Relevant: Read about Christmas at Christmas.
Timely: Read about fifteen minutes.
Exciting: Start the year reading of the miracles of Christ.
Comparable: Read the same story out of each book together.
Unexpected: Switch our reading on Easter and Pentecost.
Chronological: Read the books after the chapters when written.
Perpetual: We can start on any day of the year.
Unique: Each year will be different but covers all the chapters.
Overview of the “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide Year
Life of Christ
Lives of Kings Saul, David and Solomon
Break at Easter week
Lives of Kings of Judah and Israel
Pentecost through Final Judgment
Judgment Comes to the Kings
Creation through Ruth
Calling of Disciples
How I Wrote the “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide
I have read the Bible daily since I was thirteen. I used several Bible Reading Guides over the years. I wanted a guide that was relevant. I wanted to read about the birth of Christ on Christmas and the resurrection on Easter.
I wanted to start the New Year reading something exciting. I didn’t want to get bogged down in the book of Numbers on some cold, wintry day. I also wanted to read a similar number of verses every day. I recorded the number of verses in each chapter of each book of the Bible. When finished, I totaled the number and divided it by 365. The average verses I needed to read is 87.
I started with the Christmas story. I assigned Luke 1 to Christmas Eve. It tells of the events leading up to the birth of Christ. I realized the story was recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke. I went back and forth between the chapters and assigned the reading chronologically and simultaneously. I finished out the year reading of the choosing of the twelve disciples.
Luckily, I have the NIV Study Bible; it had a chart of the Parables of Christ showing where the parable was in each gospel. I put the chapters of the books together chronologically and listed the number of verses behind each chapter. I assigned chapters to each day, keeping the average number of verses read as close to 87 as possible.
I moved the chapters about the crucifixion and resurrection to Easter week. We will read about the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday, the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, the Crucifixion on Friday and Saturday, and the Resurrection on Easter. The day after Easter we read of the Ascension.
I counted fifty days after Easter and assigned the chapters in Acts. On the day of Pentecost we will be reading about the Holy Spirit being received by the 120 in the upper room. It was only natural to follow the events of the early church. I used the notes at the beginning of each chapter in the New Testament to decide when each book was written. Therefore, you stop in various places in Acts and read the letters to the various churches when it was written chronologically.
Planning the readings in the New Testament was finished, but I had no idea how to plan the readings of the Old Testament. The answer came during a Sunday school class taught by Joe Goudy. He mentioned that the first day of the Jewish New Year was the day God created the heavens and the earth.
I was so excited! Since the day varies from year to year, I set October 1 as the date to start reading in Genesis. It makes sense to study the first books of the Bible in the fall when the days are cooler and we want to be inside near the fire.
1 Samuel tells the story of the first King of Israel. When we finish reading the gospels, Jesus has just ascended and promised to return. It seemed natural to go to 1 Samuel and read the stories of the earthly kings that God sent.
When I started assigning chapters in 1 Samuel, I noted the same stories recorded in 1 Chronicles. I matched the chapters up so that we would read the account out of both books at the same time.
As I was reading and assigning the chapters of King David I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to read the Psalms David wrote right after reading the events that led him to write them?” I slowly went through the Psalms looking for clues about when and why each one was written. Sometimes the clues were in the title. Other times I had to scour the notes at the bottom of the page of my NIV Study Bible.
I assigned Solomon’s and Moses’ next to the chapters that led to their being written. I assigned David’s the same way. I never realized David wrote Psalms to be sung when Solomon was crowned. There were Psalms written before the exile and after the exile. I assigned them to the corresponding books and chapters.
When I reached the time of the prophets I hit another snag. I wanted to read the prophecies near the chapter of the event it was referring to. Once again I scoured the footnotes. I tried piecing it together like a puzzle. I realized jumping back and forth and all over would be confusing. I went back to the notes at the front of each book and recorded the dates when that book was written. I assigned the books chronologically. If the chapter referred to a certain date, king or event I did assign it to coincide them.
Easter is on a different day every year. We are reading the history of kings. It is easy to pause and read the Easter chapters and start on the next king after Easter week. We pause again to read the New Testament on the day of Pentecost and continue with the history of the Kings.
As we finish the events of the Old Testament the temple is rebuilt and the wall around Jerusalem is rebuilt. We read the first chapters of 1 Chronicles. They list the names starting with Adam down to the names of the descendants who moved back to Jerusalem after the exile. We study those chapters in September, when children return to school. The list of names is read right before we read the account of Adam in Genesis.
The beauty of the ” Relevant” Bible reading guide is there is no beginning or end. It is perpetual, with yearly adjustments for Easter. You can start on any day of the year. The assigned reading can be read in about fifteen minutes. Why not start today!