Table of Contents
- Full Bible Reading Plans
- Supplemental Reading Plans
- Original Language Reading Plans
- The Lutheran Confessions
On this page there is obviously more information about my experience in reading the various plans I use or have used in the past. But here is the basics of what I currently (October 2020) use.
- Daily Discipline: your flesh needs routine. It will never willingly read God’s Word or the confession/preaching of that Word. Do something every day. This won’t earn you anything with God, but the Holy Spirit, through the Word, will crucify your flesh and raise up and strengthen your new self in Christ. Moreover, getting up earlier by the amount of extra time needed to accomplish your reading is what I’ve found to be helpful.
- The Right Amount: You don’t want to schedule too much at the start otherwise you’ll get discouraged and discipline will waiver. Form a foundation of what you want to do, work towards it, and add more if you want to, but always accomplish your core goal. Then no matter what, you’ve gained a victory for the day.
- Full Bible Plan: I use the Daily Lectionary (Reading Plan) from Lutheran Worship, which in one year gets me through the entire Bible once and the entire Psalter twice.
- Original Language Plan:
For Greek: I use one New Testament Plan (Cover to Cover, Staggered, or Chronological), which get me through the whole New Testament over a year. (1 chapter is read every weekday).
For Aramaic: I use the Aramaic Reading Plan, which gets me through the Aramaic portions of the OT twice a year. (1–3 verses are read every weekday.)
For Hebrew: I use the Old Testament Reading Hebrew Reading Plan, which gets me through the entire Hebrew Old Testament, except the Psalms, in about two years. (On average 1/2 – 1 chapter are read every day.)
- Lutheran Confessions: I currently use the plan from Treasury of Daily Prayer, though it may be slightly modified, which gets me through the entire Book Concord in a year. I use the Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions translation, except for the Small Catechism.
I know how it goes. You want to read the Bible, but you don’t know how, don’t know where to start. As a pastor, you might think it comes easy. But it’s not. Lots of pastors simply study the Scriptures they’re preaching on, however many or few services they have per week. Like all Christians living a busy life, I too have struggled to make Scripture reading a daily habit. This crucible of action and inaction, success and failure, drew me to set this all out in writing. I’ve either used (with some failure or success), plan to use, or have developed all the plans listed below. I’m not trying to say that my plan must work for you. I’m trying to describe what works for me, what hasn’t in the past. Your mileage may vary with all these plans, and my experience with a given reading plan may or may not be your experience with that same plan. You know your own personality, needs, and life circumstances.
So, what were some of my ground rules, some nonnegotiables, as I searched for a plan for my Scripture reading?
- The plan must read through all of Scripture in a year.
- The plan must be daily and not just weekday oriented.
- The plan must be structured yet flexible in order to account for the craziness of life.
- The plan must also account (be simple and easy enough) for daily reading of the Lutheran Confessions.
- Finally, my plan must include time for reading in the original languages, beyond just preparing for preaching, teaching, or leading Bible Study. Yes, we can trust translations, and we’re certainly blessed to have them in our mother tongues. (Pentecost fulfilled!—Acts 2:11) But more humanly speaking, I spent a lot of time and money to learn them, and it would be a waste of time and money to drop them. I’m free in Christ to have them only serve in some background capacity, and many pastors do. But my frugal (stingy-German?) nature just won’t let that time and especially money go to waste!
Now, discipline is key. It took me a few years to learn that I needed self-discipline and not just imposed discipline. As a complete aside, Jocko Willink’s Discipline Equals Freedom was instrumental in this understand. My comments below on discipline are shaped by this book.
Discipline is a tool for subduing our flesh, which “does submit to God’s Law, indeed it cannot.” (Romans 8) Paul also says, “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Cor 9) Self discipline is a tool to love our neighbors. Only when your life is ordered are you in a position to be free (especially with time) to help others. Self discipline is something that is foreign to most people today. Keeping the same morning/evening routine is only done if work demands make it necessary. Imposed disciple isn’t freedom. If you need 15 extra minutes in your day to read the Scriptures, don’t try and chisel it out in the middle of your day. Our daily schedules are sometimes very difficult to change. Need 15 minutes? Get up 15 minutes earlier (and probably the same time every day). You could settle down 15 minutes earlier, too, but the evening routine is more difficult to maintain.
Now, discipline does NOT equal faith. Your doing of discipline, even when it comes to reading the Bible regularly, doesn’t earn you favor with God. The Spirit does, however, work on you through the Word. The Spirit strengthens the trust in Christ that He gave you. The Spirit kills your flesh and enlivens your new man in Christ through God’s Word of Law and God’s Word of Gospel contained in Scripture. Luther’s comments on memorizing the parts of Catechism are also helpful when it comes to reading the Scriptures.
 But those who are unwilling to learn the catechism should be told that they deny Christ and are not Christians. They should not be admitted to the Sacrament, accepted as sponsors at Baptism, or practice any part of Christian freedom. They should simply be turned to the pope and his officials, indeed, to the devil himself [1 Corinthians 5:5].  Furthermore, their parents and employers should refuse them food and drink, and notify them that the prince will drive such rude people from the country.
 Although we cannot and should not force anyone to believe, we should insist and encourage the people. That way they will know what is right and wrong for those among whom they dwell and wish to make their living. For whoever desires to live in a town must know and observe the town laws, because he wishes to enjoy the protection offered by the laws whether he is a believer or at heart and in private a rascal or rogue.Preface to the Small Catechism, § 11–13
from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions
God’s Word is a Gift. Through it the Father, by the authorship of the Spirit, delivers Jesus His Son to your heart, soul, mind, and strength (1 Cor 15). God’s Word makes you new. Not just the Word and Spirit delivered in Holy Baptism (Tit 3), but the Word of Scripture, too, which also delivers the Holy Spirit (1 Tim 3; 2 Pet 1), who makes you holy. Through His Word God sanctifies you, your day, and your work. Jesus says, “Sanctify them in your truth; Your Word is Truth.” (Jn 17) Through His Word of Law God prunes you (Jn 15). Through His Word of Gospel He sows the Word of Life (Mt 13). His Word of Law and His Word of Gospel is delivered in Holy Scripture.
You could certainly google bible plans and find all sorts. But there’s no commentary on them. They’re just offered. This is like offering an address and different kinds of maps without any specific directions or guidance. Once, I did that on my own where I live in Kansas trying to get to a member’s house, and I ended up stuck on a mud road. My comments aren’t Law for you, but they will show you how I got to where I am. Maybe that means you’ll do what I do, maybe you’ll use one of the other plans laid out here, or maybe a google search will serve you better. No matter what, “let him who boasts in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1) “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.” (1 Thess 5) “Sanctify them in Your Truth; Your Word is Truth” (Jn 17)