Why Bible Reading?
Bible reading should be part of a Christian’s daily routine. We eat food daily. We read the Bible daily.
But in the busyness of life, we often neglect this important spiritual discipline. I have been guilty of this recently, so I developed myself a Bible reading plan to help me jumpstart my Bible reading. I wanted to start reading the New Testament since it explains the new covenant and the person and works of our Lord Jesus Christ. I wanted a New Testament reading plan.
Many of the popular Bible reading plans are year long plans. It did not feel natural in April to start a year-long plan. I did not want a 12 month commitment. I wanted the reading plan to be about 2 months long.
I was prepared to devote 15-20 minutes each morning to read the Bible. I also wanted the option to spend 30-40 minutes daily and read the New Testament in 1 month.
Before showing you my 8 week New Testament reading plan, I want to explain the principles that guided my design process.
7 Principles to this NT Reading Plan
1. Alternate narratives with epistles.
I did not want to read the 4 gospels all at once. I wanted to spread the gospels out. That way I can spend a few days looking at the life and works of Jesus. And then, I have a few days to read the epistles of Paul and the other apostles.
2. Read in semi-chronological order.
I did not want to force myself to read the New Testament in strict chronological order, but I did want to read the earlier writings of the New Testament (James, Galatians) before the later writings (John’s Epistles and Revelation).
I wanted to experience the gradual change in themes of the epistles from AD 50 to AD 90. I wanted to see how Paul’s writings changed. I wanted to start with Christ’s first coming and end with Christ’s promised second coming.
3. Read Acts early to provide background to the epistles.
I wanted to read the Book of Acts early to get a background of many of the New Testament epistles. I also wanted to read Luke and Acts together since they were both penned by Luke, and they are very closely related.
4. Make epistle readings shorter than the narrative readings.
Most people read between 200-250 words a minute. So to get an average daily reading time of 15-20 minutes, ideally, the daily readings should be between 2500-3500 words in length.
I tend to read the epistles slower and more carefully, but I can read the narratives a bit faster. So for the 4 gospels and book of Acts, the scheduled reading can be a bit longer. The daily readings for the epistles and book of Revelation should be shorter.
Because chapters vary in length, I could not simply design the reading plan as reading 3 chapters a day or 4 chapters a day. Some daily readings are 5 chapters in length. Other days are only 3 chapters in length, since I considered the lengths of each chapter.
For the daily readings in the epistles, my target length was 2500 words. For the readings in the gospels and book of Acts, my target daily length was 3500 words. The maximum daily length is about 4000 words.
5. Do not divide books.
I did not want to read two books at the same time. I did not want to stop midway in one book and start another book.
I would rather read the entire book of Luke and Acts before starting an epistle. I felt that abruptly stopping at Acts 15 to jump into Galatians and James would hinder me from reading to get the big picture of Acts.
There is always opportunity to return to the New Testament for further study. The goal of this reading plan is to get the big picture of each NT book and to get the big picture of the entire New Testament.
6. Do not divide chapters.
For simplicity, I did not want to divide chapters. Even though chapter divisions were not a part of the original text, the chapter divisions seem natural to follow.
I can quickly glance at my reading plan and see on day one, I am scheduled to read Mark’s first four chapters. If I split up the chapters, I would need to look my reading plan constantly to identify at which verse I was supposed to stop.
7. Start with Mark’s gospel first.
I want to use this reading plan repeatedly for the rest of my life. Based on my past history, I anticipate returning to this reading plan whenever I have neglected Bible reading for any sustained period of time.
The Gospel of Mark, in my opinion, is one of the easiest books in the New Testament to start reading.
- It is packed with action.
- It highlights the most important events of the Life of Jesus Christ.
- It is simple to understand.
I think that once I have read the gospel of Mark, even when I am tired and unmotivated, I will have built 4 days of solid momentum that will increase my likelihood of completing this 8 week reading plan.
The 8 Week NT Reading Plan
Start the first 30 minutes of your day reading and meditating on the Bible. Treat this like you would with your morning coffee or your breakfast. Take 15-20 minutes to read the Bible passage. Take another 10-15 minutes to meditate and pray on what you have read.
Read your Bible every day. Start now. Join me in reading the New Testament in 8 weeks. You will not regret it.
So without further delay, here’s the actual reading plan to read the New Testament in 8 weeks. Enjoy!