Stone Soup for Five: Plan your 2020 Bible reading--plans, ideas, printables

Plan your 2020 Bible reading--plans, ideas, printables

December, in all it's hustle and bustle is Christmas month and "practice month" every year for me.  If I'm setting goals for January, especially hard ones, I'm practicing them in December so I can start building the habit, but have grace if I miss a day or two.  I know if December me isn't working toward it, January me isn't going to last.  Future Kari is never as amazing as I hope she will be.

So what's your Bible reading plan for 2020?  Let's not wait till January 1st to figure it out.  Your future self doesn't need that kind of pressure.

Add in the Gospel Notebook
 In 2019 I read through the Bible chronologically for the first time.  It was a great way to do it, especially seeing how the Psalms fit into the history of the Old Testament.  As I was reading, I also added to my gospel notebook, which is another thing that I challenge you to do with whatever reading plan you decide on.  The gospel notebook goes along perfectly with any reading plan and is something you make yourself and fill in. You can find more about it here.

Practice in December?
I've rounded up a few plans for you to consider and listed them below.  But, how to do "practice" reading through a reading plan in December?  I'm glad you asked.  You can start by reading one to three chapters a day from any book of the Bible. (Most annual Bible reading plans average about three chapters a day, and the New Testament plans are one to two chapters a day.)   If you want, you can even pick a book or couple of books that have about the same number of chapters as the number of days left in December.  In fact, here's a handy chart from Blue Letter Bible.  Mix and match to get to the number of days you have left.

You can also set up your Gospel Notebook this month and start using it whenever you come across a verse that answers one of its questions.

Some 2020 reading plans to consider
Through the entire Bible in one year

  • My favorite way to read through the Bible is the one I did myself.  It did, however, take me three years to get through.  It was paced to read through three pages a day.  I am still reaping benefits from it four years after finishing.  If you haven't done this in your Bible yet, I highly encourage you to do it this year.  If you want to get through it in a year, rather than three, you can use this same method along with a reading plan below.  However you decide to do it, make 2020 the year you "ruin" your Bible.
  • Back to the Bible's Chronological reading plan.  This is the one I printed out and did this year.  When I miss a day, I don't go back and try to catch up, I just keep moving on.  I missed a week here and there on vacation or out of town, and a few days, but I still count it as a win that I (almost) completed it!
  • I also really like the Discipleship Journal reading plan because it takes you through the whole Bible, but each day you are reading a selection from the Old Testament and the New.  So you don't get bogged down by the time you hit Leviticus or Numbers.  This one also only has 25 days of reading each month, so it gives you built in time to catch up if you need it, or reflect and meditate on verses if you're on track.
  • This Book-at-a-time reading plan is similar to the one above, they are both by Discipleship Journal, but this version focuses on reading through a book at a time, instead of chapters from three to four books.  It too has you reading the Old Testament and the New each day (or the Old Testament alternated with the Psalms or Proverbs) and it too has weekly built in catch up or reflection days, on the seventh day of each week.
  • The Bible Project puts out my favorite videos on the Bible and they have an excellent reading plan that is mostly chronological and includes notes on when to watch one of their videos along with your reading for the day.  Their videos are an excellent overview of each book of the Bible and also include videos on hard to understand themes or topics.  This reading plan looks like a lot of fun but you will need access to the internet if you want to watch the free videos along with it.
Through the New Testament in one year

If you're not quite up for the whole Bible in a year, there are also several plans that will take you through the New Testament in a year, which is an excellent way to build your Bible reading habit.

  • The 5x5x5 reading plan promises to take you through the New Testament in five minutes a day, 5 days a week, with 5 ways to dig deeper.  This link hasn't been updated to line up the reflection days with the weekend, but it is an excellent way to build up your Bible reading habit.
  • This reading plan will get you through the New Testament and the Psalms and Proverbs in one year.  It has you reading a full chapter (or two) each day.  Stepping it up a bit from the above ones, but still in a do-able amount.
  • This reading plan is similar to the one above, but gives you one day off a week to catch up or listen to the Scriptures read at church, so you're reading two chapters a day.

Other reading plans

  • The Robert Murray M'Cheyene reading plan is set up to get you through the entire Bible in a year, with readings that you do out loud with your family and readings you do on your own (labeled secret) and encourage your children to also do on their own.  Written in the 1800's it's still great for today and would work well in a homeschool setting or if you are trying to make it a focus to get family devotions or family meal times regularly in your schedule.  There are directions on the link for how to use it to maximum benefit.
"’ll read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the Old Testament History and Prophetic books about 1 1⁄2 times.  From the outside it looks like this will be a massive amount of work, a huge commitment of time. But I have found that it is not. The beauty of the system is that you will be reading every day at a pretty good clip. The purpose is not to spend a great deal of time in pondering each word, but in reading the Bible so much and so often that Scripture begins to explain Scripture. I have found that it takes me between 30 and 40 minutes per day, either in one chunk in the morning or in two chunks, one in the morning and one in the evening."
A friend of mine who also used the system said that it also helped her know the arrangement of her Bible better! 

  • And for 2020, I'm pretty sure I'm going to slow way down and work through the I Will Meditate series.  These journals have you reading one chapter a day, and meditating on that chapter through journal prompts.  What I love about this series is that it not only helps you slow down and absorb what you've read, but also create a keepsake and personal commentary on the Bible.

I'd love to hear on what plan you settle on.  Also, if you think it would be helpful, I can set up a group on the community tab where we can post updates, choices, and how we're doing.  Let me know in the comments below what you think.


  1. Thanks for this post, Kari. I think I am going to give the chronological plan a try this coming year.

    My sis-in-law (and maybe my sister) and I are planning on working through the I Will Meditate series starting with volume 1. I started it almost two years ago and made it about 2 weeks. :-( We've started keeping ourselves accountable for prayer times by texting each other after we're done. We are in our third month now, so we will be adding this Bible Study to our accountability texts as well.

    Thanks Again!

  2. For the last two years I have read the One Year Chronological Bible NLT. I am still getting so much out of it that I will probably repeat it next year. I find the One Year books in general to be a good way to stay on track - they have various versions and plans.

  3. I have had the delight of reading through the entire Bible 4 times this year. It is actually the second year in a row I have done this. I have used the "Bible in 90 days" Bible and then just keep restarting as I finish. It is intense and a serious investment, but the greatest investment I have ever given myself spiritually! Each time I read through I notice completely different things that speak to me in my needs for the time. There is also a lot to be said for being able to get the whole picture of the Bible as it all falls together. I know it is not for everyone, but I am glad to have the opportunity to possibly encourage others.

    Thanks for your encouragement and ideas!

  4. As always, thank you very much for all you do. May God bless you and give you strength to continue on in 2020. Looking forward to future posts.

  5. I did join Keith Ferrin RBRT, but I rarely comment much. I am in the book of Psalm right now. I try to be rapid about my reading, but trying to be slow too. I plan to read through the rest of the bible after I am done with Psalm.

  6. I started reading the chronological bible plan this year. Bought the Expressions Chronological Bible - lots of room to journal which I love. I mostly write - just not a creative soul :-). Found a daily devotional series called Chronological Bible Teaching and I am loving their daily commentary. I've enjoyed your I Will Meditate books too - need to go back and picked up where I left off. Are you going to add any more books to this series?


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