In this Old Testament (OT) Survey course and the in New Testament (NT) Survey, we will discuss how to study the Bible.
However, one of the most important things you can do to increase your knowledge of the Bible and to grow closer to God is to read it.
Here are four recommendations:
- Choose a translation which you understand. In this course, we will be using the Common English Bible (CEB). That version, with notes and cross references, is available at Bible Gateway or on the Bible Gateway App. If you want a different language or version, click on the menu which says Common English Bible. You can also find a very helpful introduction to each book of the Bible at Biblica.
- Read daily. “The truly happy person doesn’t follow wicked advice, doesn’t stand on the road of sinners, and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful. Instead of doing those things, these persons love the Lord’s Instruction, and they recite God’s Instruction day and night! They are like a tree replanted by streams of water, which bears fruit at just the right time and whose leaves don’t fade. Whatever they do succeeds” (Ps 1:1–3).
- Pray for understanding and for the ability to do what God commands. “Help me understand so I can guard your Instruction and keep it with all my heart. Lead me on the trail of your commandments because that is what I want. Turn my heart to your laws, not to greedy gain” (Ps 119:34–36).
- Use a plan. Several different reading plans are available online. The Bible Gateway App has one for beginners, one in chronological order, and one with both OT and NT passages each day. During this course, you will want to read through at least the entire Old Testament, so please use one of the plans recommended here.
Those of you with strong reading skills should aim to read through the Old Testament and New Testament in one year. Several plans are included, so please choose one which works for you and bookmark it.
I recommend trying the one with three chapters of reading each day. If that is too much for you, then move to the Medium Plan, then—if necessary—to the Beginners’ Plan.
The plans below are in roughly chronological order, which is how we will study them. After Genesis, we will learn about Job, so you will read that book next, rather than Exodus.
Although the oral traditions about Jesus were recorded into the gospels after most of the letters were written, we’ll read the gospels first to understand the life of Christ. The same is true for the book of Acts regarding the early church; we’ll read Acts after the gospels. We’ll read the letters and Revelation in the order in which they were written.
This schedule takes you through the entire Bible in one year. Each line covers one day’s reading of about three chapters.
For those of you who want to read more but don’t have the time to read the entire Bible during this course, this plan is for you. You will read two chapters per day.
This plan is for those of you who are new to reading the Bible or have limited time. Read one chapter per day.