It’s that time of year again. Time to choose your next daily Bible reading plan. But with more and more people turning to e-Bibles on their smart phones or other portable devices, the traditional bookmark style, Bible reading plan’s days may be numbered.
Thankfully, for today’s Bible geeks (a term used for the tech-savvy, Bible aficionado) plenty of digital options are available when it comes to tracking and promoting Bible reading. I have found that having some plan and some tool to track my reading, is a very practical way to encourage me to continue to make Bible reading a priority. I don’t think we have to be slavishly beholden to a Bible reading plan, and not everyone is equally able to read the Bible through in a year. But reading the Bible is one of the best ways to encounter Jesus. So why not do all we can to read as much of the Bible as possible this year?
What follows is a list of some of the e-Bible reading options available. Please jump in and share any tools you are finding helpful that aren’t included here.
YouVersion is a site that uses the appeal of social media to encourage interaction with the Bible. The site lets users submit notes on the Bible, and share Bible verses easily through various social media channels, particularly Twitter and Facebook. The site has a long list of Bible reading plans. I’m interested in trying the Historical plan which goes through the OT according to the order of books in the Hebrew Bible, then goes through the NT books in the order that most scholars believe they were written in.
Youversion lets you track your progress online, or through your mobile phone (or even via RSS). You can share your progress with your social media networks, letting your friends know as you complete each day’s reading plan. This encourages others to be reading the Bible and allows something like Facebook to provide some accountability even, as your friends can see whether or not you are staying current with your reading plan.
Bible Gateway seems to be the most popular site for looking up Bible verses online. The site has several Bible reading plans that work with the various versions the site includes. If you’re interested in reading through the new updated NIV 2011 translation, this site is for you. There are also a few additional reading plans somewhat buried in the site. An interesting one is the biographical reading plan focusing on key Bible characters. For a couple plans you can even sign up for email updates with the days’ reading included via email (currently only available for the NIV or KJV).
My version of choice is the ESV, and I love the ESV Study Bible. Now the ESV Online incorporates the Study Bible notes and also includes two different versions of the complete Bible in audio format, easily accessible right from the viewing page. I enjoy reading along as I hear the audio version playing. The ESV Online lets you add your own notes and highlight passages in various colors, too. I just wish the History of Salvation in the OT article was referenced in the SB notes for each OT passage it covers, however.
The ESV Online has several reading plans as well as some devotionals. The Daily Light on the Daily Path devotional seems quite unique, and might be great for family devotions. It’s a classic that I had never heard of.
Bible.org offers five different reading plans which launch in the new beta version of a Net Bible reader. The Net Bible notes are some of the most comprehensive available, and great for studying. What’s nice about the beta Net Bible reader is that you can instantly see the Hebrew or Greek for the passage and relevant articles from Bible.org regarding that passage. You also have the option of adding your own notes to share with other readers (or store for personal reference). It also includes an audio version of the Bible (but probably not for Greek or Hebrew!).
Olive Tree Bible Software
You may already be an Olive Tree junkie. Olive Tree Bible Software has carved out a niche in the mobile devices market, offering arguably the best Bible software for smart phones and other portable devices. A few reading plans are available for free Olive Tree, as well as additional devotional books.
Blue Letter Bible
You might not be into the whole e-Bible thing, however. You might just want the old-fashioned, tried and true, bookmark Bible reading plan. Don’t despair. Blue Letter Bible can help. They have a wide selection of Bible reading plans available as .pdf downloads, which can then be printed on actual paper and kept as a bookmark in your very own, leather-bound Bible! Chronological, historical, canonical and blended plans are available, as is a 2 year plan to read through the Bible at a slower pace.
Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plans
Finally, I would be remiss not to mention what may be the most popular Bible reading plan around, the Discipleship Journal reading plan from NavPress. This popular plan lets you read through the Bible in four different locations. One reading starts in Genesis, another in Psalms, another in Matthew, and the last one in Acts. It ensures variety and keeps one from being bogged down in the genealogies or Tabernacle details too much. Plus it only has readings for the first 25 days of the month, allowing for extra study, for those who stay on track, or for catch up days, for those who need the extra help (and motivation to stay on the plan). You can see a sample of the plan here (in .PDF), or you can order 25 copies of the plan (in good old bookmark format) from NavPress, and pass the others out at your church. There is also a Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Journal available to complement this plan.
DJ also has a book-at-a-time reading plan (preview here) which provides variety by having two reading tracks and alternating between Old and New Testament books. A simpler plan for those newer to Bible reading is also available (preview here). It covers the New Testament by having 5 minute readings, 5 days a week.
This post was written byBob Hayton and published onFundamentally Reformed. Follow Bob on Twitter:@rjhayton.