I’m going to read through the Bible in 2018, but if I’m going to make it beyond the first few pages, I know enough about myself to know that I need a good plan to follow. If I go to the gym without a plan, I’ll fool around for 10 minutes and then say, “I’ve done enough for today–time to go home.” I need to have a plan in place before I go to the gym, and in the same way I need a plan to read the Bible, too. Otherwise, I just won’t get anything done.
So, here are 6 elements of my plan to read through the entire Bible in 2018.
1. The Read Scripture Plan
I’m using the READ SCRIPTURE reading plan put out by The Bible Project guys. It’s roughly a Genesis to Revelation plan, though the order of some of the Old Testament books are rearranged to help you follow the narrative arc a bit better.
- The plan runs from January 1-December 24, 2018.
- Each day’s reading will take about 15-20 minutes to complete.
- Every day there is 1 main reading (from either the Old Testament or New Testament, depending on where you are in the year).
- And every day there is 1 Psalm for devotional purposes.
This “Read Scripture” video from the Bible Project guys explains the plan.
2. The Read Scripture App
There is a free Read Scripture app that I’m going to use. I’m planning on doing my reading in my own Bible (more on that below), but I’m excited about also using the app to help me stay on track.
- The app includes each day’s reading in a stripped-down format, so I can complete my reading right in the app, if I want.
- The app also includes a setting to include a daily reminder on my phone, and allows me to track my progress.. I’m the kind of person who likes checking things off each day, so I’ll use the app for that purpose.
- As you can see in the screenshot below, the app also includes direct links to explanatory videos that are paired with a daily reading from time to time.
3. The Bible Project videos
The Read Scripture plan sometimes suggests explanatory videos to supplement a day’s reading portion. (As I mentioned above, one of the benefits of the app is that it includes direct links to the videos, so you don’t have to search on YouTube.) The videos the Bible Project guys are producing are REALLY GOOD. To cite one out of their dozens and dozens of really helpful videos, here is an overview of the Book of Leviticus:
4. A Brand-New Bible
Though I’m going to use the app to keep my on track, I’m planning on using my own Bible to complete the readings. (We’re handing out bookmarks at church with a month’s worth of readings at a time; here’s a pdf of the January schedule.)
- I prefer to read on paper than in an app, when possible.
- I like to make notes, circle, underline, etc.
- This will be the same Bible I’ll be preaching out of in 2018.
I used my Christmas money and bought a stunningly beautiful new Bible: a Cambridge Clarion Reference ESV in Black Goatskin. These Cambridge Bibles are $$$$, but they are absolutely the most beautiful books I have ever held.
Here’s how I decided on this particular Bible:
- I didn’t need a study Bible;
- I wanted something relatively portable;
- I also wanted it big enough to have room for notes;
- I wanted cross-references (the little margin notes that tell you when the same quotation appears elsewhere in the Bible);
- I wanted an ESV translation, since it’s not what I’ve used previously;
- And most importantly, I wanted a single-column text. All the other Bibles I own have double columns, but I thought it would be a good change to try a single column.
I eventually found myself deciding between two Bibles that met my criteria: the Cambridge Clarion ESV and the ESV Personal Reference Bible. Brad Schrum has a detailed and very helpful post with lots of pictures comparing the two. I decided on the Cambridge Clarion because it was slightly larger and I just liked the feel of it in my hand a bit more, but the ESV Personal Reference Bible was also a really good option. (If you’re in the Dallas area, the bookstore at Dallas Theological Seminary has both editions, if you’d like to compare them.)
If you are interested in getting a new Bible for 2018, here are two others that I’ve used personally for years:
For a good study Bible, try The NIV Study Bible;
For a nice thin Bible, try the NRSV Thinline.
5. A Bible Blog
Both on this site and on our church’s Bible blog, I’ll be adding thoughts from my reading. (On the church blog, my colleague Amanda will have notes for every single day of readings!) Occasional blogging will help me stay engaged with the reading.
6. The Bible Project newsletter
The Bible Project guys have a weekly newsletter than tracks along with the Read Scripture plan, offering a recap of the previous week and an overview of the coming week. I’m going to sign up on January 1. Go here to sign up; scroll down until you see the picture below. The newsletter is just one more reminder to help me stay on track–it’s a marathon, not a sprint, you know?
So, that’s my plan to read through the Bible in 2018.
I’ll let you know how it goes….