Reading the Bible in 2016

The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:130

Visualizing the Bible® Chris Harrison

In Happy 2016! I encouraged you to read through the Bible this year. In that post you’ll find why I urged you to do so. Here are some ideas on the what and the how of reading through the Bible.

There are numerous plans online for reading the Bible through in a year. Some begin in Genesis and go straight through the Bible, others arrange the Bible in chronological order of events, and there are those that mix readings from different sections of the Bible. I’ve used the New American Standard Bible for years because there are some politically correct translations out today that don’t actually translate some words, but change them from the original languages, while some paraphrases obliterate the original meaning of the text.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne, the Scottish minister of the early 1800s whom I mentioned Happy 2016!, organized what is today considered a classic reading plan: you read through the New Testament and Psalms twice in a year and through the other books of the Old Testament once. Ben Edgington has numerous helpful links if you’re interested in learning more about it. M’Cheyne’s calendar plan for reading through the Bible in a year includes part of his original explanation. It’s divided into Family and what he called Secret readings for personal devotions, but, of course, use them as is best for you.

Each day Grace to You posts the Bible readings from The MacArthur Daily Bible. Passages are given to read from the Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, and New Testament along with some brief comments by John MacArthur.

If you’re not familiar with the Bible, you might want to use the MacArthur or M’Cheyne reading plan. Both plans have daily RSS feeds available, and they are in the sidebar and change automatically each day. I have set the M’Cheyne plan to change at midnight, US Central Time (GMT-6), but Grace to You is in the US Pacific Time zone (GMT-8). Click on the M’Cheyne listings to go to the chapters at Bible Gateway. Click on The MacArthur Daily Bible title for the readings at Grace to You. You can still use Bible Gateway, but you’ll have to pull up the readings for yourself.

Michael Coley has developed a plan that divides Bible readings into Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels—one for each day of the week. He has listed the chapters on a one-page pdf document you can print and carry in your Bible.

The Blue Letter Bible site offers several different plans from which to choose.

Professor Grant Horner has designed a plan in which he divided the books of the Bible into ten lists and one chapter from each list is read every day.

Whatever plan you use, Geoffrey Thomas’ Reading the Bible is very encouraging to give you some ideas and keep you going. Don Carson’s Preface and Introduction (19 page PDF) to For the Love of God is also helpful.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:105
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Romans 15:4

We Christians are “People of the Book.” May the Lord be with you and bless you in 2016, granting you greater love and knowledge of Him through the reading of His Word, for “the people who know their God will display strength and take action.
Visualizing the Bible® Chris Harrison. Used by permission. Click the image to enlarge.
This image was named one of the best science images of 2008 in National Geographic News.
“The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc – the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect.” Here is a 2000 x 1200 pixels view.


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