When we come to the Scriptures, we all have a reading plan. Sometimes our plans are highly structured—think “read the New Testament in 30 days”—while at other times, they tend to be a little more like Bible roulette.
That being said, I’m not a huge fan of most Bible reading plans. More correctly, I’m not a big fan of what they do to a lot of us. Although they are good for getting us reading passages we might otherwise avoid, they often turn what should be a delight into drudgery (or worse). We wind up reading a lot of books of the Bible just to read them and say they’re done, not for what we learn about our Lord through them.
And this is what we’e got to avoid—after all, reading the Bible is meant to help us better know Christ. So if we’re going to do that, what is the best reading plan? John Newton suggested one that is particularly simple: Start at the beginning, and keep reading all the way until the end. Then, do it again.
I know not a better rule of reading the Scripture, than to read it through from beginning to end; and, when we have finished it once, to begin it again. We shall meet with many passages which we can make little improvement of, but not so many in the second reading as in the first, and fewer in the third than in the second.1
Newton’s point was not to say read through the Bible for the sake of reading through the Bible. Instead, he encouraged this so that we might see Christ more clearly in every passage. As Tony Reinke says regarding this very point in Newton on the Christian Life:
Rereading the Bible over and over will help you make sense of Scripture. And reviewing Scripture over and over will help you see more of Christ. To see Christ on every page requires a familiarity with the entire Bible.
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus… even Zephaniah and Obadiah, too: Let’s make it our aim to read every page, familiarizing ourselves with every word. For all have something about them that points us to Jesus.