A Beginners’ Bible Reading Plan (2nd Edition)

Survey the Bible in one year, reading only about 15 verses a day!

I’m pleased to present a new version of this Bible reading plan that I first created in 2014. Most of the substance remains the same as in the first edition, but I’m excited about the improvements:

  1. Some better text selections, with more from Psalms and Isaiah and more passages showing connections between Old and New Testaments;
  2. Better passage summaries and headings;
  3. Fewer typos;
  4. More attractive typefaces; and
  5. Improved functionality, with hyperlinks for reading online in over 150 versions and 50 languages at BibleGateway.com and a large-print edition that will work better on mobile devices.

Choose a version and download a PDF of the plan:

Print / PC Version
Mobile Version

What parts of the Bible will I read? Readings are included from every book of the Bible, with 8 months of Old Testament readings and 4 months in the New Testament. This plan includes about 4,660 key verses out of about 31,100 verses in the whole Bible. That’s over 1/7th or nearly 15% of the Bible.

How were the readings chosen? Passages were chosen that (1) trace the big story of the whole Bible with many of its central themes, (2) reflect the literary and topical diversity of the Bible, and (3) avoid some adult content that may be less suitable for younger readers. Readings are arranged mostly in chronological order, but also thematically, with descriptions and headings to guide readers.

Who should use this plan? I first created this guide for my oldest daughter when she was five years old and already an eager reader. But this plan is equally well-suited for several kinds of adults—those new to the Bible, slower readers, or anyone who wants to survey key passages of the Bible at a pace that gives plenty of time for meditation.

What is the suggested reading schedule? Each monthly handout of 25 readings can be completed using one of these suggested schedules: (1) Read 6 days a week until finished; (2) Read 5 days a week plus do one 5-reading day each month. The average length of each reading is only about 15½ verses, so if you fall behind you can easily catch up by finishing several readings per day.

 When can I begin? Months are unnamed on the 12 handouts, so you can begin any time of the year. Why not start today?

 Can I use this guide to read the Bible online? Yes! Each Bible reference in this PDF document is a link to the Bible Gateway website, taking you directly to each day’s passage(s) in whichever Bible translation you last used when visiting Bible Gateway. Also, some PDF apps have a highlight feature you can use in the downloaded document to mark readings as you complete them.

Which Bible translation should I use? Use a translation that is trustworthy and that communicates clearly. For most English readers, the best choice may be the NIV (New International Version), which is both exceptionally readable and faithful to the original biblical texts. Similar choices include the CSB (Christian Standard Bible), NASB 2020 (the newest New American Standard Bible), and NET Bible (New English Translation). Beginning readers will find the NLT (New Living Translation) and NIRV (New International Reader’s Version) helpful, though they sometimes sacrifice accuracy for readability.

Readers who prioritize a more word-for-word translation approach also have solid choices. The ESV (English Standard Version) and NKJV (New King James Version) lean in this direction and the NASB 1995—somewhat harder to read—is the most word-for-word of all the translations mentioned here. (The Bible quotations in this guide come from the ESV, which has been a good fit for our family.)

 Finally, to gain the greatest benefit from this Bible reading plan, avoid translations that use archaic language or publications that are actually paraphrases rather than genuine translations.

A Beginners’ Bible Reading Plan is copyrighted © 2024 by Dwight Gingrich. Permission is granted to use freely for non-profit purposes.

An image of the first month of the Print / PC version:

A screenshot of the Mobile version, with highlights marking completed readings:

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30 thoughts on “A Beginners’ Bible Reading Plan (2nd Edition)”

  1. Pingback: Happy New Year!
  2. I have planned many times to read the Bible through from cover to cover. My time is running out and I have never made it through. I am 76 years old and will be 77 before the year is over. Please pray for me as this is something I must do. The Bible is not new to me. I sat at my mother’s feet and she read to us. I cannot explain it but I want to learn exactly what Jesus wants me to do.

    1. This was strange to me. It came from my memories. But it is something I must have forgotten about. It looks like could have written it as everything fits. The name, the age and the whole written paragraph. It has stirred something inside me that I truly believe is God. However this came about thank you. I am now 77 but before the end of the year on Christmas Eve I will be 78. Pray for me.

      1. Thank you for this. We use the Swedish Method of Bible study and I was looking for a guide that will fit this method. I enjoy this method and so I teach it to others (specially to unchurched students). However I had difficulty suggesting a guide the groups can use. Hopefully your guide will be a blessing.

    1. Hi Wilma,

      No, I don’t. But that’s a good idea. Would you find that useful? Meanwhile, I guess you could just print out the PDFs I’ve posted and journal in another notebook. God bless, and thanks for taking time to ask!

  3. Thanks for putting this together. I encourage people to read the Bible. However, I am conscious of the fact that sometimes the first step is overwhelming. This provides a ramp up to reading the Bible.

  4. Wow… I’ve been looking for a way of getting Bible reading plan like this for a long time… Its really a blessing to me. Thanks for compiling this, more grace.
    Pls which Bible version will be preferable and best understanding for beginners?

    1. Praise God if this plan is a blessing for you!

      One of the best Bible translations for the average reader is the NIV (New International Version). It is usually very readable both for adults and children. The CSB (Christian Standard Bible) is also good.

      If you need something even easier to read, you could use the NLT (New Living Translation). The NLT isn’t as good for careful Bible study, but it usually explains the meaning of the Bible clearly and correctly.

      1. You’re welcome! I forgot to mention that I rediscovered this resource from listening to your guest appearance on That Jesus Podcast. 🙂 Blessings!

  5. Don’t worry sir, He only needs you to lovingly hear Him and abide in Him and let Him abide in you and He shall reveal himself to you. For we shall not know everything until we know as we are fully known but the one who loves God is known by Him

  6. Now that your daughter is older does she read through the Bible completely or still use this? I was planning to pay my girls $100 to read the Bible in a year but then someone told me paying them is wrong… I’m not sure anymore, it motivates them and Gods Word is not void. Just wondering what your doing with your daughter now (mine are 12&10)!

    1. Hi Lindsey! My oldest is now 14, and I actually had to ask her last night to know what she’s currently doing for Bible reading. She said she started in about March reading through the Bible from the start and is now in 1 Samuel. I think she only used this plan once. My middle daughter, being of a different mindset, just started reading through the whole Bible several years ago and is now somewhere in the prophets (at age 12). Our youngest daughter did use this plan and either finished it or got most of the way through. I don’t suppose there’s anything wrong with paying a child to read the Bible. There’d be varied opinions on that just like there are varied opinions on Bible memory competitions and awards. Most important, I suppose, is that they are reading and, equally important, that they are seeing modelled in us as parents a love of God’s Word and of God himself.

  7. Thank you Dwight, I am looking forward to using this outline. I have read the Bible through using plans that include the whole. It gets really tedious at places and it was tempting to skip over some sections. I like what I see here. Thanks again and God bless you for your diligence in helping people stay in the Word.

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