There are many ways to approach reading and studying the Bible. A Bible reading plan will help us stay on track and keep us from random wandering. That is not to say there won't be times the Holy Spirit will lead us to "timely" readings that aren't planned or structured though.
Read through the Bible in a Year:
Many have chosen a Bible reading plan that helps them read through the Bible in a year. This is a great idea to do at least once in your lifetime. It will give you an overall view of the Bible and help you see the continuity and consistency of God's Word. There is a Bible reading plan for a year available online or many Bibles contain one. These have passages of Scripture for every day of the year so you will read through the entire Bible in one year. Of course, you can set your own pace. This plan willl take you straight through the Bible in a year from Genesis through Revelation.
They also offer a new “5x5x5 reading plan” that will take you through the New Testament in three months by reading the Bible for 5 minutes 5 days a week. They include 5 ways to dig deeper as you read also. Chronological Plan
Take 61 days and read through the key Bible stories in the chronological order in which they occurred. Bible Gateway.com provides this Chronological bible Reading Plan.
5 Bible Reading Plans in 50 Translations!
Talk about variety! Gospel.com has put together five different Bible reading plans in over 50 translations/languages! Choose to read straight through, chronologically, Old Testament/New Testament readings each day, etc. You can even choose to start on the 1st or 15th of any month! Don't wait for a new year... start now!
Read through a single book of the Bible:
Most Bibles contain an introduction to each book of the Bible giving information about the author, when it was written, etc. Use this background information to "set the stage" for your study. This will give you insight into understanding the setting in which the writings take place.
The Gospel of John is a wonderful place to begin this Bible reading plan. It gives such a personal account of the life and teachings of Jesus. As you read, stop after each chapter and pray. Record what God reveals to you. Note any common teachings; highlight repeated words & phrases.
Discipleship Journal offers a reading plan that will help you stay on course as you read one book of the Bible at a time. Inductive Bible Study gives a great plan and instruction for this type of study.
Cross-reference Scriptures on a certain topic:
Crosswalk.com offers many tools such as concordances, commentaries, Bible dictionaries and more which can be used to search any topic throughout the Bible. Tools such as Strong's Concordance are also available for purchase in book form to use for this type of Bible reading plan. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and leadership as to what topic to choose. It could be anything from marriage to angels!
Recently, a close friend of mine was searching where to begin studying the Bible and asked for my suggestion. She had just purchased Kay Arthur's book on how to pray. I suggested she do this type of study and find all the Scriptures that teach on prayer as well as actual prayers recorded in the Bible such as Daniel's, Jesus', Peter's, etc.
God wants to speak to us right where we are.
Study a Bible Character:
Recently a movie was in theaters called "A Night with the King." It is based on the life of Esther. You can now rent the movie on DVD. Study what the Bible says about Esther and her character.
It was revealed to her that she was positioned as queen "for such a time as this." Study how she discovered God's purpose and plan for her life and how she relied on God for the strength and wisdom to follow it. It's all found in the Old Testament book of Esther!
Study history also though and other Old Testament books will reveal what a crucial pivotal point this was for God's chosen people of Israel. Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you relate this to your own life and what God desire to do through and in you; it's exciting!
The lives of Bible characters are recorded for a reason - to teach us about our Heavenly Father and His wonderful plan. Bible characters such as Daniel, David, Ruth, Peter, Lydia, Mary and so many others followed God.
They weren't always perfect either; think about what we can learn from Jonah's mistake of running away from God! Don't be fooled that just because you learned about these when you were little, that you know all there is to know about them. God's promises are new every morning!
Sunday school lessons and Bible study lessons:
Sharing in the learning of God's Word with other believers can be an exciting time. It's always so amazing to hear what the Holy Spirit has revealed to others through Scripture. There are many times that this will spark an idea or interest of study for ourselves.
God created us to be His body and work together. Time studying the Bible together is important; let this be a vital part of your Bible reading plan!
Bible studies written by others:
Of course there are many wonderful Bible studies written to guide you in your Bible reading plan. We have found several free Bible study lessons here online.
There are also wonderful studies that you may purchase by inspired authors such as Beth Moore, Max Lucado, Charles Stanley, Joyce Meyer, and so many others.
Remember - "Variety is the spice to Bible study as well as life!"
With so many options and ways to study the Bible, we should never be able to use the excuse that it's boring!
Be creative, use a variety of Bible study methods in your Bible reading plan to enhance your knowledge and relationship with the Creator of the world!