Tips for Reading Through the Bible

There are many fine programs that exist that help people to read the entire Bible in one year. Many times, at the beginning of the year, this is a resolution for many. Some of the programs advocate for reading about 4 chapters a day. Others suggest that one reads a section from the old testament and a section from the new testament. But do we carry it through to the end? If we don’t, why is this the case?

Discipline is a key element in this exercise involving 66 books bearing varying lengths presented in 1189 chapters. Some have as few as 2 verses while some have over 150 verses. How then can we navigate through these and get to not just read through the Bible, but also discover the precious treasures in it?


  1. Decide that you really do want to read through the entire Bible.
  2. List down your reasons for doing so. Everyone has a different set of reasons.
  3. Come up with a plan that works for you and suits your lifestyle/schedule.
  4. Decide to be disciplined about it.
  5. Prepare a checklist and hang it up on a wall or a place accessible to you.
  6. Begin working on your daily plan, as you check the completed tasks.
  7. Keep at it until you’re done.
  8. Find ways that MAKE you read e.g. decide to read a printed Bible; or if reading on your phone, decide to read the Bible before checking your Facebook account or your Whatsapp messages, etc. Decide for yourself how important reading the Bible is over those other activities.

One of the other important things to consider is your make-up. How really do you like to do things?

  1. Do you like to do things and get done with them, so that you’d rather do them as soon and as fast as possible?
  2. Do you like to go through a long process, going step by step till you’re done over a long period of time?
  3. Do you like to work alone or with others?
  4. Do you prefer short-term projects or long-term ones?

My Story

Not to be prideful, but by God’s grace, I have read through the Bible a couple of times. I have tried the Old Testament-New Testament combination and it doesn’t really work for me. At least not for that goal. I have tried to read 4 chapters a day, and that has worked pretty well for the most part. Of course, I would skip on some days, and then catch up later.

But being someone who thrives on short-term projects, I have found that completing the task for me is actually the main goal, and I just want to get it done. So I have chosen to read through the Bible as fast as possible, starting with the shortest books – yes, those with 1 chapter, and working my way up to the bigger ones. When possible, I would even read several of those books in one sitting. When it comes to the bigger books, and sometimes the ‘not-so-interesting’ ones, I have specifically looked for friendlier versions and steered clear of the King James varieties. That way, I get to read the ‘who begat who’ sections as stories to be enjoyed. With a few books under my belt, it becomes easier to go through the longer ones knowing that I have more than enough time to go through them before the year ends.


Now, I know that many people will say that we’re not supposed to ‘just read’ the Bible, we’re supposed to STUDY it. And that’s okay. But for a first-timer, a concordance may be a strange thing. So I would encourage BASIC FAMILIARITY with the Bible, just get a feel of it in its entirety, then we’ll look at study tips later.

But in passing, when it comes to studying, I would suggest the following.

  1. Choose an area of your interest e.g. a topic, Bible character etc
  2. Look for relevant Bible verses, chapters and sections.
  3. Read through those as you meditate, take notes and if possible, check with other books such as commentaries and Bible dictionaries. These are available online as well.


Do not be discouraged from reading through the Bible because you think that you ought to do it in an in-depth way right from the first round. Just get it done once, then on the second round, you can have a deeper goal.

Let’s keep talking!

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