6 Steps to Reading Through the Bible in 3 Months

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

*For an updated and detailed case study on how to read through the Bible click here.

In 2021, I accomplished something I’ve started and stopped multiple times in my life. I read through the entire Bible. And I did it twice.

To be fair, I have read big chunks of the OT and the entire New Testament, but I never started and finished a read through the Bible plan. In the past I got bogged down in the Old Testament reading the study notes and commentaries. This time I committed to a different plan, with new ideas, and the results were fantastic.

I’ll share more about how the plan impacted me later in the article, but I want to explain how you can easily read through the entire Bible in about 3 months. It’s a great habit to start. Here’s how.

Read the Bible, Don’t Study It

As I mentioned, in the past I got buried in the study notes. That makes sense because I love to learn, but the plans are called “read through the Bible” plans, not study through the Bible.

So this time I removed the temptation. I used a Bible that didn’t have study notes, or commentaries, or pictures, just Scripture. My goal was to finally read through the Bible and I’ve had enough experience to know that study notes would only be a hindrance.

And I decided not to feel guilty about wanting to just read the Bible and not study it. As you begin, realize that the reading will get tough in sections of the OT. Many genealogies, minute details about the tabernacle and offerings, repetition, difficult ideas — just commit to getting through these parts. God put everything exactly where He wanted for whatever reason. Plow through these sections.

It gets better. I promise.

Keep It Simple

My go-to translation for years has been the English Standard Version (ESV) and I started with it this time. Then early on I opened the New Living Translation on the Bible app and realized how much easier and simpler it is to read.

Easy and simple mean two very important things — quicker and better comprehension. There are versions that I think aren’t true to God’s Word, but I’m pretty confident in the NLT.

Commit to it Daily

My other past failures in reading through the Bible were partly due to a lack of commitment. I would read a few days a week or when I could squeeze it into my schedule. And I might only read a chapter or two, or a few minutes each time.

This time, starting on February 15, 2021, I committed to 30 minutes a day, every day. And because it’s important to track and measure what’s important, I tracked my time reading. I work for a software company that has a subscription service for an employee time clock app, so I used it everyday to clock into Bible reading. I tracked how much time I read every day (at least 30 minutes) and how many pages. Measuring progress is motivating.

Here’s a screenshot of a text I sent to my family after I finished reading though the Bible the first time in less than 3 months. I had these stats because I tracked my progress with the time clock app.

You can probably find a free time tracking app to use or just keep track in a spreadsheet. You’ll find it very rewarding and it helps make the habit sticky as you will not want to miss a day.

Do it First Thing

To make it a priority, you really need to read first thing in the morning. Yes, that means getting up a little bit early, or maybe it just means you substitute reading for the other things you did for a while. Does scrolling through Facebook really bring value to your life? You can also read while you’re on the treadmill.

But if you don’t commit to a first things first mentality and you let Bible reading slip into the machine of your daily grind, it may get forgotten or you get too exhausted to care.

I’ll skip to a spoiler alert and tell you that I read every day from February 15 to December 7. And then very early in the dark sleeping hours of December 9, my subconscious mind informed me that I didn’t read the day before.

The thought woke me. It disturbed me.

I recalled my previous day. I had an earlier start than usual in which I had to leave the house and didn’t get up in time to read. A busy day followed, friends came over that evening, and I fell in bed exhausted. A daily, ten month habit totally bypassed me on December 8. My mistake was not allowing time that morning to get it done.

Get Up and Keep Going

I’ll admit that as I laid in bed on the morning of December 9 disappointed and discouraged, it crossed my mind to quit. “What does it matter now?” and “I can’t stick with anything” reverberated through my sleepy mind. But thank God, I fell back asleep and awoke with a better mindset. I took a shower and read the Bible.

My point is that you may miss a day. Life happens. But get back up and get back after it. A message I’ve tried to relay to my kids is that they haven’t lost a fight if they continue to get up and keep swinging. Getting knocked down is not the same as getting knocked out.

So if you miss a day reading your Bible, don’t let the Devil knock you out and discourage you from reading the next day. Open your Bible and punch the Devil in the mouth.

There you have it. Five strategies I used to read the Bible twice in 9 and half months. I started the second time on June 3 and finished on November 29. Yes, the second time took a little longer. My wife bought me a NLT chronological study Bible that I loved, so I did spend time in the study notes. But I remained consistent and read daily and still finished in 6 months.

I’m on my third tour now in less than a year with an apologetics study Bible and since I’ve gotten two complete readings under my belt, I’ll maintain my consistency, but take more time with the study notes and additional articles.

A Final Bonus Hack

I just learned this trick, but it’s worth passing along. I don’t suggest speed-reading through the Bible, yet you can probably pick up your pace without sacrificing comprehension. Read a real Bible — a book you can highlight and write in the dates you read, but also use the Bible app on your phone. Download the translation you are reading and hit play. Let the narrator read out loud as you follow along, but set the reading speed to 1.25, 1.5, or as fast as you can keep up, yet maintain a good understanding.

This trick helps in two ways. One, you train your brain to read faster and you accomplish your goals faster. Two, by hearing the Scripture read and seeing/reading it, you double dip into the learning styles at one time which solidifies your comprehension.

Reading the Bible is a Terrific Habit to Start

I encourage you to start reading through the Bible. It’s early into the new year and a great time to begin. I can’t think of a better thing I’ve ever done on purpose. The commitment to read, not study, 30 minutes a day, allowed me to digest large chunks of God’s story in short periods of time.

When we read a good novel, we typically read several times a week, if not every day, for good lengths of time. This continuity helps us gather valuable context and stay engaged with the story. The same is true with God’s Story. I finally connected the dots and saw the Truth of God’s faithfulness and relentless pursuit of fallen man.

I’m probably sticking with this plan for life. I hope you’ll give it a try.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
R. Dennis Brady

R. Dennis Brady

Husband, father, Toby’s friend, writer, fantasy football fanatic, beach lover, blessed child of God. Fantasyfootballbullrush.com