Bible Reading Plans: One or Two-Years?

Many people would like to read the Bible but are not sure where to begin. A planned
schedule of one to three years is a good option, as it provides a daily itinerary through the
Holy Scriptures. It also provides motivation and discipline. In this article, I share a few
reasons why a two-year Bible reading plan is better than a one-year plan.
A two-year plan has three benefits over a one-year plan:

1) Easier Digestion.
Reading several chapters of Jeremiah then a chapter of Maccabees
then two chapters of a Gospel can be heavy chewing for one day. It’s like working
through a five-pound steak in a half hour. The words of Scripture are soul nourishing in
small bites but oppressive in big mouthfuls because, The earthly habitation presseth down
the mind that museth upon many things. (Wisdom 9:15)

2) The Mind Retains More. The mind retains only so much information in each day.
Useful knowledge that truly makes a difference in one’s life usually comes in small
portions. Perhaps you have heard a long sermon where the preacher went in several
directions instead of having a single point. Did you remember anything five minutes
later? Information overload is useless.

3) A Relaxed Pace Brings Delight. When there is pressure to get through 4-5 chapters of
Scripture in one day, the effect is often soul strain. It’s very easy to pass over significant
passages simply because one has to press on to the finish line. This is not beneficial.
When high school or college students cram reading material, for instance, the outcome is
often stress. Whereas, a relaxed pace and reduced portion make for a more meaningful
experience in learning. Moreover, enjoyment in learning makes the material sink deeper
into the soul.

Slow Reading Produces Soulfulness

The monks and nuns of former times found the key to soulfulness in the art of lectio
divina. They distilled the words of Scripture into their souls by slow pondering and
thereby gained all of its nutrients. Ever see deer lying in the field after spending awhile
grazing? I have, many times.

Like cows, deer have a four-part stomach. The food goes
first to the rumen for storage and fermentation; when the animals are relaxed, they
regurgitate the food and chew the cud. The word ruminate derives from this practice.
Similarly, for humans, the sacred words of scripture become more personal and
meaningful when ruminated. By letting the words ferment in the depths of our soul, one
brings forth the sweet wine of soulfulness, which is the first step to godliness.

A Two-Year Plan

With all of this in mind and yet with an understanding of how beneficial a reading plan
may be to keep motivated, here is a two-year reading plan which includes the
Deuterocanonical books. The Catholic Bible is longer than the Protestant Bible (73 books
vs. 66 books). Therefore, a two-plan is most ideal for Catholics. Spreading it over two
years allows for a more reasonable amount to read each day – a chapter or two of the Old
Testament and a small selection from the New Testament. If you wish to make use of this
plan, you may find it here.

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