Why You Should Read the Bible Through in a Year in 2018

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The Bibles we have in our homes and hold in our hands are nothing less than divinely-inspired, accurate revelations of God.

Every story, every poem, every historic event, law and prophetic word join together to paint one picture of the God who set the world in motion and orchestrated this present reality. The people described in this book are real, and so their actions are both good and bad. But through their lives and God’s involvement with them, we get to know Him more.

He’s the God who knows us fully and longs for us to know Him in return.

John 17:3, Jesus prays:

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (NIV)

But yet many times we fail to make the effort to actually read this other-worldly, mysteriously living and active revelation of God in its entirety. We are content to pick at it, visiting only our favorite verses or books of the Bible –the ones that give us the best feeling and show us parts of God’s character that are easy to accept.

Many of us neglect, specifically, to read the Old Testament. I would say I can sum up many of the reasons for this oversight.

Why we sometimes don’t read the Old Testament

  1. We think it would be difficult or impossible to understand.
  2. We aren’t comfortable with the bloodshed and examples of God’s justice.
  3. We think the Jewish law is boring and/or ridiculous.
  4. We feel it’s too far removed from our life today to be important.
  5. It seems really long and daunting to get through.
  6. Jesus defines our salvation now. The Old Covenant has been set aside, so we see no reason to revisit it.

Does that about cover it? Is there one I missed?

Unfortunately, this lack of study has some major negative implications.

Why we must read the Bible in its entirety

When we don’t receive God’s revelation of Himself in its fullness:

  • Our understanding of who He is becomes mushy.
  • We dangerously interpret scripture out of context.
  • We get fat on a diet of grace and have no idea how to fear God.
  • We are easily swayed by inaccurate teaching, whether from a friend, pastor, writer or blogger because we don’t know for ourselves what the Bible says.
  • We lack a reliable handle on God’s word. We’re walking half blind, saying we’d stake our life on something we’ve never read.
  • We can’t offer good, well-informed answers to those asking questions in our lives.

This is a priority. Scripture interprets scripture. 

2018 Bible reading challenge

If you have never read the Bible through, let me challenge you to make 2018 your year.

With a little diligence and commitment, you can do that. There are many great resources to help you out.

Here are some FAQ’s I invented 🙂

  • Q. Why read the Bible in a year?
  • A. This is a short enough period of time to get a good overview while being a long enough period of time to feel doable. You shouldn’t have forgotten everything you read in Genesis by the time you get to Revelation. Yet it only amounts to 15-20 minutes of reading per day.
  • Q: I’ve already read the Bible through, is this challenge for me?
  • A: Yes! My mentor taught me to read the Bible through in a year, every year. I haven’t kept up with that, but I shoot for every other year to free up more time for other types of study.
  • Q: How do I discipline my life to keep up with this?
  • A: You need to develop a simple daily habit of reading (if you don’t already have one). Here’s how I accomplished that.
  • Q: How do I pace myself to read through my Bible in a year?
  • A: If you read about 5 chapters per day, you will get through your Bible in one year!

Resources to set you up for success

The MOST helpful thing I’ve used to keep track of my “Bible in a year” reading is the One Year Bible.

It divides the entire Bible into 365 daily chunks and organizes them by days of the month. I always know if I’ve fallen behind and what I need to do to catch up. These are available in various translations, but I love the NLT for readability with accuracy.

Another cool resource is the One Year Chronological Bible. This reorganizes scripture into chronological order (no, the Bible is not chronological!), which makes certain things easier to understand in context, such as the Psalms or prophetic words that were delivered during a specific time in Israel’s history.

The One Year Bible is also available for FREE online here. You can choose a chronological plan or a plan that includes Old and New Testament readings everyday, plus on Psalm and one chapter of Proverbs. You can even select and bookmark the translation you want to use.

Or, if you want to keep it simple, just resolve to read about five chapters per day! No fancy Bibles or reading plans needed!

Another option is an audio Bible if you’re an auditory learner (which I’m not). 🙂

Will you take the challenge to read the Bible through in 2018?

If so, feel free to give yourself a head start! I prefer to start early and end on time than to end late.

*Republished from 2016 & 2017. This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Bel says:

    I did that last year! It was so worth it. This year I am taking more time to savour and meditate.

  2. McKenzie says:

    I love you comment on the importance of reading the entirety of the Bible, and I totally agree! Thank you so much for this post.

  3. Kelly says:

    I so appreciate your encouragement in this area!!! I will say that reading through the Bible is the BEST! The first time I did it, I did not have small children at home. Now that I have a 3 children (5,3,and 1), it is more of a challenge. I love the You Version Bible app. I downloaded a one year Bible reading plan that I can listen to and read! Also if I miss a day, there is an option to “shift dates forward.” For some reason it is super discouraging to me to see how behind I am on the reading plan. Being able to shift the dates, really helps me to focus on God’s word and enjoy my time with Him even if I’m falling behind in my one year plan 🙂

  4. Linda P. says:

    One of our fellow Bible college graduates formed an email “group” for all of us a few years ago. It’s been fun to re-connect. My husband and I had each been reading through the Bible in a year for a few years and wishing we had started sooner in life. That sentiment was echoed by many in the group! If I could have a “do-over” of anything in my life, it would be that one thing. Our kids are grown now and God blessed each of them with a love for His Word in spite of my laxness. We are grateful! This year I am going from the chronological reading back to a Genesis to Revelation schedule. I love having it pop up on my ipod at the right place every day. 🙂

  5. Linda P. says:

    I’m in Revelation 6, coming close to the finish line on that chronological reading plan. I loved that it added to my understanding of the Psalms by interspersing them into the history books. I was sad when David died! The Gospels were difficult to read chronologically–too much switching back and forth–so I finally just took a few days to read through each one. Paul’s writings chronologically gave me a look at the progress and use of God’s Word in the early church–very appropriate to my life. Now I am thinking about what reading plan I want to try for next year. Love the fellowship of your posts, Katie.

  6. Aimee Hadden says:

    It is so easy for us to say we “don’t have time” when what we really mean is “it’s not a priority to me.” One way I squeezed in Bible reading time when I had 3 children under 4 was to use an audio Bible app. I would listen to the reading of the day while nursing or dressing. It was a simple way to invest in my daily spiritual walk. Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Jess says:

    Yes! I love your reasons for why we must read the Bible in its entirety – so sound & true. Not sure if I’m up to the challenge but it does sound compelling. Are you going to blog about it/your progress/what you’re learning weekly or monthly? That would be inspiring!

  8. Morgan says:

    I LOVE the intro statement to this post:

    “The Bibles we have in our homes and hold in our hands are nothing less than divinely-inspired, accurate revelations of God.” Chills! That is so true and yet so easy to forget!

    Thank you so much for the encouragement! I homeschool and have four kids ages 1, 5, 7, and 9 and your post encouraged me to get back to making reading God’s word (again) the most important part of our day 🙂

  9. Linda P says:

    Starting early helped me to realize I can slow down a bit and pay closer attention to what I am reading. I look up some of the things I don’t understand, think about it, and enjoy it more. So far I am still staying on the daily “schedule”, but there are extra days in case I have an emergency. It’s nice having an annual goal. Thanks!

  10. Shannon says:

    Hey my name is shannon ive never read the bible before but am keen to read it and get to understand. Im getting a head start and writting notes as i go. Thanks for the insight.

  11. Katelyn says:

    Hey Katie! Thank you for this encouragement. I have always wanted to read through the entire Bible but never have. I’ve been feeling led to try again this year and then I stumbled upon your post and I’m encouraged further. I am, however, expecting my third child in March and have a 4 and 2 year old so I am wondering if I am just setting myself up for failure. On the one hand I am thinking it’s not a good idea and on the other hand I want to be in the Word every day especially in the trying times when I need to be and this will give me clear direction for where to read instead of not having a plan and just not opening the Word. I am also nervous about doing the OT all the way through and fear I will get burned out. So I’m considering the daily readings for OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs but THEN wonder about if that is too scattered! Hah! I’ve given this a lot of thought. I think I think things out like you do (after reading your santa post :). I would love to hear your thoughts as you are one step ahead of me with having your third child this year and having already read through the Bible in one year before. Any thoughts you may have for me I would appreciate. Thank you!

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Katelyn. I’m not Katie, but I’d like to encourage you to try! You seem to be at a busy stage of life, like you said, BUT when children are young like that, I’d imagine you actually spend a lot of time in your home. When you spend time at home there are lots of moments when you can read here and there. I was crazy enough to try the Bible in 90 days at one point when I had lots of littles! I finished on time, too! Right now I’m taking the sloooow route, but I’m still pushing through. That’s the second point I wanted to make: even if it takes over a year (maybe even two years), that’s ok!

    • Katelyn, I love Michelle’s words to you. I think it’s one of those things where, if God is in it, then do it! I would say there is a lot of room to give ourselves grace during these “little people years,” and there’s no harm in that, but the desire to read the Bible through is such a godly one, there’s also no harm in pushing ourselves. It takes about 20 minutes per day of reading to do this in a year, which is doable with three kids. But more than that, it takes dedication to actually stick with it! I think those divided Bible reading plans sound wonderful, but they don’t work well for me. For me, especially in the crazy season of three little kids, I need my Bible reading plan to be super simple, which reading straight through or using a One-Year Bible. If I have to think about it too hard, that’s prohibitive for me. But you might benefit from something different! Many blessings! Let us know what you decide!

    • Katelyn says:

      Hi Michelle and Katie! Thank y’all so much for your responses and your encourgement! I wanted to let y’all know that I did decide to go for it and one of my friends joined me. We are reading some from the OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs each day. We found a free reading plan online and printed out the readings and taped it to the inside cover of our Bibles for reference each day. I’ve been going for 24 days now and it has been such a blessing! It has been a joy to have a friend reading the same things as well for discussion and encouragement. Praise God! It is exciting that tomorrow I will complete Genesis and that pretty soon we will be 1/12 of the way to our goal 🙂 Thank you again sweet women of God, I am grateful for the words you gave to me!

  12. Linda P says:

    I appreciate the encouragement! My husband set up the Chronological Bible for me on my iPod and I did start early.

    • Yay!!! I’m so excited to hear that! I’ve been considering doing an audio-type Bible in 2016 for a change. Life feels mentally and physically exhausting in this season, so I think I might enjoy being read to. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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