscopic in your reading and studying (pulling apart one verse or even one phrase at a time) than a “big picture” approach would be very helpful. This is one thing I’ve loved about Walk Tru The Bible Ministries. They help you see the big picture of the entire Bible, which I found to be very helpful.

  9. Kaye
    Posted January 12, 2007 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Bible reading has never been a difficult thing to me since reading is already one of my passions, and Scripture itself is another. After years of tweaking this is my plan:
    1. I have a one year chronological Bible so, I do get through it every year. My kids each have one too, and it’s part of their school work (I homeschool).
    2. I read 5 psalms and one chater of Proverbs every day.
    3. I also have a selected book that I read repeatedly (20 times). Right now I’m on 2 Peter.
    4. I try to always be involved in some kind of Bible study with other people. So I work on whatever the group is working on (Isaiah currently).

  10. James
    Posted January 12, 2007 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    However it’s read I think the Bible rewards zeal and diligence. Desultory reading is really the least productive. I too, as well, want to put in a word for cover-to-cover reading. It really is the foundation. And none of this talk of a year. I’ve done in in less than three months, though I’m not saying speed is necessary. Other kinds of Bible reading shouldn’t be seen as better or more useful than the complete, cover-to-cover readings because all the other types of reading benefit from the cover-to-cover readings. The complete reading efforts really are the best – perhaps only? – foundation for the other types of readings. It’s a hard book to get through, but don’t allow justifications for quitting to be turned into “here’s something better.” Trek across the continent (even through the death valleys) complete. One foot in front of the other, one page – chapter (1,189) – at a time.

    My experience is reading single books several times in a row (I did it with the minor prophets) can even be a ‘go in one ear, out the other’ experience. The Bible seems to defeat most plans, for reasons the Holy Spirit knows. It does though reward complete readings. I think the very effort involved – and day by day dedication – is something the Holy Spirit rewards.

  11. Posted January 12, 2007 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I wonder if there would be a market big enough to sustain a ministry that printed up one book of the Bible a month with large margins for taking notes and maybe without verse notation and chapters marked in such a way that they wouldn’t disturb the flow of the reading.

    Then, with this subscription service, a new book would be shipped to your house each month for your perusal. Maybe a blog could be put up for all the people meditating on a certain book to make comments and share their meditation results in posts. Perhaps the blogs could be setup so that church groups could do this together.

  12. Steve Pargman
    Posted January 13, 2007 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I have found over the last several years that the fourfold approach to Bible Study used by is a great way to study God’s Word and apply it to one’s life.

  13. Steve Pargman
    Posted January 13, 2007 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Had some trouble with the link to BSF International… Here’s it is, hopefully.
    BSFI

  14. Giovanni Cappellini
    Posted January 16, 2007 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I have been reading the Bible for seven years, each year I read the whole Bible, first times I started with Genesis and ended with Apocalypse, then I followed a method… But after the seventh year, I discovered that I was doing a mere exercise… So I observed one year of full stop, trying to practice what I learnt. My 2006 has been a year of revolution for my life (two girlfriends, three churches…), but I discovered that God doesn’t want from me an exercise of reading, but an exercise of life. So I wanted to start again reading the Bible, and I wanted to use this new method :) Very happy to read that I’m not alone :)

  15. Posted January 18, 2007 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks Dan, that looks like a very good plan. I’ve been realising lately just how superficial my Bible reading is. I’ve got daily notes that have a small chunk of Bible to read each day, and then notes and ideas for prayer. It’s OK, but I find myself just trying to get it done each morning and though it helps to get me praying, I’m not really learning much. Setting aside time to read whole books at once is hard, but thinking back, the times when I have sat down and done that are ones I remember. The history books of the OT particularly are even more amazing if you can see the whole sweep of the timespan they cover in one go and how God acts through the history of his people.

  16. Posted January 21, 2007 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Dear Dan E.,

    It’s interesting to know another 43-year old who has a Christian favorites book list as eclectic as mine! (You probably should add George Grant’s The Micah Mandate to the list.)

    I sympathize with the “world’s best Bible reading program” in its premise that the spiritual discipline of reading the Word is for the purpose of knowing it and walking in it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that your particular method is the “world’s best” (I would suggest Hebrews as a introduction to the OT rather than reading the NT before the OT), but any method the the ends you propose is better than reading for the sake of checking off the task on my to-do list.

    For the King,

    -RD

  17. Posted January 22, 2007 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Correction:

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that your particular method is the “world’s best (I would suggest Hebrews as a introduction to the OT rather than reading the NT before the OT), but any method that achieves the ends you propose is better than reading for the sake of checking off the task on my to-do list.

    I should not have tried to rush a response to such a great post before I had to leave for a meeting.

    -RD

  18. Posted February 25, 2007 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Your post is great, it shows up lots of the ways we go wrong! It also tells us how to do it right :) except, reading a whole book at one sitting (at least for the longer books – think Genesis or Isaiah at 50+ chapters – is too much… For an approach that can have some of the benefits of hearing the context and the whole try downloading and listening to chapters successively. I put them on my mp3 and play them as I’m going to work, Genesis takes several days depending on the traffic ;-)

    One source is http://podbible.com/podcast

  19. Posted February 26, 2007 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe you would suggest that we actually DO what the bible says!

    I’m no going to listen to some ‘do as I say, not as I do’ God.

    When He comes down and lives a day in my shoes so He knows what it’s like to be human, then I might start doing what He says….

    Oh….

    Um……

    Well, I guess you’ll find me out taking the good news to the poor, and making disciples of all nations then.

    Jesus didn’t just sit and talk about doing what’s right – He did it. So who am I to do any different?

  20. haileyesus harmiso
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    i want a bible reading programme of old testoment and ney testoment.

  21. Posted January 7, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    EXCELLENT!

  22. Posted January 14, 2008 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Excellent post. I could not agree with you more repetition is the key to memorization. With your plan though it is more than just memorizing words, it is memorizing intent, context, etc.

    Thanks for this!

  23. Posted December 4, 2008 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Great post, I hadn’t seen it until today.

    It’s interesting that at different times in life different things are right for different people.

    I tried a system somewhat similar to what you suggest and I got a lot out of it.

    Right now though, I have the bible on my phone and it comes with a 1-year reading plan.

    I am getting so much out of reading from 4 different books every day. It is really helping me see how themes are tied together throughout the bible and throughout history.

    I am also hearing God speak through it in a new way, it’s like every day He can say the same thing through 3 or 4 very different passages.

    I would recommend your biblereading program to anyone though, they will get SOOOO much out of it!

  24. Drea
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Cool idea – I’ve been looking for a methodical way to spend more time in the Word outside of the usual “one-year reading plan” box. I’ll definitely give this a try!

  25. Posted March 22, 2011 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve recently started doing this. The baby is sleeping better at night, and I can get up early enough now to be able to do it. It’s not that easy for a homeschool mom of 5, including infant, to get large chunks of time to herself. It’s been wonderful though. I’ve always tried to live the Word, but I love how looking at the Scriptures from different aspects creates such a picture for me of what’s happening. The first book I did was Amos and it made it easy to then share with my kids what the book was saying as a story. Thanks for the inspiration.

  26. Simon
    Posted November 13, 2011 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    I’d be interested to know some four years on if you’re still using this approach to the Bible and how you’ve found it?

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Simon,

      In short, yes.

      One of the outcomes is that this way of reading permits one to better grasp the themes of the Bible. The BIG PICTURE finally comes through, and in doing so, it better influences all the micro-level reading that we more often do in our churches. Frankly, I think this method yields better, smarter, humbler disciples.

      • Simon
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        Thanks for your reply Dan,

        I’ve varied my Bible reading plan over the years, but find that I hear God most through meditating on the Bible. However, meditation requires slow unhurried pondering of the text, which essentially means you’re not going to read a great amount. Obviously, it’s not one or the other but both. But it does require quite some time investment to read the longer books.

        As I go for walks every day as part of my exercies regime, how effective do you think it would be in listening to the text read rather than reading it?

        • Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          Simon,

          I’m all for a variety of ways for getting the Scriptures into us. Audio versions are fine.

          I’m NOT against meditation—see step #9 above! I just think we have to have the overview picture before we can meditate on the details. Otherwise, we see the tree and miss the forest.

  27. Conor M.
    Posted January 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    “The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program”? That’s quite the claim, so I’m not sure if he’s just trying to be funny or if he is serious. Does he go to the world’s best church and have the world’s best apple pie? It’s this kind of “here’s the answer” approach that makes me believe it’s not the answer and gets me upset at him. I’m hyped this approach works for this guy, but I just don’t buy that other programs don’t work better for other people in his own culture or in other cultures for that matter. What about reading the Bible straight through, from start to finish, like one of my great friends is doing (and loving)? Talk about a story line…

    He upset me when he said this:
    “What [God] desires of us is that we understand what we read in His word, ruminate on it, and then do something with what we’ve read. With some of the plans out there, I could spend an entire year reading the Bible and not remember one whit of it, nor put into practice even one of its commands.”

    You can do that with a reading plan of 1 verse a day for the rest of your life. Here’s a week’s worth of single verses off the top of my head to change your life: John 3:16, Romans 12:9, Matthew 6:21, Matthew 22:27, Proverbs 3:5, Matthew 28:19. That might be the only thing someone knows in rural Ethiopia, yet they can be flowin’. I’m just saying there are other ways to do what he just proposed. It’s on you to “remember it” and “put it into practice,” so if that’s how he does it, cool, I’m on board… for him. I’d love to consider it, but he makes me feel like an idiot for considering any other way to read the Bible.

    Just re-read this. The state of the world is a result of Christians “not remembering a whit of the Bible nor putting it into practice”? That’s why the world is messed up? Really? Yeah? The world is messed up because Christians don’t know or practice the Bible? The world is absolutely burning to the ground in imperfection no matter how many Christians there are practicing the Bible to the T, and that’s biblical. Blame Christians for the world’s problems. Stupid and unproductive. Except for his argument.

    “Rampant biblical ignorance in the American Church”? Really? He mentions George Barna, by far the most famous Christian trends/feelings/etc research group in the world, but doesn’t mention the study. But I’ll believe it – fine, Americans are reading the Bible less for about 100 different reasons probably… so his solution is to just tell them to read it an hour every day? I have a hard time believing Jesus would look at a Christian with “biblical ignorance” (me being one of them depending on how you define “biblical ignorance,” something he does not qualify) and tell them to read the Bible 7 times. I would love to know the Bible better, and I’m truly convicted and want to put my money where my mouth is, but I also enjoy questioning absolutes like this, such as whether or not the point of our faith is to be full of “knowledge ([which] puffs up)” – 1 Corinthians 8:1.

    I’m taking an extreme stance on this because I think this guy does, too (“the prophets must be read straight through the first time”). My Church back home (including my parents who are loving it) is doing a 1-year Bible reading plan as a Church, and it’s apparently really great. Riverwest has 5 or 6 pastors, each who know the Scriptures really well in my opinion, especially the main guy, and they chose to have their congregation do this. Then they can talk about it in church, in small groups, and on an online posting-board. When I read the Bible in 1 year, I got a ton out of it, including some things his plan undoubtedly does not cover – such as the connection of different books and the total story on a gross, gross scale.

    This guy’s idea is great, but I don’t buy it’s the World’s Best Bible-Reading Plan nor that obeying “chapter delineation” is a matter of pure convenience. His quip about us having made God’s word convenient by delineating verses and chapters is only convenient for his argument (why is he arguing again? Instead of just explaining how he does it and what it does for him?). Let’s say there weren’t verses and chapters. Have fun getting a non-believer to look up a passage in a 66 “chapter” 1500 page book without verses. It worked 2000 years ago because that’s mainly what Jews learned in school, but it doesn’t work anymore sadly. We didn’t make God’s word “convenient” by adding those verses. I cannot believe they made the dictionary alphabetical. What lazy human beings.

    I get his point that we can stop reading passages arbitrarily and not take in the whole meaning. So say that. Encourage, don’t call the other system lazy or second-best when there’s no way in heck my non-lazy, walking-the-walk Dad is going to muster up a “concerted effort” and read Isaiah in a single sitting. He could argue that the ultimate approach is a combination of the two approaches. The fact that he doesn’t at least say that upsets me because he clearly doesn’t get it. I don’t think we quench the Spirit one bit when we just read a few verses at a time.

    “If you absolutely have to read something every day that isn’t part of this program, consider a few Psalms or a cycle of Proverbs. They’re the most suited to broken-up reading patterns since they are collections of wisdom and less unified than a book like Romans.”

    Haha if I absolutely have to? Romans? The book that arguably has the most teaching in the New Testament? That’s his example of a letter to never take verse by verse? I absolutely think people should read Romans on a gross scale, too, and he should just say that, but what this guy’s insinuating is crap.

    Haha I just laughed when he said, “A book as large as Isaiah is hard to partition, so be sure to read it on a weekend.” Les Miserables is just so dang long – be sure to make 7 gallons of coffee and take off 4 days of work, because it’s too difficult to mentally keep track of where you are if you stop.

  28. Roger
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I started using your method of study this year and have found it rewarding. I began with the book of Matthew and am now on my fifth reading. It seems like for years I have had nothing but pieces of the bible. Common stories or topical messages taught over and over. Numerous verses cited to support a specific topic, but this method allows me to recognize things I would not otherwise have seen. For example, on the 3rd time through Matthew, it became obvious to me that it was really important to Matthew to establish the fact that Jesus was the fulfillment of much prophecy. I also noticed that the message to “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” was not just spoken by John the Baptist but also by Jesus as he began his ministry and as he instructed the disciples. Right now I am thinking that if a person were to read the gospels until they had thorough knowledge of Christ’s time on this earth, that in itself would be a valuable accomplishment.

    • Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Roger. Your post blessed my day. I am thrilled that this method is working for you and is yielding lasting results. Keep it up, and please share this with your friends. Have a blessed day!

  29. David H.
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting post!

    I have been searching for a new method of Scripture reading that would allow me to go deeper than the typical once a year plans would.

    For several about 5 years I followed a 90 day through the New Testament/ once a year Old Testament plan that served me well then but this seems to allow a more deep internalization of individual books rather than the broad overview that has been my style till now.

    I think I will give it a try. Are you still following this plan and does it indeed yield fruit for you? What is your Old Testament plan?

  30. Georgina
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I love that you recommend that, after reading each book seven times, we actually go out and do what it says…this is the point of scripture in the first place – to help equip us to be Christ’s hands and feet in this sick and sorry world.
    However, I can’t see anything to prevent us living out the Truth of the Word at any given moment, it being a fact that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and have everything that pertains to life and godliness. The very first converts ( the disciples) listened to Jesus, and went and did what He said, without necessarily boning up on the Word first. We can do the same. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. – what a shatteringly revolutionary notion. Therefore, we will do greater works than His, because of His Spirit dwelling within us and guiding us moment by moment.
    God is well able to direct us in our Bible- reading if we live in a dynamic, minute by minute, intimate relationship with Him. He will bring scriptures to mind, and help you understand them, just when you need them. Of course, you need an underlying knowledge of the word to be able to reproduce it either to others, or as self-encouragement. However, let’s remember that brand new Christians can go out and live out the Word with only a handful of verses under their belts. Learn a few more by revelation, and keep living it. And on it goes.

    I did like your plan, because it would suit my nocturnal, manic/depressive tendencies as well! I will use it, but won’t be legalistic about how many times I read a certain book before I ” go out and practice it” ( some clarification on how you see this process working out on the found would be valuable). I reckon I will practice obeying the Spirit who lives within me, and He will put me where He wants me, doing His work. And bring to mind the words i need to say, as a bonus. Sound good to you?
    BTW I am a missionary in an Asian hot-spot, with no pastor, elders, or anyone except Christian friends to keep my Christian flag flying. – however, Christ lives in me and ” keeps that which I have committed unto Him”, just like I was in a big church with a dozen pastors.
    And, some days I don’t get to read my Bible at all, due to life taking over – but, amazingly, God still
    holds me close and helps me serve Him each day…. In fact, He doesn’t seem to mind at all if I don’t read it for weeks on end – He is constantly bringing to mind different scriptures for me to chew on, and often enlightens me as to their meaning.

    How shocking! But, yes, go for it. – as long as people understand well that the river of Living Water is already INSIDE them, and they don’t need to strive in their Christian work…

  31. Georgina
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Excuse my iPad’s errors, I meant how thus works out on the” ground” a putting into practice the specific thing we have found in our Bibke-reading.

  32. Matthew
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dan! Love this post. It’s amazing that it seems to have come into my life at a time when I simply just cannot (for physical reasons) continue with my current method of reading the Bible. This is far better for me. Plus, I think it will help me to be wiser and have a better relationship with Chris, which is what I really want. So thank you so much for this post! I look forward to putting this method into practice.

  33. Matthew
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Hi Dan again. I was wondering if you could let me know what book of the Bible you’re on now. Could you also tell me how you find reading OT books, Psalms and Proverbs in this plan? Does it work just as well as with NT books?

  34. Brad
    Posted August 25, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    This plan sounds very similar to the plan that John Macarthur reccomends in a booklet he wrote about basic discipleship or something, I can’t remember. But it’s a good plan if you do it. As with anything else it boils down to priority and discipline. Our church is working on a plan so I read this post. I preach verse by verse through books of the Bible. We are going to do a five day a week plan that has short passages each day that are related to the main text I will preach on each week. Thanks for the post.

    • Posted August 26, 2012 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      Interesting, Brad. I’ve read a few of MacArthur’s books, but I’ve not stumbled across that plan. If you can tell me the book, I’d like to look it up. Thanks!

      • Martin
        Posted March 19, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        I can’t remember the book, but I can tell you his plan, I think.

        First, read throughout the Old Testament once a year at the rate of about 15 minutes a day (or roughly three chapters). This gives you an overview of the narrative.

        For the New Testament, MacArthur recommends reading one book repeatedly for 30 days. Shorter books are read at onc sitting. Longer books are broken up into no more than about 7 chapters. He recommends switching back and forth between a longer book and a shorter one.

        So you might start with 1 John. You would read the entire book once a day for 30 days, while reading a portion of the Old Testament.

        At the end of 30 days, you might switch to John’s gospel. Since it has 21 chapters, break it up into three sets of 7 chapters. For the first 30 days, read chapters 1-7 every day with the OT. For the next 30 days, read 8-14 once a day. For the next 30 days, read 15-21 once a day. At the end of 90 days, you will have read John’s gospel 30 times. Then switch back to a shorter book. Always keep reading the OT too.

        He says that it will take 2.5 years (I can never plan it under 3) to read the New Testament 30 times this way.

        Hope this helps.

  35. Melina
    Posted October 7, 2012 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    I must begin with this plan. I’ve been feeling like I’m in a spiritual desert, dying of thirst. Life’s too busy not to take time out for God’s word, but I can attest that it takes some in-depth reading and re-reading to drown out the world sometimes.

    Prior to coming to this site I was creating my own plan focusing on reading a portion of the bible over and over again in three days. However your approach is equally valid, if not more so. I’m busy, so I’ll be breaking up the books into 5-7chapter lengths or thereabouts over seven days, because that’s all the time I have and my brain is more able to sink in that amount, however I will go through each book at a time and I really do appreciate your post. It has been very helpful.
    Thank you.

  36. Matthew
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Hi Dan. I’ve already posted fairly recently. But I wanted to document my own experience in following (basically) what you’ve suggested.

    I thought, I may as well begin at the beginning. So I began with Genesis. I decided to interact with it 10 times. That means, mostly I was listening to it on an audio Bible, like on my Ipod, or in the car. I went through Genesis again and again and again. Sometimes, every now and then, I would read the next section I was on and then when I came to listen to it again, I’d pick up where I left off reading. Anyway, I went through 10 times in total. I also decided from the start to discover the one main lesson of the book and to put that into practice. In other words, I decided to meditate on the one main lesson of Genesis. What actually happened is that I got so familiar with Genesis over July and August that by the end of August, I had learnt many lessons. I wrote the lessons down on the top of the pages in Genesis. One interesting lesson is that death comes to us all. The Holy Spirit seemed to really want us to get that point, as again and again we see people dying. The lesson is obviously: prepare for death. At the end of each time going through Genesis, I would grab my Bible and quickly flick through the pages, looking at all the title sections, like ‘Abraham and Isaac’, ‘Jacob Deceived by His Sons’, etc. just to get more familiar with the overall structure of the book. And then, I’d go through again, looking at all my lessons that I’d written on the pages. It was like revising for an exam, but it wasn’t much effort really. And as a result, I have to say that it was the best Bible study that I ever did in all my life. I learnt so much from Genesis. Another amazing lesson is that God wants us to get a firm hold of the fact that we are all really faulty people. God doesn’t walk with perfect people, but with faulty people, like Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It was like God was yelling at me at the top of His voice: ‘Matthew – you are faulty! And I don’t condemn you for that. Instead, I want you to grasp that fact! You are faulty – deal with it! Get on with life, as a faulty man of God.’ It was very encouraging.

    I’ve gone through 4 books so far of the Bible this way. Next I did Matthew’s gospel and went through 10 times again. Again, I wrote lessons about how to be more godly at the top of the pages, as I had done with Genesis. Going through 10 times can take a while, so it gives time to build the lessons up on the pages. Matthew took nearly 2 months too, through September and October. Again, at the end of going through Matthew each time, I reviewed all the sections in the book, by going through the titles in my NIV Bible: ‘Judas Betrays Jesus’, etc. etc. And then I would look over my lessons and get the lessons into my mind. I did the same with Ruth, after finishing Matthew. That took only about 2 weeks, but I learnt a lot about kindness from Ruth, which was important because I’d just gotten married.

    Now, I’m on my 8th time going through the book of Acts. I have loved Acts. The basic lesson is about how we need the power of the Holy Spirit if we wish to bring people to Christ. The power of the Spirit is absolutely vital. I’ve also learnt how we need to keeping moving as we seek to tell people the gospel. We shouldn’t hang around too long with the same people. We ought to keep moving, being on the move all the time, as Paul was in Acts 13-20. Again, another lesson: in bringing the gospel to people, we must always remember that the Devil will be on our tail. He will stir up as much opposition as possible. We have to prepare for this and do our evangelism in the strength of the Lord. And again, another lesson: it’s interesting that Paul prized the encouraging of other believers almost as much as telling the gospel to new people. Encouraging the saved saints is a big part of Paul’s whole ministry.

    So as you can see, I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve learnt an awful lot – far more than I could have done by just reading each book once. But much more than that (and this is where your reading method came in so helpful): I’ve been putting the Bible into practice with all my might. I’ve learnt lessons I never would have learnt had I not done this. I’ve been forced to meditate on the Word of God. And what I love so much is that the Bible is a vast library of spiritual wisdom. It is given to help us be the godliest, greatest Christians we can possibly be, all for God’s honour. I love that if I’ve learnt and gained this much in just 5 1/2 months, where will I be in 10 years? What will Isaiah teach me? What will Proverbs teach me, and Leviticus and Psalms?

    I will go to Ecclesiastes next, since I’m due to teach on it in January to some youth. I have tried many Bible reading methods, but this one tops them all. Psalm 119:16: ‘I will not forget your Word’. And that’s the point of this post. I’ve been seeking to remember God’s Word. I’ve been soaking my mind in the contents. And that fits me for putting it into practice. God bless Dan.

  37. Matthew
    Posted January 29, 2013 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    I’ve just finished Ecclesiastes. This is what I learnt.

    Death comes to us all. So if we live without God, ultimately, all we’ve lived for is pointless. Life without God is meaningless and empty, in the long-run. In light of this sad truth, the question comes: ‘How then should I live my life?’ And Solomon offers 3 ways to live your life. Here they are:

    1. Put God first. Live for Him. Fear Him. Obey Him. Because He’ll judge you for how well you’ve put Him first.

    2. Enjoy God’s gifts as much as possible. Make the most of what God gives you. Appreciate a good meal, or a good drink, or a good night’s sleep. Thank God for all the pleasures and gifts He gives to you.

    3. Seek after wisdom. Wisdom in Ecclesiastes is very similar to wisdom in Proverbs. But some key things are highlighted in Ecclesiastes. For example, wise people think about death often, and prepare for it. Again, wise people aren’t lazy – they work hard! Again, wise people don’t let money enslave their lives or their thinking.

    So, three ways to live. How well are we putting these things into practice? I personally have loved meditating on that 2nd point, enjoying God’s gifts. It changes your life when you realise how much God gives us everyday and how many opportunities He gives us to be grateful to Him each day!

  38. Akinlo S
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I went online looking for a one year bible reading plan, and here I am, dazed by the Holy Spirit to my feet with a lifetime in His GRIP- a lifetime reading plan.
    How I wished christians will trust the truth here written!
    Thank you Sir Dan Ederlen, am blessed.

  39. Jason
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I see the merit here, and I’ve done some roughly similar things with certain books in the past. But for me personally, I don’t know that this is the “end all, best plan ever” that the blog’s author proposes.

    In my opinion – just from my limited experience – I’ve found that the “problem” with the Bible is that it’s both wide and deep. One-year plans deal with it’s width, plans like this one deal with its depth. I have become convinced that any good “plan” really has to be two plans running side-by-side to deal with both.

    My solution has been to maintain a constant one-year plan to always keep the full, in-context Scriptures realatively “fresh” in my mind. Nothing special about one year, of course, but it’s as good a time frame as any. I would think two years would be too much, six months too crunched.

    Paralleling this I have a more “devotional” Bible time each day that’s basically free – wherever the Spirit leads, and wherever I know I need to be focusing. I might spend a week studying the penitential psalms, the six days of creation, spend a few weeks or a month on First John, might do a topical type study – whatever. This is my solution to the Bible’s “depth” problem, and it allows me to go as deep as I’m willing.

    I’ve really enjoyed the article and the comments here.

  40. Matthew
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I’ve just finished Samuel & Kings. Here’s what I’ve learnt:

    Over the last 3 months, I’ve been listening to Samuel & Kings. I’ve gone through 5 times and I feel it’s high time to stop, since I get the point. However, I will affirm that, as usual, my time spent in this large section of the Bible has been highly profitable, I trust for the rest of my life.

    The Bible is supposed to transform the heart and I have certainly felt the tremendous force of the main lesson of this portion of Scripture. Again and again, using plenty of historical stories and examples, the Holy Spirit wants us to grasp the truth that leaders of God’s people have only one thing to really focus their lives on: godliness. It’s all about how godly you are. How successful you’ll be as a Church leader is directly proportional to how much you love and obey God.

    So we have the many negative examples. The fact that there are so many bad examples teaches us immediately that there always will be more ungodly leaders than godly leaders who rule God’s people. Sadly we see this to be true in the world today. If we brought all of the leaders of all God’s people through-out the world together, and split them up into Group Godly and Group Ungodly, the second group would be the bigger, probably by quite a long way. So that’s the first thing to remember and this will always be the case until Christ returns. Sometimes in Samuel and Kings, God’s people went for years without any godly leaders. This was repeated in European history during the time of the Middle/Dark Ages, which were so dark that barely a light shone through for hundreds of years. It’s the sad tale of the Church. But God wants men who will stand up for Him in this generation as well as in any other.

    We get Saul’s example to start, a man who began so incredibly well. He was humble, God was with him, he was faithful in little things and he was bold. And yet, he became insecure in his position, because he noticed that the LORD was with this young man David. Saul began to disobey God and his disobedience grew worse and worse as he tried to kill his own son Jonathan, and David. Eventually, he actually killed many of God’s priests. He ends up dying on the battle field, with God having left forsaken him. The very thing he feared took hold of him, as is always the case with those who reject God. His is a very apt warning: you can start well, but what’s important is how you finish. We see the same thing in Jehu later on in 2nd Kings, a man who starts so well, so zealously and yet who finishes up so carelessly.

    Then there are just the outright wicked men, like Ahab and Omri – men who couldn’t give a monkeys about how they treated God. They were quite happy to rebel and do exactly as they pleased. Obviously, God’s judgment comes fiercely on such men.

    And then there’s a man like Solomon, who frankly had it all. Perhaps there was never a man who possessed more than he did. But I think this was what ruined him. Unlike David, who underwent years of being hunted and all sorts of tests and trials, Solomon had it all given him on a plate. He never underwent serious trials. So he never learnt to seek God through trials, like David. He ended up turning away from God. He preferred selfishness to submissiveness.

    But then, thank God, there are the positive examples. There are the Davids, the Josiahs, the Hezekiahs and the Jehoshaphats – rare men, but memorable men. Men who loved God and wanted others to love Him and obey Him. No, these men weren’t perfect. They made their mistakes. Hezekiah got proud; Jehoshaphat was a bit of a compromiser; David lied and committed adultery. But they were all generally obedient – their hearts were in love with God. And because of that, their lives were all submissive to God’s law. That’s what makes them good leaders. David trusted God with all his heart when he had to fight Goliath. And at the end of David’s life, though he made huge mistakes, he can still say that the LORD is his rock and Strength. Hezekiah relied on God when the Assyrians came against Judah. Josiah stamped out idolatry with a vengeance and inspired people to obey God. Such men are remembered in God’s heart forever. And if we seek to be like them, we too will be great leaders of God’s people.

    One last thing. There seems to be 5 categories of holiness in this book: really obedient, generally obedient, divided heart, rebellious, really rebellious. It’s worth noting that very, very few leaders are in that top group, the really obedient group. But if we will be men in that top group, God will use us more than we can possibly imagine.

    • Posted May 2, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Great stuff, Matthew. I’m blessed to hear the study program is working for you!

      Your observation about really obedient and generally obedient is something I have seen also, though I might cast it in a direction other than obedience. It seems to me that superlative people of all kinds struggle more than their slightly flawed counterparts, and not just in obedience.

      At my 10th high school reunion, I noticed that the superstars were having a tougher go of life than those who were merely above average. In fact, it was the people a notch above average and a notch below superlative that seemed to do best in their post high school lives. Maybe God has a soft spot for such people.

      • Matthew
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        Hi Dan

        Can you explain further? I don’t really understand

        Matt

  41. Matthew
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Just finished Ephesians the other day.

    So it’s split into 2 parts. 1st: Christ has made us one family, one body, one people. 2nd: Let’s live as one people, as one family, as one loving people.

    You might more generally split it up in another way: 1 – here’s the gospel. 2 – here’s how to live the gospel.

    The letter is very Trinitarian, that is, God is a Father, Son and Spirit working always together. How does this impact our prayers/lives?

    Twice, the letter mentions that we now have access to the Father, through what Christ has done and by the Spirit. Do we ponder on what it means to finally have real and personal access to God the Father Almighty, Creator of the heavens and earth?

    Paul’s main desires for the Ephesians is that they would know God more, better grasp the fact that they really are going to heaven, and know Christ’s love for them more. I wonder how much better our lives would be if we just focused on knowing God’s love for us more and more? Also, do we really live as citizens of heaven, people who have such a glorious inheritance beyond imagination?

    Finally, it’s not practical and it’s not biblical to try to be a Christian all on your own. You ought to learn more about God and grow in Christ in the context of a church, a family of believers. Paul makes the point very clearly in chapter 4:1-16. We grow TOGETHER; we love each other; we work TOGETHER for the gospel; we are taught TOGETHER. Is there too much individualism in our studies, in our approach to theology, in our learning of Christian things, or even in our Bible readings?

  42. Matthew
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Song of Songs, done. Simple: how passionate are you about your spouse? Is your desire for them and only for them? Do you love their voice? Do you love them as a person? Do you love the way they look? Do you praise them? Do you love spending time with your spouse? Do you love belonging to her/him? Are you best of friends?

  43. linda
    Posted August 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dan,
    There may be more to this ‘trial’ of trying to read our Bibles. When believers follow the world,their spiritual understanding is weakened. The Bible says that the world cannot understand the things of God.

    We may have believers who literally cannot get much out of the Word. The Bible. Therefore, it’s boring, a waste of time, and unproductive for them.

    It’s not a given that the things of God are available to us believers whenever we decide. We have to govern our lives appropriately. We have to make good choices and decisions. We have to choose godliness. We want the things of God, but we want the things of the world too. This’doesn’t compute’.

  44. Natalie
    Posted September 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing! I have been a committed Christian for 13 years but spending time in the Word has always been a weak area for me. Recently I’ve realized that I have been fighting legalism and fear and thanks to some great Christian mentors they have reminded me that the only way to break those bondages is by knowing God, and the only way to know God is to get into His word so that He can speak to us. Time and time again throughout the years, I’ve tried to get into the Word. Sometimes it goes pretty well for a little while, other times I sit with my Bible in my hands and at a loss of what to read. I am so very excited to get started on this plan and see where God leads. I look forward to getting to know Him better and becoming more of what He wants me to be. Thanks again for taking the time to share this plan. I really appreciate it.

  45. Natalie
    Posted September 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing! I have been a committed Christian for 13 years but spending time in the Word has always been a weak area for me. Recently I’ve realized that I have been fighting legalism and fear and thanks to some great Christian mentors they have reminded me that the only way to break those bondages is by knowing God, and the only way to know God is to get into His word so that He can speak to us. Time and time again throughout the years, I’ve tried to get into the Word. Sometimes it goes pretty well for a little while, other times I sit with my Bible in my hands and at a loss of what to read. I am so very excited to get started on this plan and see where God leads. I look forward to getting to know Him better and becoming more of what He wants me to be. Thanks again for taking the time to share this plan. I really appreciate it.

    • Posted September 2, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Natalie. Enjoy your time in God’s word.

  46. Christopher Vennard
    Posted September 21, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Absolutely amazing, especially one of your last paragraphs written in this post. Below is the paragraph that dawned on my intelligence:

    George Barna’s dire poll warnings about Biblical ignorance today in Evangelical churches largely reflect the piecemeal approach we take to reading the Scriptures. Too much of our reading and teaching are topical, destroying the uniformity of the revelation. That so few churches preach through the entirety of the Scriptures in the way outlined in this reading programs explains our ignorance, too. Bible reading programs that reduce the Bible to tatters only compound the problem. So does the lack of digesting what we read.

    The “piecemeal” approach to reading the scriptures reminds me, sadly enough, of certain biblical devotionals and specialized, biblical reading plans, certain focuses that concentrate on only absorbing part of God’s redemptive plan for mankind, thus making plenty of room for misinterpretation of scripture since only part of God’s truth is being absorbed, while the other half probably falls on man’s preconceived ideas of God’s word.

    It’s crazy and, to a degree of understanding, embarrassing how far man has shoved the true revelation of God’s word down the drain of preconceived ideas and ignorance. We need to bring ourselves back to the humble attitude of Christ, taking in the wholeness of biblical scripture from it’s correct context and not what we feel would be right for our daily living.

    It’s good to reflect on certain scriptures within certain passages of certain books. But if you don’t know the whole Bible as a complete text from God FIRST, then you may just end up dooming yourself to a wild flurry of “man-centered” thinking.” It’s important and humbling to know that the Bible is a complete whole for daily living.

  47. FSRjr
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    First day of 2014 today. I will start reading the Bible this way. Thanks and God bless.

  48. Andy Francis
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this. How very simple but utterly true. You broke me from the easy to get to the good. And that good is full of His Greatness. @andyfrancis247

    • Posted February 27, 2014 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Andy. I hope your reading blesses you now and for many years to come.

  49. freddy faria
    Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I see that God has a provided a pattern/commandment in the bible itself on how to be fully established in the faith (Romans 16:25-26). You do not simply start anywhere in the bible. In dispensational bible study we can find this pattern given to the apostle Paul whom God first revealed the mystery program. See Ephesians 2:11-12 (TIME PAST), Ephesians 2:13 (BUT NOW) and Ephesians 2:7 (AGES TO COME) – these are the divisions the bible must be rightly divided (2 Tim 2:15)

    TIMES PAST covers (Genesis to Acts) = scriptures of the prophets
    BUT NOW covers (Romans to Philemon) = Paul’s Gospel and mystery truth revealed to him. This is the current dispensation of Grace (Church age) we are living in.
    AGES TO COME (Hebrews to Revelation) = more mystery truth and future prophetic program

    So the pattern to begin to be truly grounded, rooted and established in the faith, simply follow the cyclic reading pattern shown below:

    Read at least 1 hour daily.

    1. Start at Romans to Revelation
    2. Restart at Romans-Revelation and Genesis – Romans
    3. Repeat step 2 continuously in your life time

    example of how I would read step 2.
    (i) I read Romans 5 chapters (30 mins) and spend another 30 mins reading Genesis 10 chapters.
    (ii) Then I constantly keep moving my bookmark forward.

    Hope this helps. As I see this is actually God’s commandment we follow to be established in the faith. There is no other way or plan-B.

    • Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Freddy,

      If that system works for you, go for it.

      Here are the verses mentioned:

      Ephesians 2:4-13 ESV
      —4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
      —5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
      —6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
      —7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
      —8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
      —9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
      —10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
      —11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—
      —12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
      —13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

      At the risk of being deemed spiritually undiscerning, I don’t see a mandated order of Bible reading as the primary intent (or even secondary or tertiary) in that section. Claiming such, to me at least, borders on “esoteric knowledge,” but again, if that system works for you, go for it.

      • freddy faria
        Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Dan,

        Thanks for your response. It may seem to you that the system I have mentioned borders on “esoteric knowledge” but no. Read it from the King James version. ESV version cannot do any justice. Make a comparison. Please explain me Romans 16:25-26 and what “according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” means in v26. Look up the equivalent verse in ESV

        • Posted March 5, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          Freddy,

          Ephesians 2:4-13 KJV
          —4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
          —5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
          —6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
          —7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
          —8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
          —9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
          —10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
          —11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
          —12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
          —13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

          I’m sorry, but see even less of what you are referring to there in the KJV. This passage refers to the position of the believer in Christ. It’s expounded upon greatly in one of the books I highly recommend in my Godly Reads blog section, Watchman Nee’s outstanding Sit, Walk, Stand. That’s the primary message, not a reading order of the Bible.

          I think anyone coming to the Bible needs to start in the Gospels because that’s where the reader meets Jesus. You start anywhere else and you don’t get that introduction. Starting with the epistles is not the way to go because that’s not even how the churches addressed in the epistles started! They heard about Jesus first, whether through a Gospel book or through the lips of an evangelist. You start with Jesus. If you don’t, nothing else makes sense.

          Now, if you’re highly knowledgeable about Jesus and would to start elsewhere, great. Start in Romans if you wish. But the people I’m writing to are often going to be people who are:

          1. Pre-Christians who might want to read the Bible for the first time (and who need to encounter Jesus for the first time).
          2. Christians who are newer to the faith and have never been deeply immersed in the Word (and need to learn more about their new Love).
          3. Established Christians who are burned out of Bible reading plans (and who may need to encounter Jesus anew)

          Those three are the primary audience. Starting with Jesus (the Alpha) is the way to go.

43 Trackbacks

  1. [...] “Read the Bible in a year!” makes for good marketing, but Cerulean Sanctum tells of a method of reading the Bible that goes well beyond marketing into the realm of making the reading effectual in your own life. It’s heavy on the reading, but that’s what a proper understanding and putting-into-practice of the Scripture requires. I think I might just try it out. [...]

  2. [...] With this in mind a post at Cerulean Sanctum caught my eye. I have to say that Dan Edelen has most likely hit the nail on the head, and if his proposed plan is followed, I can’t see how we as Christians could come away with greater knowledge. [...]

  3. [...] The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program by Dan Edelen in Cerulean Sanctum. I dare you to try it! Comments(0)Switched to the ESV Bible Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church writes about Why I Am Nowhis reasons from switching from the NIV to the ESV translation. [sighted on Between Two Worlds] Comments(0)Dating Jesus? Christianity Today has an article about the weird theology of some who think that theybasis for turning this into an individualized romantic relationship with Jesus. (HT: Justin Taylor) Comments(0)The Importance of Ritual Dan Edelen in Cerulean Sanctum has a good article on Regulation, Ritual,of Pilgrim’s Progress from Christian Audio during the month of December. (HT: Justin Taylor) Comments(0)View more News andNotes… [...]

  4. [...] Reading through the entire Bible is a pretty common New Year’s resolution for many Christians, I think. It’s certainly been on my list of doomed-to-failure resolutions more than once. Dan Edelen has a great post on why most Bible reading plans just don’t work, and what a truly good Bible reading plan looks like. From his post: [...]

  5. By Dr. Platypus » Blog Archive » Daily Bible Reading on January 11, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    [...] Update: I still think it’s a good idea to read the Bible according to some kind of plan (as long as you don’t get legalistic about it). At the same time, check out Dan Edelen’s World’s Best Bible-reading Program. Fact is, there are lots of reasons to read the Bible and lots of methods to use. I’d listen to what Dan has to say. D. P. posted this entry on Tuesday, January 9th, 2007 at 4:50 pm. Posted in the category APOSTLES’ TEACHING, THE PRAYERS, Bible You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. [...]

  6. By The Boars Head Tavern on January 12, 2007 at 11:13 am

    reading scripture…

  7. [...] Dan of Cerulean Sanctum offers an alternative to all of the one-year bible reading programs that we are inundated with this time of year. The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program, as I see it, moves beyond this piecemeal approach to reading the Scriptures. It has nothing to do with the proud announcement that “I read through the entire Bible this year!” Instead, it has everything to do with knowing the word of God and putting it into practice. It’s not a one-year reading program, but a “rest of your life until they bury you in a pine box” program. The first way of thinking is marketing; the other is transforming. [...]

  8. By links for 2007-01-13 on January 13, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    [...] Cerulean Sanctum » The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program (tags: Faith bible Plan reading) Posted by Brandon { article rss } Trackbacks [...]

  9. By Verlinkte Links…#1 | Schrotty - think about on January 13, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    [...] 1. The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program [...]

  10. [...] Cerulean Sanctum » The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program: [...]

  11. By the evangelical outpost on January 23, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Thirty Three Things (v. 3)…

    1. Five things about blogs that no one ever needs to say again °°°°°° 2. A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods °°°°°° 3. Enthymeme of the Day: “It is an infinite sin to prefer anything to the infinit…

  12. [...] First, Dan Edelen wrote about an interesting Bible reading plan. It’s not like we don’t have enough, but this is a different approach that truly immerses you in the narrative, and we all know narrative is good, right? The plan isn’t to get through some amount in scripture in a year. [...]

  13. By Confessing Evangelical on January 23, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Man with a plan…

    An intriguing suggestion for a Bible-reading programme from Ceruleam Sanctum, involving reading entire books at a single sitting and spending a month reading only that book. I think I’ll pass, myself, but it’s still an interesting approach….

  14. [...] And while we’re on the subject, this post, titled “The World’s Best Bible Reading Program, was recommended by the good doctor. [...]

  15. By two or three . net on January 24, 2007 at 12:18 am

    My Two Cents (01/23)…

    Jesus Coming When? – Gary DeMar muses about books that have predicted the date of Jesus’ return. KJV Onlyism – John MacArthur et al. have a nice 4 part series debunking those who take a King James Only position. Nice…

  16. [...] intriguing suggestion for a Bible-reading programme from Cerulean Sanctum, involving reading entire books at a single sitting and spending a month reading only that book. I [...]

  17. By » The World's Best Bible-Reading Program on March 11, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    [...] post by Dan Edelen [...]

  18. [...] morning, I planned on going back to reading Philippians as part of the Bible reading plan I talked about earlier this year, when the Lord redirected me elsewhere: to Haggai of all [...]

  19. By We’re Gonna Make It After All | Cerulean Sanctum on December 31, 2007 at 1:02 am

    [...] been doing my Bible study plan through Philippians, and the above passage stands out time and again. Not the more recognized [...]

  20. By CoffeeSwirls » Bible Reading Weekend on January 5, 2008 at 1:11 am

    [...] After all, reading the Bible is really not the ultimate goal. Really! On this thought, check out a great post by my friend Dan Edelen: The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program [...]

  21. By JOLLYBLOGGER on January 7, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Do We Need to be Taught How to Understand Scripture?…

    In my last post I mentioned that I hope to follow my friend Glenn Lucke’s advice to do some blogging on biblical interpretation. So I begin today with the question “do w need to be taught how to understand Scripture?”…

  22. [...] Check it out and be sure to scroll down to see how the program works   [...]

  23. [...] the Bible intently. I recommend this plan. We should be reading for deeper discipleship and understanding, not just to tick “Read the [...]

  24. By The Bible. For realz. « The Cheese on January 31, 2008 at 3:41 am

    [...] I’ll tell you straight up. I’m not gonna read the whole bible this year. In fact, I may only read 10 or 20 “chapters” from a couple of books. But as I completely immerse myself in a few books, they will be as much a [...]

  25. [...] far, the most read post on Cerulean Sanctum is this one. It’s also the most Googled post. Every day of the year I get about a dozen search engine [...]

  26. By Latest Links | blog of dan on September 1, 2008 at 3:18 am

    [...] God said everything in under 2,000 pages The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program Preaching Notes: Tim Keller Youth Ministry Social Events Does God answer the prayers of [...]

  27. [...] The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program | Cerulean Sanctum [...]

  28. [...] different Bible-reading plans. Some were successful; some were not. Right now I’m using Dan Edelen’s plan, which so far has been transforming. I’m still in the read-through-a-book seven times part (I [...]

  29. [...] Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Bible, Jesus, Matthew, sin A couple weeks ago I started using this Bible reading plan. So far I’m only on my third read-through of Matthew, because I haven’t read more than [...]

  30. [...] under: The Christian Life | Tags: Bible, Jesus, Matthew, sin A couple weeks ago I started using this Bible reading plan. So far I’m only on my third read-through of Matthew, because I haven’t read more than [...]

  31. By Be Hungry No More « The Loudmouth Protestant on November 19, 2008 at 11:31 am

    [...] The World’s Best Bible Reading Program [...]

  32. By Beliefnet? | Cerulean Sanctum on December 4, 2008 at 8:50 am

    [...] things to all people” religious site, because they want to syndicate one of my posts (”The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program“). That post is the number one post on Cerulean Sanctum, with nearly 10,000 unique hits from [...]

  33. By Bible Reading Plans « Th’eternal Promise on December 20, 2008 at 10:52 am

    [...] always had issues about bible reading plans and was glad to see others agreed with me, first Dad Edelen: Beyond the artifice behind them, most Bible-reading plans suffer from an imposed superficiality [...]

  34. [...] Read Ann Voskamp’s lectio divina as oatmeal here, and her fabulous link to Dan Edelen’s World’s Best Bible Reading Program. [...]

  35. [...] [With due credit to Dan Edelen, the creator of The World’s Best Bible Reading Program.] [...]

  36. By How to Become a Christian | Cerulean Sanctum on August 28, 2009 at 10:21 am

    [...] This is a fine Bible for most people and includes a host of helps for those who have never read through the Bible before. I would also recommend this Bible-reading plan. [...]

  37. By Law Church, Gospel Church | Cerulean Sanctum on October 12, 2009 at 3:32 am

    [...] year, as part of the Bible reading plan I champion here at Cerulean Sanctum, I read through the entire book of Galatians each day for a [...]

  38. By A way in the wilderness « Perennial Student on January 10, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    [...] read the whole book in one sitting – despite having recently read that as a recommendation as the best way to read the Bible. But I wasn’t planning to stop quite as soon as I did. I started by skipping the first two [...]

  39. [...] of wisdom never come easy. I pray each person that reads this post can take away a few nuggets.The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program I never thought this post would be the phenomenon that it’s become, but I’m glad for [...]

  40. [...] no idea how it fits together. We have no vision for the wholeness of the Scriptures. It’s why the Bible-reading plan I advocate reinforces repetitive reading of entire books. Simply put, most Christians have never read the New Testament books as they were meant to be [...]

  41. By My Two Cents (01/23) | Whole Reason on October 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    [...] by Back Street Boy turned evangelical Brian Littrell.  Too bad their site is not working.Best Bible Reading Plan Ever – Cerulean Sanctum has what I think is the best bible reading plan ever – way better [...]

  42. [...] do what the Bible says…’” and consider trying a completely different kind of reading plan that focuses on your personal [...]

  43. […] The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program […]

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