How to Read the Bible in a Year

February 17, 2021

Want to read through the Bible in a year, but feel completely overwhelmed at where to even start? Or maybe, if you’re like me, you’ve set this goal before and fell short? First off, congrats on even wanting to accomplish this. Seeking a deeper relationship with God is a huge deal and you should be […]


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Want to read through the Bible in a year, but feel completely overwhelmed at where to even start? Or maybe, if you’re like me, you’ve set this goal before and fell short? First off, congrats on even wanting to accomplish this. Seeking a deeper relationship with God is a huge deal and you should be proud. Secondly, and I’m a little sad to admit this, you should know I tried reading through the Bible in a year multiple times before 2020 and never got past April.

Let me be proof that you can fail once, but succeed the next time… but only if you do things differently. By the end of reading this, you’ll have all the tools and tips I used to finally learn the lessons from Genesis to Revelations. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Get Clear on Your Why

Like any goal, we have to be crystal clear on why it actually matters to you. If you’re doing it just to say you did it, I’m not judging. I’ve been there. But because I’ve been there, I can also tell you this… While you may achieve your goal, you will not be in the right mindset to truly learn as you’re reading. Instead, you need to dig deep into the reason this matters to you – whatever that may be!

Once you know it, write it down and truly soak it in. Whether it’s to understand God better, grow closer to Him, or anything else, writing it down will cement your purpose for days you feel like giving up.

Understand What You’re Reading

Remember back in high school when we had to read Shakespeare and thought it was totally lame? We’d nod off trying to get through whatever act we were reading. But yet, we cry while watching Lion King? Spoiler alert… Lion King is a knock off of Hamlet. Before I keep tearing apart one of your childhood memories, I’ll make my point.

If you don’t understand what you’re reading, it’ll be incredibly difficult to stay engaged, learn, and push on. The biggest game-changer for me finally getting through the Bible and pulling true lessons from it was The Bible Recap podcast. The host, Miss Tara-Leigh Cobble, does a fantastic job of providing not only historical context, but a summary of God’s character from each day’s reading in less than 10 minutes. I am so thankful to my friend, Emily (of Emily Writes Well), for recommending this podcast to me.

Don’t Do It Alone

Which brings me to my next point… Don’t try to do this alone or in secret. We are much more likely to achieve any goal when we say it out loud to someone else because there is a level of seriousness and accountability attached. Emily was one of the girls who joined the Facebook group I created to read through the Bible in a year together.

Having people committed alongside me, combined with the community to pick me up when I felt like I was missing the point of a passage, was so valuable. It was what kept me going for the first half of the year. Without that community, I may never have found the podcast or any of the other tools I’ll mention next. Your community doesn’t have to be a Facebook group or even a formal arrangement, but tell someone.

YouVersion App

Are you more of a Kindle person or physical book reader? If you’re like me and like your entire library to weigh 1.08 pounds (the weight of an iPad), you will love the YouVersion app. In the past, I would get behind when we went on trips because I didn’t pack my Bible.

With the YouVersion app, which is free by the way, you can not only read your passages in whatever Bible version you understand best, but you can follow different plans that keep you on track… all from your phone. (And let’s be real – you always have your phone with you.)

To make it easy, I’d suggest following The Bible Recap plan because it corresponds to each daily podcast episode and because they link a video summary for the book you’re about to start. However, it’s completely up to you whether you want to read chronologically or in the order in which the scripture appears in the Bible.

Give Yourself Grace

Why is it that every time we try to achieve a goal and get “behind,” we give up? As if the only way to make progress is to have a perfect track record? Maybe it’s just me, but I know I do this with working out. My brain is like, “oooo, Cassie, you missed a day, so you might as well just give up now.” So weird, but anyways, you will find yourself doing the same thing as you get behind a day or two in your plan.

But I want you to remember this… Even if you fail to get through every passage in a year, you will have undoubtedly read more of the Bible than you would have otherwise. When you get behind, you have three choices: catch up, give up, or pick back up where you left off.

If you’re tempted to give up (or restart next year), don’t. Think about how many days you’re putting between you and an intentional relationship with God. I promise if you get too far behind to reasonably catch up, God won’t mind if you take 390 days instead of 365. Remember why you started in the first place.

The Benefit of Reading the Bible in a Year

I will admit, when I started trying to read the Bible in a year, I did it for two reasons. Obviously, I wanted to understand God more and be a better Christian (yes I cringed as I typed this), but I also wanted to say I did it.

Wow – so much has changed. What I didn’t realize would happen was that I’d feel so close to God and trust Him so much that when I felt anxious, I’d quickly realize I missed a couple days of my reading plan. This intentional time I spent daily learning more about God has brought peace, joy, and happiness to my life.

So much so that even though I finally did it – I managed to figure out how to read the Bible in a year, I now crave time with God and look for him in my everyday. This daily habit is now engrained so deeply inside me that I feel off when I don’t connect with Him. If I (the girl who failed many times before) can do this, I know you can. Ask Him for wisdom, guidance, and perseverance. As it says in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

I would love to support you however I can. If you want to learn more about me or connect, please send me a message so I can pray for you!

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