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7 Tips to Read the Bible Through in One Year

By December 30, 2016January 2nd, 2022Christians, Encouragement, God

Are you up for a challenge? How about trying to read the Bible through this coming new year?

I’ve heard so many people who would love to read the Bible through in a year, but never completed the task. It’s nearly impossible for the pastor to preach through all of it, so you are going to miss something unless you study on your own. Sadly, most believers haven’t read all the Bible. Some of the best nuggets of truth I discovered on my own, reading through the Bible in a year.

For several decades, I have practiced an every other year read through of the Bible. On even number years, I read through the Bible as part of my daily devotion time. On the other years, I read the Bible more thematically or spend more time in certain books. I believe both are important in our spiritual formation.

Here are 7 tips for reading the Bible through in a year:


Ask God to give you the motivation and strength to accomplish this goal. You can’t read the Bible effectively like any other book. You need God’s Spirit to help you.

Pick an easy to read version

This past year I used the Holman Christian Standard, since this was the version I was primarily using in my preaching. You can use any version you wish, but I would choose one which most appeals to you – whether you want an easier-to-read or a more literal translation. I previously wrote a post about versions. You can read that HERE.

Find a plan to help you discipline

You could simply read three chapters a day and do fine, but I have found having a printed checklist helps keep me disciplined. It may seem mechanical to some, but it will keep you on task. YouVersion has many plans to follow. There are more than you can imagine. The key is to find one. I like the balance of reading some Old and New Testament each day. There are even chronological versions of how we believe the events of the Bible happened. The key is to choose one which works for you. Here’s a LINK to other options.

Find a place

Choose the time and place which works best and you will most likely stick with through the year. I find mornings work best for me. I travel frequently, so I can’t have just one place, but when I’m home, I have a certain chair. I have often used the dining room table, because I know I’ll be less distracted. For me, I need to turn off everything else and simply concentrate on the Bible reading to be most effective.

Document your reading

I’ve found I get more out of my reading if I journal along the way what it’s saying to me. Even if I don’t understand it completely, writing the questions I have down helps me process them later and eventually something else I read seems to help answer my questions. This is another benefit to the YouVersion app. It allows you to highlight and comment on verses which stand out to you.

Discipline yourself

It will likely take you on average about 15 minutes per day to complete this. Once you’ve done it consistently for 30 days or so, you’ll be well on your way to having a habit formed.

Catch up when needed

If you miss a day, don’t sweat it – and don’t quit. Spend a little extra time and play catch up on what you missed. Of course, if you do this too many times you’ll eventually give up, so the key is discipline, but extend grace to yourself as you move through the year. Also, if you didn’t start on the first, start on the 2nd, or the 22nd, and go through the same time next year. You can begin today. There’s no legalism here – just encouragement! You can do this!

Keep the goal in front of you and follow through. A year from now you’ll be glad you accomplished your goal.

Who’s with me?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • I like your tip on how you should choose the time and place which works best and you will most likely stick with through the year to read your bible. I have made it a goal that I want to read my bible from cover to cover in one year but I have no idea how. I will definitely keep all of your great tips in mind when trying to achieve my goal of having my Bible read in a year.

  • Jacob Ricker says:

    Great post Brother!

  • Deedee Lewis says:

    Great tips for help with reading the bible in a year. I like the point you made about disciplining yourself by setting time aside to spend in the scriptures daily. It does take commitment and planning to keep up with daily scripture reading and it benefits the reader as well. I know that when I make time to read the scriptures I tend to stress less and have a clearer vision of what my day is going to be like. I would add that you need to choose a time frame that works with your personal schedule.

  • Thank you for this article, Ron. Just a reminder that another resource for Bible reading plans is

  • Bill says:

    I am thinking about reading thru the bible with my 13 and 12 year old do you think this is a good idea?

    • ronedmondson says:

      There will be parts very hard to endure…still good stuff but harder to keep their interest. I should have said in this post, this shouldn't be a legalistic thing. It's more important quality of time in the Word than quantity. I think I'd judge it based on their interest. Maybe use a Message Version or something like that. I certainly think reading with them is a great idea. 

  • Doug says:

    Anyone can read the bible through: BUT if you have no teacher you won't find the hidden gospel! I Know That For A Fact!

  • jack42 says:

    Not a brag, but I've read through the Bible twice in my life, once as part of a Sunday School class going through a chronological Bible, and then with a plan put out by NavPress reading for different areas of the Bible every day. (This later plan I crammed into fourteen months. Some might say I failed, but I say that I read the Bible through in fourteen months.) There is something transformative about reading whole sections of the Bible at one time, somehow a bigger picture then greeting caught up on the minutiae of subtle meanings of a particular word. I'm not discounting that at all, but I think we need a balance of meaning(s) in our reading.

    I started this plan again a couple of weeks ago. I have wanted to write about whatever occurs to me as I'm reading but have not created a good plan for doing so in my mind. Actually, I've come up with a workable plan, but I'm too lazy to implement it.

    A couple of things to keep in mind: one, as Ron said, if you miss a day, just catch up or continue on from that point. Give yourself the grace to continue on. And, kind of turf in with this thought is the second thought: it's about reading the Bible, not completing the plan.

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