I’ve decided to begin a two-year Bible-reading plan, and you’re invited to join me. My invitation is kind of in the form of a FAQ. 😉
Why two years?
I’ve done one-year plans before, and while it’s pretty awesome as a bucket-list item, the pace often meant it was a mad dash toward a checkbox rather than anything that could be called “contemplative.”
Two years scares me a little because it’s a long commitment, but I’d rather do two years and have time to marinate than “get through it” at a breakneck speed.
Why this plan?
Stephen Witmer prepared this plan, and he wrote extensively about why he was bringing yet another plan into being.
I’m not going to rehash all of his excellent reasons here, but I particularly appreciate his attention to dividing readings into logical units (vs. arbitrary chapter splits) and the effort he put into matching it up to the book “How to Read the Bible Book by Book” (more on that in a second).
Why start now?
I know, I know. People usually start this kind of thing at New Year’s. Here’s the thing: New Year’s isn’t a great time for me to start new things. I’m typically on vacation and schedules are all wonky. As a parent of a school-aged kid, I tend to gravitate to a school-year calendar because once school starts, it’s a lot simpler to establish a routine of any kind.
Now, I know I just laid out the perfect argument to start at the beginning of September… and that was my plan! The only thing was, the plan had dates starting in (of course) January, and I wanted it to start in September. “No problem,” I thought! “I’m a nerd! I’ll just do some copy-and-pasting, a little reworking…” But then I decided I wanted to have links. And a landscape view to make it fit easier into my Bible. And and and.
So, it’s September 10 as I write this. I’m going to start on September 16 because that is 100 days before Christmas and all its accompanying schedule-chaos. And aside from being a nice round number, 100 days is squarely in the window of time that’s currently considered “enough time to form a lasting habit.” Personally, I need that level of “lifestyle” before I even think of January 1.
Why read it at the same time?
Again, Stephen Witmer addresses this very well, but there are two big benefits as I see it: accountability and conversations. If you know that I’m doing it, you can ask me how it’s going, and vice versa. Plus, we can talk through the fun parts, the hard parts, the long parts, and the convicting parts.
I’m not envisioning some big fancy thing. I don’t see myself setting up a forum or a Facebook group, more just having conversations organically as we interact like we usually do. If you want something more structured, poke me about it and we’ll see… but I’m planning on keeping this simple because I typically err towards premature optimization. 😉
What do I need to participate?
As mentioned a bit ago, the plan is designed to flow with the book “How to Read the Bible Book by Book“. That book provides what the authors call a “guided tour,” providing context and clarity around the whens and whys of a given Bible book, but without the depth (and heft!) of a commentary.
The plan provides natural breaks (usually a day or two) in the Bible-reading to catch up if you fall behind (not that any of us ever do that ?️) and to read the introduction to the next book. So your immediate next step, if you want to use the book, would be to order it. (It’s not expensive and it’s available quickly if you’re a Prime member, too. It’s even faster if you get the Kindle version! 😉 )
(If you’re not sure whether to get the print version or the Kindle version, keep in mind that we’ll be reading from two different sections on many days. Using bookmarks on the Kindle will work, but if it’ll make you crazy to jump back-and-forth, get the print version. Conversely, if you want one less physical object to juggle around while you read, the Kindle version might work better for you.)
If you get the book before September 16, you can start by reading through the preface to get a sense of what the authors are shooting for, and jump into the introductory sections for Genesis and Psalms (they’re just a couple of pages each); once we get started with the reading plan proper, there’s a corresponding section for each chunk of Scripture.
The next step will be to download the reading plan! ?️?️?️
The reading plan, as a PDF file
I’ve made a bunch of different versions to provide options for different Bible sizes (if you plan to print it and keep it in your Bible, like I’m going to) or online use (the Scripture references in the PDF are links to an online Bible). Let me know if you need a different format (or for my fellow nerds, feel free to make a copy of the spreadsheet with all the underlying data).