How to Read the Bible in One Year

Photo of someone reading a BibleThe study of scripture is, of course, an extremely important religious discipline in the Christian faith. Reading the Bible spiritually feeds, recharges, and teaches us. It brings us closer to God.

But let’s be honest, sometimes it seems like something on a checklist we need to X off in order to be a good follower. We all know we need to pray, go to church, and read our Bible. Right? Are we missing something?

In that sense, sometimes Christians really try to streamline study of scripture and compartmentalize reading the word into specific points of time. And that’s okay from a strategic sense, as long as it doesn’t lose heart.

Having a routine for reading the Bible is good, and having a scriptural study plan is even better! But for people wondering how to read the Bible in one year, the answer might not be as clear cut as you think.

Is it Possible?

First off, you might be wondering if it’s even possible to read the entire Bible within 365 days. After all, it’s a big book. A really big book. So is it even worth trying?

Clip art of a calendarI’ll say this: it IS possible. Plenty of people have done it before. Yes, it’s an undertaking. It requires commitment. And it definitely is an accomplishment. You will have to carve time out of every single day to read and make sure not to miss too many days (or you’ll be going into another year!).

However, the possibility might depend on your lifestyle. Working overtime with 4 kids will make it extremely challenging, but if you’re a stay-at home parent or a caretaker it could be easier for you.

When my dad was in prison, he read through the entire Bible 3 times within 18 months. In prison, though, you have a lot of time on your hands.

There are plans out there for aspiring yearlong Bible-readers. You can find them at places like Biblica, Bible Study Tools, and Christianity.com. Whether you should try this or not might be another question, though…

Is it a Good Idea?

If you’re asking how to read the Bible in one year, a better question for you might be “how to read the Bible” or “how should I study the Bible?” Don’t let me stop you if you’re already determined, but hear me out.

It may be possible to read the Bible in a year, but that doesn’t mean it’s possible to read the Bible for all it’s worth in a year. If you commit to reading the entire Bible in a year, you will likely be doing just that: reading it and nothing more.

Scripture isn’t an anthology of classical novellas. Scripture is God’s word, holy teaching. We’re supposed to meditate (think deeply) on it, explore it, learn from it and teach with it. To use it to be intimate with God.

If we are truly going to mine the scriptures for meaning and refine it into application, just reading isn’t enough. We need to study it. And can you honest study the entire Bible with depth in a year? I think not.

Check out my favorite study Bible to help you understand the Bible!

Why A Year?

I honestly think that instead of asking how to read the Bible in a year we should be asking how to use this year to study the Bible.

I am not saying that reading the Bible in a year is bad. But ask yourself why this is something you want to do. Is it to make an accomplishment, to tick off a checklist, or to really understand God’s word?

Keep in mind there is little merit to saying “I read the whole Bible in a year!” How much better would it be to say “I explore God’s word every day and allow the Holy Spirit to speak into my life with it.”

It is far better to go through scripture slowly and carefully than it is to blast through it like a fairy tale and not take much from it. Remember the tale of the tortoise and the hare.

I realize my article has turned into a misnomer. Forgive me. But there should be purpose behind scripture study, and speed-reading just doesn’t have that purpose in most cases.

Some Alternatives

Let me try and offer some advice into how we can effectively use our time to study the Word of God. Staying in the Word is a lifelong journey and studying scripture is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep in mind there are people who have been reading the Bible their entire life and still miss out on basic doctrine. Don’t be one of those people.

Rather than trying to read the Bible in a year, try to really focus on smaller portions of scripture. See what you can learn and apply from reading. See what you can learn about God and listen to Him speak to you. Read until you are drawn to worship God in all His power and majesty.

If you are really wanting to have a plan and a study for going through the entirety of the Bible, go ahead and do a yearlong plan with the intention of making it last longer than a year. Or do a yearlong plan that covers the finer points of scripture. Better yet, make a 3 or 5 year plan to explore all 66 books of scripture.

Here is a good one: Through the Bible provides a 5-year study plan to go through the entire Bible. This is a more realistic time frame and is much more suited for the scholar and seeker than the casual reader.

The late Dr. J Vernon McGee has a 5-volume set of in-depth Bible commentary that remains to this day as one of the most widely used commentaries. Using it in conjunction with the audio teachings I’ve linked to above will certainly provide an in-depth study of the Bible.

Whichever study you choose, be sure you are going about it with the right attitude. To meet with God in His Word every day so that He may teach you, guide you, build you up, and correct you.

Related: 7 Myths About the Bible


I’m afraid I must apologize for not straightforwardly answering the question of how to read the Bible in one year. However, I hope I have given some insight into the heart of Bible study and how to approach scripture.

Again, I’m not saying that reading the Bible in a year is bad, per se. I just feel that most of the time it misses the whole point of why we read the Bible in the first place.

Have I helped you in figuring out a plan to read and study the word? Please comment below and let me know!

2 thoughts on “How to Read the Bible in One Year”

  1. I am one who wants to read “the Bible in a year”. This is a good plan–commentaries and one book at a time. That’s close to 5 years. I think I’d like to do the New Testament in the first year, and the really long places of Old Testament in the three years remaining. I have time to read it as I am shut-in. This is really good view of the Old and New Testament in a REALISTIC time. Thanks

    Reply
    • It’s definitely a goal a lot of Christians try to meet at some point. It’s possible, for sure, as there are many one year Bible plans. However, these are usually “overview” plans and do not deeply cover history, culture, greater salvation context etc. It might be good to do an “overview” year-long study and then follow up with a more detailed 5-year Bible journey. 🙂

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