Do you want to start being consistent with your Bible reading, but feel a little lost with how (or where) to begin? If you’re trying to find a good place to start reading the Bible for beginners, having a plan to follow can be so helpful.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at simple Bible reading plans for beginners that will help you stay motivated and encouraged, such as plans for new believers, one year plans, seasonal plans, a plan for kids, chronological plan, slow reading plan, and a plan that combines both Old and New Testament passages each day.
Thinking back to when I first sat down to begin reading the entire Bible through from cover to cover, I remember being so incredibly thirsty for more of God’s Word. I had just finished my master’s degree in Church Ministry & Leadership, and was eager to be done studying for coursework. Instead of textbooks, I could focus more on the Book. I felt impressed by the Lord that it was solely His time to teach me now, in ways that formal schooling never could.
You see, you don’t need any special degrees or training to open up the Bible and begin reading it for yourself. God’s Word is valuable to each of us! 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” We also read in John 7:37, “If anyone thirst, let him come unto me and drink.”
You can do this! Pray that the Holy Spirit would 1) open your eyes as you read, 2) help you grow in wisdom, and 3) reveal God’s Truths to you. This will be a life-changing, transformative experience for you if you stay sensitive and prayerful as you read.
Now, let’s take a look at these simple Bible reading plans that will help you get rooted in your faith journey.
7 Simple & Easy-to-Follow Plans for Reading the Bible
So many people have asked me where to start reading the Bible for beginners. These reading plans are perfect for launching into the lifelong habit of enjoying daily Bible time.
A Good Bible Reading Plan for New Believers
My husband has often taught that the Gospel of John is an ideal book for new believers to read then they’re new to the Bible. I tend to agree with him. Since John was one of Jesus’s twelve disciples, he had an up close view into the life and ministry of Jesus. It’s a powerful introduction to His life, miracles, and character.
Here’s a printable PDF reading plan for the Gospel of John. It’s spread out over 21 days, which is simple and not overwhelming at all.
A suggested reading schedule is Monday through Friday, or five days on / two days off. This way, you can use your two “off” days for catching up if you fall behind, which sometimes happens. Don’t be too hard on yourself; each day is a new day. Just open your Bible and pick up where you left off.
One Year Scripture Reading Plans
If you want to learn more about how to read the Bible in one year (which is a popular choice for many), the Navigators web site has easy to follow One Year Bible Reading Plans.
Their Discipleship Journal reading plan is a good fit for those who might bored easily. You’ll read from four different places in the Bible each day. They also have a few days without reading that you can use for catching up, in case you get overwhelmed. Or, you’re not behind, you can use those days to take a deep dive into something that stood out to you in your reading.
They also offer the more traditional Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan, which takes you through your reading one book at a time. This also includes some off-days for catching up on your reading.
The International Bible Society offers this 365-Day Bible Reading Plan that is easy to follow. The whole Bible is arranged into 365 daily readings, including an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, and a Psalm or Proverb for each day.
Seasonal Reading Plans
If you want, you could also choose a plan that’s more seasonal, like a monthly gratitude-based plan in November, or a focus on God’s love in February. For example, this easy Bible plan for February is all about God’s Love for you, and this Easter Week Bible Reading Plan is fun to do as a family. Both are great places to start.
A Bible Reading Plan for Kids
Children need a simple reading plan to walk them through the Bible, especially while they’re young.
When they’re too young to read, you might consider reading portions of The Jesus StoryBook Bible aloud with them.
If they’re old enough to begin an actual reading plan, consider starting with a verse-by-verse approach to the Bible. These free printable Bible verses for kids include a copywork area so they can write out the daily verse. There’s also a cursive version.
Chronological Reading Plans
Did you know the Bible isn’t arranged in the way that things actually unfolded? It’s organized by book type, such as The Law, Poetry, Prophets, and so on. In light of that, one of my favorite ways to read the Bible is chronologically… the order in which theologians agree it most likely occurred.
Check out my guide for step-by-step instructions on how to read through the Bible chronologically. This was the launching pad for how I led a group of women through the year-long journey of reading the Bible together chronologically three years ago, in our women’s online Bible study group.
You might also consider the daily ESV Chronological Bible Reading Plan. It’s printable and easy to store in your Bible for quick reference each day.
Another option I like is the 5 Day Bible Reading Program. It’s laid out chronologically, printable, and offers 5 days on / 2 days off, so you can either catch up on your reading, take a deep dive into a passage, or simply enjoy the rest.
Slow-Paced Reading Plans for Deep Study
Want to move at a slower pace and really savor what you’re reading? There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, some would argue there’s two ways to approach Bible reading: 1) for familiarity, or 2) for intimacy. Taking the longer approach helps you build intimacy with the Word.
Plans That Pair Both New and Old Testament Scriptures Each Day
Many plans include both Old and New Testament readings each day. Three to consider are:
- Bible Study Tools Bible Reading Plan
- The Gideons’ Bible Reading Plan
- Blue Letter Bible Daily Bible Reading Plan
My Opinion on the Best Way to Read the Bible in a Year
Reading the Bible through in one year’s time is a worthy goal. As I wrote in my post How to Study the Bible For Beginners,
Over the past 20+ years, the Holy Spirit has used the Scriptures to change my understanding of who God is, what he likes and dislikes, and more. This powerful, living word has changed my marriage, parenting, finances… everything. Isn’t that what it’s all about? After all, in the words of Dr. Howard Hendricks, “The Bible was written not to be studied but to change our lives.” Studying God’s Word should produce life transformation (see Romans 12:2).
I think an ideal one year Bible reading plan for beginners would be any of the chronological plans, since there’s something to be said for reading the events in the order that they occurred, especially when you’re cultivating a new habit of Bible reading.
It’s also worth mentioning that some people are in a season of life where committing to one year of reading may be daunting. In that case, if you’re set on reading the Bible from beginning to end, I highly recommend trying out the 90 Day Bible Reading Plan. It’s a bigger time commitment each day, but you get familiar with Scripture rather quickly, and it’s completed in three months. You can always try out a longer reading plan during a different season of life. The key is to get into the Word.
My husband and I completed the 90 Day Bible when we had a young child at home. I won’t say it was easy; it wasn’t. We woke up an hour earlier than usual each morning and did our reading before we began our day. I’ll always treasure those memories and early morning conversations together. They’re priceless.
Best Bible Reading Plan Apps
Do you prefer to read digitally, on your phone or tablet? Personally, I prefer to hold a physical copy of the Bible in my hands as I read, but I know everyone is different. In that case, some Bible apps I recommend searching for in your app store are:
Bible by YouVersion – Read, listen, study with friends, and more. One of the most popular Bible apps, with thousands of reading plans available.
She Reads Truth – Women in the Word of God everyday. This beautifully designed app is geared to women and offers both free and paid Bible reading plans.
Bible.is – Listen to beautifully dramatized Scripture at home, in the car, or at work.
First 5 – By Proverbs 31 Ministries, this app helps transform your time with God. They offer short teachings and one-chapter-a-day readings.
It was RC Sproul who said, “The Scriptures are absolutely key in the process by which the Spirit gives—and strengthens—the faith of Christians.”
Without reading God’s Word, and allowing it to renew and transform our mind (Romans 12:2), our faith will be weak and anemic. His Word gives us strength and grows our faith. What a treasure it is!
For our seasoned Bible readers who are here and reading this, what tips do you have for those who are just starting out? What Bible reading plans would you recommend to a beginner? We’d love to hear from you.
Free Weekly Prayer Journal
Do you also want to integrate prayer into your devotional time? Our free weekly prayer journal comes to your email and is completely printable, so you can print it as often as you like. It’s beautiful and will help inspire you to dig deeper in prayer. Get it here.