Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 Bible Reading Plan

The Sportsman's Bible HCSB - camo cover
The start of a new year approaching can only mean it is also time for a new Bible reading cycle to start for many people, myself included. I suppose it is good timing since I just finished up my latest reading of the New Testament. As I seem to do, I took a look around the Internet to see if I could find a different spin on Bible reading plans. That Discoverer nature coming through I suppose.

Probably the most promising one I found was from the Downtown Cornerstone Church in Seattle. It is not keyed to specific months, so you can really start it any time. I also liked the fact that it included "rest" periods each month with only 25 days scheduled. The other days could be used for catching up if needed or perhaps some additional study. This particular reading plan was a merger of the M'Cheyne Bible Reading and Navigator Bible Reading plans.

As appealing as the DCC plan is, and I may still give it a try at some point, I decided I wanted to put together my own plan. For the content of the plan, the main thing I changed was to only include the Book of Psalms one time. Otherwise, my plan gets the reader through the Old Testament one time and the New Testament twice.

I had really hoped to come up with some kind of structure where I could start reading each month on the first Monday, read for the same number of days each month, and then have a period at the end of each month for catching up or other study. I could not figure out how to make that work though in the time I had to prep the plan. As far as pacing I decided to leave Sunday as an open day each week - again, to be used for catching up, study, or even resting. I know I'll be reading the Bible on Sunday even without a scheduled reading in place, so slotting it as non-scheduled day is not a concern for me.

I tried to use a couple Bible reading plan scripts to try to generate the schedule, but could not find any that were flexible enough for the schedule I envisioned. I finally found one that got me close. Unfortunately, it had a tendency to cut off readings at odd points and I really wanted to keep the daily readings tied to chapters (despite their artificial nature). So I just eyeballed the schedule and did my best to follow what the script came up with while plugging in whole chapters. I suspect that in a few instances, the daily readings may be quite long.

The Sportsman's Bible HCSB - box
In the end, I had some extra time at the end of the year. The third track does go right up to within two days of 365 and the first and second track (the OT tracks) leave one week at the end of the year open. The fourth track, which was the NT only, finishes quite early. After completing the setup, my impression is that it is more of a 52-week plan than a 12-month plan. Like the DCC plan, you could really start it at any time.

If you want to see the actual plan, you can view the Google Sheets file I used to create the plan (excuse the tall rows - necessary to get page breaks right since Google doesn't provide a manual page break insert function in Sheets). I also made a PDF file. You may need to use that as I noticed the fonts varied by quite a bit between OS X and Windows computers.

My Bible choice for this upcoming cycle is the Holman Christian Standard Bible. I also decided to go ahead and order a physical copy instead of reading it in Logos or on my Kindle. Reading through the Bible on an electronic device has its advantages as I can quickly and easily make an electronic note, look up stuff quickly, etc. However, I really enjoyed holding the Bible this past fall as I read through the MLV of the NT. In keeping with my unique nature, I ordered the Sportsman's version which comes with a funky camo cover and includes some devotions and readings for those who enjoy the outdoors. Since my eyesight seems to be getting worse with age, I also opted for a large print version, although I'm not sure I would consider 10.5 point to be large.

Pages from the Sportsman's Bible HCSB in "large print"
for my poor eyes. Also some laminated bookmarks I made. Yes - extras!
Since I created my own plan and it is kind of complicated, I do not have it loaded in Logos. So I'll have to manually track my progress. With four different tracks to contend with as well, I made up some laminated bookmarks to use. I have one more item on the way (look for another blog post later this week) related to the upcoming cycle.

Next Monday, January 5th, is starting day. Whether you are also getting ready to start a new reading plan or will be continuing a plan you are currently pursuing, I hope you are spending some time reading your Bible every day. May you have a blessed new year!

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