7 Tips on How to Successfully Read the Bible in One Year

If you are like most believers, you resolved to read the bible in one year. I love this goal because it is SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

It’s less than two weeks since the New Year, yet you probably have fallen back on your resolution. You’re now worried that you might not be able to read the Bible in one year. What happened?

Life happened.

Something came up, and you postponed your reading for a while. Or you had resolved to read your Bible during lunch hour, but in the past few days, you forgot your Bible home. Don’t worry, you have more time to catch up on your reading.

You know you’re not going to receive eternal life when you read the Bible in one year. Neither is it for earning bragging rights, but an honest pursuit for the witness of Jesus Christ. Therefore, how can you successfully read the Bible in one year?

At the start of this year, I resolved to read the Bible in one year. This is probably my fourth attempt. But this year is different, I really want to do this. And I know that’s not enough.

7 Ways That Will Make You Successfully Read the Bible in One Year

Read the Bible in One Year

1. Start with why and who

Looking back at all my failed attempts at reading the Bible in a year, I realized that I did it with a wrong motivation. I wanted the bragging rights, I wanted to be known as the man who read the Bible in a year. That was wrong.

Your Bible reading should be about Christ, for Christ, and in Christ. Jesus Christ should not only be the center of your Bible reading, but he should be the goal of your endeavor. To help me remember this I have set my goal as:

In 2017, I will read the Bible in one year because I want to experience, explore and express the life of Christ better.

2. Ask God to open your mind

No one loves reading what they do not understand. I guess that is the reason you never find academic textbooks or Ph.D. theses on the New York Times Bestsellers List. You will not continue reading the Bible if you do not understand it, nut how can you better understand the Bible?

I have written extensively on that, but I will say this: the key to reading and understanding the Bible is Jesus Christ. You need to ask Jesus Christ to open your mind whenever you open the Bible to read it. When Christ opens your mind, you will see him through the pages of Scripture.

3. Use a good Read the Bible in One Year Plan

Africans hate planning, especially Christians. There’s a strong belief that planning undermines the will of God. I spoke to several people this year on the merits of reading the Bible in one year. Everyone hated the idea because they believed it suppresses the move of God.

If you don’t plan your Bible reading, you’re bound to fail. Above all, in the previous years, I used Bible reading plans that were too ambitious and I failed as a result. I recommend using a 5-day or a 6-day a week Bible plans because they give you the opportunity of catching up during the weekends.

If you’re looking for a Bible in the one-year reading plan, I recommend Read Scripture. But you can try Five Day Bible Reading Schedule from Bible Class Materials. It is recommended by Tim Challies and Melissa Kruger.

4. Make Bible reading a habit

Forming a new habit is taxing because it requires discipline, consistency, and character. There’s no magic number of days you need to take before a behavior becomes a habit as taught by Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, and Tony Robbins. A study by Phillippa Lally found ‘it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.’

In other words, reading the Bible in one year is a good way to make Bible reading a habit. But to start simple you may want to use Charles Duhigg’s Habit Loop. This is how:

  1. Reminder: identify something you do every day like leaving for work. Leaving for work acts as the trigger for the habit.
  2. Routine: leaving for work is your trigger, and going to work is your routine. You can start reading the Bible the moment you get into the public transport.
  3. Reward: the reward of reading the Bible is a deep experience, exploration, and expression of the life of Christ. Reward yourself by sharing what you learned with your friends and family each day or week.

5. Use a Bible Reading app

Your mobile phone has an advantage of convenience. You can harness this power by installing a good Bible app such as YouVersion and Read Scripture. If you’re in Africa, I know internet access is a challenge, so downloading the YouVersion will be better since it doesn’t need constant internet access.

You can make the most of your Bible app by setting daily notifications. I wake up normally at 4:30 am. And at 5 am, I receive a notification from read Scripture. At the end of the day, I receive a second notification. This helps me to stay on track.

6. Binge on the Scripture

I am now on Genesis 50, but according to my plan I am supposed to be on chapter 32. This is my secret – I binge on the Bible. When I get to work, as I did my marking, I listened to the Bible. This could go on for hours, but it’s not cheating. It’s listening to the Bible.

After listening from Genesis 25 to Genesis 45, I learned something about Rebekah. She was probably a cheat, God told her what would become of Jacob, yet she manipulated Isaac so that Jacob can secure the blessing. I only learned that after listening to 20 chapters in one go. If you’re looking for an audio Bible app, I recommend Bible.is because you can download the audio. And it’s dramatized.

7. Write down or share what you read

Throughout this year, I will be sharing the things I will be learning as I read the Bible in one year. I discovered I learn better when I share what I learn with others. I think because it gives me an opportunity to reflect on what I learned as I seek to grow together with other believers.

When Cleopas understood the Scriptures and saw Christ, he ran to tell others. It’s in the nature of Scripture to be shared. If you read, the Bible and understand it, you will be moved to share what you learned. And that is good. However, if you’re more introverted, you might want to keep a Bible reading journal.


One Comment

  1. I have a set time in where I read (right before bed) so I don’t neglect it – it helps me to wind down for the evening. I do think it is important to read the bible from cover to cover and to understand it. Thanks for sharing!



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