You want to read the Bible every day, but how much time should you spend? With 66 books and over 1,100 chapters, reading the entire Bible seems like an overwhelming task. Here are some key takeaways to help determine a reasonable Bible reading plan for you:
- There is no set rule on how much or how little to read each day. The important thing is making Bible reading a consistent habit.
- Reading just 15-30 minutes per day allows you to get through the entire Bible in a year.
- Reading 1-3 chapters a day is very manageable for most people. This gets you through the Bible in 6 months to a year.
- Reading one book of the Bible at a time lets you absorb the message and context better.
- Using a Bible reading plan keeps you on track and prevents getting bogged down.
- Highlighting key verses and taking notes helps you apply what you read.
- Praying before you read invites the Holy Spirit to speak to you through God’s Word.
The goal is not getting through as much as possible, but regularly spending time in God’s Word. Even a few minutes a day will deepen your relationship with Christ over time. The key is finding a routine that works with your schedule.
Start Where You Are
You may feel overwhelmed trying to read long passages or entire books of the Bible at one sitting. Begin where you are comfortable, then gradually increase.
If sitting down with the Bible first thing in the morning doesn’t work with your routine, then try reading during lunch or before bed. If your thoughts wander while reading, try listening to an audio Bible during your commute.
Don’t compare your reading plan with someone else’s or think there’s something wrong with reading at a slower pace. We each have different capacities and schedules. The important thing is carving out a habit of daily Bible intake.
Psalm 119:97 says, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (NKJV). God delights when we treasure His Word and go at the pace that works for us.
Recommended Time Per Day
With such varying advice, how do you know where to start? Here are some general guidelines on how much time you might aim for each day:
15-30 minutes: Reading just 15-30 minutes per day enables you to get through the entire Bible in a year. This is a very doable goal that creates a meaningful habit.
With a 15-minute reading plan, you could read one chapter from the Old Testament, one chapter from the New Testament, and a Psalm or Proverb each day.
Thirty minutes allows time to look up cross references, highlight meaningful verses, and take brief notes.
1 hour: Reading about 3-4 chapters per day gets you through the Bible in 6 months. This requires a greater time investment but allows more time for prayer and study.
You may also alternate between 1 hour some days and 30 minutes on busier days.
2-3 hours: Reading for 2-3 hours a day enables you to read the entire Bible in 3-4 months. While admirable, this much reading daily may not be realistic or sustainable for most people long-term.
This level of reading is great for special Bible reading plans like reading the Bible in 40 or 90 days. But more than 2 hours of daily reading may lead to rushing and not fully absorbing the text.
Start with 15 minutes then add time as you are able. Reading the Bible takes dedication, especially in our fast-paced culture. Aim to start where you can realistically carve out time. Fifteen minutes of quality time in the Word is better than nothing.
You can always increase your reading time later as you establish this new habit. The Holy Spirit will lead you deeper in God’s Word in His perfect timing.
Proverbs 4:23 says to, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (NLT). As you seek God in His Word, ask Him to shape your heart and mind to desire more and more time with Him.
Read at Your Own Pace
While you want to challenge yourself, don’t get overwhelmed reading large portions of Scripture in one sitting. Depending on the book, you may need more time to pause, ponder, look up cross references, take notes, and pray through what you’re reading.
Reading at a pace that feels rushed can hinder you from fully understanding and absorbing God’s Word. It is always better to read less with thought and intention than speeding through just to check off more chapters.
Here are some tips to help you read Scripture at the right pace for your learning style:
- Note genres. Old Testament books like Psalms and Proverbs can be read faster than detailed historical accounts or doctrine-rich epistles.
- Read with a pencil. Highlight key verses and underline meaningful passages. Write thoughts and questions in your Bible margins. Engage with the text as you read.
- Look up cross references. Follow other passages that relate to what you are currently reading to gain deeper understanding.
- Research terms and places. Use Bible dictionaries and commentaries to better grasp the context and meanings of what you read.
- Reflect and pray. Think about what you’ve read and ask God to speak to you personally through His Word. This takes time but is essential.
- Re-read. Don’t be afraid to go back and re-read verses or chapters multiple times. Repetition helps you retain Scripture.
Make your goal engaging Scripture on a heart level, not just completing. Understanding the Word is far better than speed or quantity of reading.
Psalm 1:1-3 says the one who delights in God’s Word is “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” (NIV). As you read with an open heart, God’s Spirit will refresh and nourish your soul through His Word.
Tips for Staying on Track
Whatever your reading plan, you’ll need perseverance to develop your Bible reading habit. Begin with realistic expectations so you don’t get discouraged. But also challenge yourself to grow.
Here are some tips to help you get into a rhythm and stay consistent:
- Set reminders. Use phone alerts, daily planners, or apps to remind you when to read. Ask an accountability partner to check in.
- Read first thing. Start your day meeting with God in His Word. You’re less likely to skip it doing your reading first.
- Keep your Bible visible. Having your Bible on your desk or nightstand makes it convenient. Out of sight can mean out of mind.
- Find your niche. Discover what time and place you can best focus. It may be first thing in the morning, on your lunch break, or before bed.
- Read before busyness. Don’t try squeezing in Bible reading after a packed day. Prioritize time with God’s Word at the start of your day or during your least busy window.
- Vary your reading plan. Follow a reading plan but also study topics, books, or devotional guides that supplement your reading.
- Listen while multi-tasking. Play the audio Bible while getting ready, commuting, or doing chores to maximize time.
- Share insights with others. Discussing your reading over coffee or in a small group keeps you accountable and motivated.
- Pray for God’s help. Ask Him to give you understanding, help you apply it, and fill you with a love for His Word.
Remember that spending time in the Word is a lifelong journey. Setbacks will happen. On crazy busy or travel days you may need to adjust your plan. Just get back on track as soon as you can.
Psalm 119:18 says, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from your law” (NKJV). God promises that as you seek Him consistently, He will give you a greater hunger to know Him more through His Word.
Have a Plan but Be Flexible
Having a Bible reading plan helps tremendously in actually getting through the entire Bible. Plans keep you on track, provide structure, and expose you to a variety of Scriptures. But don’t become a slave to your reading plan.
Some days your schedule may only allow for a 15 minute devotional reading. Other times you may have more opportunity to study a passage deeply. See your plan as a tool to help guide your reading, not a rigid schedule that must be followed legalistically.
Here are some types of Bible reading plans to consider:
- Chronological plans take you through the Bible as events unfolded historically. This helps give greater context to the Old Testament passages.
- Old and New Testament plans have you read portions from both testaments each day. This allows you to connect Revelation to the foreshadowing in the Old Testament.
- Whole books plans let you focus on one book at a time. This gives greater understanding of context.
- Daily devotions plans include passages coupled with commentary, questions, and application points to enhance your time in the Word.
- Topical plans take you through Scriptures focused on certain topics or doctrines of the faith.
Sample a variety of plans to find what suits you best. Using a Bible app makes it easy to access and even customize plans. Just remember to use any plan flexibly, not legalistically.
The key is exposing yourself consistently to God’s Word, not just following steps on a screen. Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run” (NASB). Let your time in the Word spur you to run passionately after Christ.
Supplement with Other Reading
In addition to your core Bible reading, consider supplementing with other Christian books that support your spiritual growth. Reading the Bible should be your primary spiritual input. But other books can provide helpful insight and application.
Here are some types of books to consider:
- Bible commentaries give background and explanation to better understand biblical context and meaning. Commentaries range from brief to very extensive.
- Bible handbooks provide summaries, overviews, charts, maps, and key facts about the different books of the Bible. These help reinforce what you’re reading.
- Christian living books cover important topics like prayer, discipleship, relationships, and dealing with trials from a biblical perspective.
- Devotional books tie short Scripture passages to reflections and application questions to ponder. Great for supporting your daily time in the Word.
- Christian biographies tell the stories of influential Christians throughout history and what can be learned from their examples.
- Theology books dive into doctrines like the attributes of God, sin, salvation, end times, and how we should then live in light of these biblical truths.
Just like your Bible reading time, aim to make Christian reading an ongoing habit. Having a book to turn to outside your scheduled Bible reading equips you with added spiritual knowledge.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (ESV). Supplement your Scripture reading to grow in understanding and living out your faith.
Studying Your Bible
In addition to reading straight through the Bible, you’ll benefit greatly from slowing down to study specific books, passages, topics, or doctrines in more depth.
Bible study takes focused time examining smaller portions of Scripture using cross references, word studies, commentaries and other tools to gain deeper understanding.
Here are some different ways to study your Bible:
- Choose a book of the Bible and work through it section by section studying the themes, structure, context, meanings, applications, etc.
- Study by topic using a concordance or topical Bible to see what Scriptures relate to issues you want to better understand.
- Study biblical words using vine’s dictionary or other word study tools to gain richer understanding of meanings.
- Study biblical characters like David, Peter, Ruth, etc. to see what lessons you can learn from their examples recorded in Scripture.
- Use Bible commentaries, charts, maps, and online resources to better grasp context for what you’re studying.
- Attend a Bible study led by someone knowledgeable who can aid your understanding and application of passages.
- Study biblical prophecies and types reading Old and New Testament together to see how they relate.
Set aside time to study the Bible beyond just reading it through. Let these studies shape your beliefs and behavior as a follower of Jesus.
Acts 17:11 says the Bereans “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Don’t just accept Bible readings at face value but examine the Word carefully.
Putting it Into Practice
As important as reading and studying the Bible is applying and obeying it. Let your time in God’s Word transform you from the inside out.
Here are some tips for applying what you read:
- Ask yourself, “How can I apply or obey this passage in my life today?” Read with an action plan in mind.
- Meditate on verses, chapters or passages that stood out to you. How is God speaking to you personally through this?
- Discuss your readings with others to gain insights into practical application in everyday life.
- Keep a prayer journal writing out how you’ll obey and putting God’s truths into prayer.
- Memorize key verses from your readings that will guide and motivate you. Quote them through your day.
- Make specific life changes aligned with biblical truths like improving your marriage, priorities, ethics at work, etc.
Don’t let your reading become an intellectual exercise. Expect God to shape your beliefs, speech, choices, priorities, values, and how you treat people.
James 1:22 says to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” Be diligent to live out the Bible truths you take in each day. Your life will progressively align with God’s will.
Remember It’s About Relationship
Most importantly, see your Bible reading as connecting with the Author. While it’s great to understand the facts and details of Scripture, keep in mind its purpose is revealing the heart of God and deepening your relationship with Him.
Here are some tips to make your time in the Word relational:
- Begin reading with prayer, inviting God to speak to you.
- Read slowly, listening for His Spirit to make verses stand out to you personally.
- Reflect on readings, asking how God is inviting you to know, trust, or obey Him more.
- Apply teachings from the Word into your everyday conversations and conduct.
- Let reading spark greater passion to worship and minister to others.
- Use Scripture to guide your prayer time, praying verses back to God.
- Memorize verses that remind you of God’s presence, promises, and truths as you go through your day.
The Bible is not just a book but God’s very language of love to deepen your romance with Him. Treat readings as love letters to you. Draw near to God and He promises to draw near to you (James 4:8). His Spirit will bring the Bible alive to your heart in fresh ways each day!
The Psalmist said of God’s Word, “Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver” (Psalm 119:72 NLT). May your daily time reading God’s Word become your greatest treasure that deepens your walk with Him all your days.