Originally published Friday, 05 February 2016.
Let’s be honest: you want to read the Bible, but it seems no matter how many times you’ve tried following Bible reading plans, you just can’t get past Leviticus.
I get it. Really, I do.
For years I started the new year with resolutions to read through the Bible, only to slack off. We want to read the Bible, but we feel overwhelmed and guilty. So because we can’t stick with our plan, we often avoid it completely.
Here’s a secret: You DON’T have to read through the entire Bible in a year nor do you have to read it alone.
It’s much better to take one book at a time and dig deep, allowing the Spirit to change your heart, than to simply check a box. And that transformation is compounded when you read Scripture alongside others as well.
My slacker tendencies changed several years ago when I discovered online Bible-reading communities. These groups of women and men dig into the Word together, one book at a time, and offer support and accountability. Over time, I’ve tried several groups and discovered new ones along the way, and every time I’ve been impressed by the power of reading Scripture together in community. (Which shouldn’t be surprising, because if you think of it, that’s how Scripture was intended to be read in the first place: in community!)
If you’re a chronic Bible-reading slacker, grab a buddy and take one book at a time, letting it soak into your heart and mind rather than rushing through it by yourself to “get it done.”
You can find a Bible study group at your church or in your community, but there are lots of online communities too! And with all the simple Bible reading plans to choose from, you can pick one that fits, complete that session, and then pick another one when it’s finished.
Good Morning Girls
Founded by Courtney Joseph, this community is hosted on her blog and goes through books of the Bible one at a time (they’ve read Genesis-Numbers, Proverbs, Matthew, Acts, and are currently in Job). This is the first online Bible reading group I had ever joined, and it’s was a wonderful way to read through Luke (this is also where I learned the SOAP method of reading the Bible). Readers are encouraged to plug into groups for accountability, though this isn’t necessary, so you can jump in at any time. I love that GMG offers international groups as well, including one for Romanian readers. Awesome!
If you’re looking for a simple-to-follow plan with built-in accountability, check out Hello Mornings, founded by Kat Lee. I’ve participated in several of their reading plans, and have always come away encouraged and astonished by how helpful it is to have like-minded women to check in with every day. I like that they offer groups based on seasons of life and interests (as well as options to connect on Facebook, Twitter, and email), so you can do what works best for you. Registration is open for very limited times, so if you’re interested, make sure to get on their email list.
She Reads Truth
This online community’s goal is to get women into the Word of God every day, offering a Bible reading plan, a daily devotion on their blog, optional journals, and a handy app to help you stay on track. I’ve heard of this group from several friends who love it (including Crystal Paine), but I haven’t personally tried any of their reading plans. (They offer free and paid versions, so anyone can get involved.) Right now they’re going through Genesis chapter by chapter, and it’s not too late to jump in. Check out theirwebsite and Facebook page for more information.
Love God Greatly
If you’re looking for both topical and book-based reading plans, Love God Greatly will give you a blend of both. Starting January 11 they’ll be reading through Scriptures on prayer, but they’ve read through Galatians, 1 & 2 Peter, Psalm 119, Esther, as well as studies on the Names of God, gratitude, and community. If you haven’t joined a group yet, Love God Greatly is a great one to jump in on!
From Lysa Terkeurst’s Proverbs 31 ministries comes First 5, a Bible-reading plan and built-in community, directly on your phone. The meaning of the name (“First 5”) is to give God the first 5 minutes of our day, before we check email or Facebook, and saturate our minds and hearts with His Word. I love that I can set an alarm directly within the app, and when I turn off the alarm, the Bible reading for the day pops up, along with a devotional and a forum to leave a personal application. Plus, every day has a new lovely image to share on my feed and encourage my friends as well. What a great idea!
Keith Ferrin’s BRT
If you love a challenge, consider joining Keith Ferrin for theBible-Read Thru in 4 months. Yep. 4 months. It sounds crazy, but for those of us who thrive on challenges, this plan may just be the thing to get you going. I joined the challenge in 2014, months after having my first child, and I wrote about 9 lessons I learned here. How did I get through? I listened to the audioBible, and it gave me a whole new appreciation for the whole of Scripture.
Bible Gateway Plans
If you’d rather read the Bible on your own, without a community, Bible Gateway offers a great variety of reading plans, like chronological, start-to-finish, and the popular M’Cheyne. You can bookmark the page in your browser and read it right there. You can also receive a daily reminder email to keep you on track (no more slacking!).
The YouVersion app allows you to read, listen to, or watch the Bible directly on your phone, choosing whichever plan you’d like. You can also connect with friends on Facebook and keep one another accountable in your Bible-reading habit. Another popular feature is short topical reading plans based on classics and recent releases, including My Utmost for His Highest, Meet the New You, Jesus Speaks, and What on Earth Am I Here For? Plans range from year-long to 28, 14, or even 3 days, so you can find something for every season.
If you’re looking for more help in becoming consistent in your Daily Devotions habit, sign up for my free eCourse Quiet Time for Busy Women. You’ll get a weekly email for 6 weeks that will help you grow deeper in your relationship with God in just 15 minutes a day.
You can stop SLACKing and start STICKing to your Bible-reading plan this year. And as you allow God’s Word to sink into you, you’ll grow deeper in your relationship with God, and He will receive more glory in your life. No check box can beat that!