4 Terrific Chronological Bible Plans

Bible Study / Personal Development //

Are you considering reading through the whole Bible in 2015? If so, Ihighly recommend reading chronologically. While I’ve written in the past about why this is my favorite way to read the Bible, I thought I’d share some actual plans I – and others I know – have used in the past (and the one I’ll be using forBible Read Thru 2015).

If you're thinking about reading through the Bible in 2015, these four options will get you pointed in the right direction.

Whether you want a reading plan for your phone or tablet, a plan you can print and use with a Bible you already own, or a physical Bible that’s already laid out for you in chronological order – this post will get you headed in the right direction.

Every year, I ask the people who are participating in the4-Month Bible Read Thru what questions they have before we begin. A question I have already heard several times this year (and I hear it every year) is…

What Bible – or reading plan – should I use?”

Do you want to understand and enjoy the Bible more than ever before? Join the 6th Annual Bible Read Thru. The fun begins January 1, 2015. All the info you need is right here.

First…The “What” and “Why” of a Chronological Bible

If you already know about what chronological Bibles are and why they’re helpful, go ahead and scroll down to the next heading for my first recommendation. Otherwise…

In general, the Bible IS written in chronological order (the order the events actually occurred).

Specifically however, there are many exceptions. You might be asking “Why would the put the events out of order?” A few reasons:

  1. Some books cover the same time period.The simplest examples are I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, and I & II Chronicles in the Old Testament or the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament. There is a lot of overlap with those books. Reading the different accounts of the same event is helpful to gain different perspectives.
  2. Some books cover a much wider timeframe than others. This analogy might help: Let’s say you and I went to high school together. You decide to write a book about our four years together. I also choose to write a book – but only about the soccer season of our junior year. Reading my book after completing 50-75% of yours would be the way to go.
  3. Some books are poems, prophecies, or letters written by people whose stories are told in other books. If you’re reading about the life of David in I & II Samuel, it is pretty cool to read a Psalm he wrote immediately after reading the event that inspired it. The same is true when reading one of Paul’s letters – to the people in Ephesus, Philippi, Galatia, etc. – while reading the account of his missionary journeys in the book of Acts.

Now…my five recommendations…

1. The Online Reading Plan from YouVersion

I am listing this one first simply because this is the plan I am going to use this year. (FYI – The second recommendation is the one I’ve used the last few years.)

There are lots of Bible apps and online plans out there.YouVersion is my favorite when it comes to just reading. You can hide all the notes, turn off sharing, and have nothing but the text on the screen.

If you are reading this on a computer right now, here’sthe direct link to the page on the YouVersion site where you’ll find the Chronological Reading Plan. Here’s a screenshot of what you’re looking for:

YouVersion Reading Plans

If you’re one your phone, install the free app (here’s the link), click “Plans,” scroll down to “Whole Bible,” and select “Chronological” near the bottom of the list.

WARNING: This app – and almost every Bible reading plan you’ll find – is laid out to read through the Bible in a year. If you’re participating in Bible Read Thru 2015(or anything shorter than 365 days), simply ignore the dates. Set an amount of time and read however many days you can in that amount of time.

2. The Printable Chronological Reading Plan

Click the picture to get your FREE copy!

I have put together a short eBook outlining every chapter in the Bible chronologically. You will find a deeper overview of this process in the opening pages.

For me, it’s helpful to simply print the two pages with the chapter breakdowns and tuck it in my Bible.

Feel free to print it, copy it, or share it.

Click here to get your free copy of my Chronological Reading Plan.

3. Chronological READING Bible (fewer notes) – Physical or Kindle

The Bibles recommended in this section, and the next one, are perfect if you who want a Bible that is already laid out for you chronologically.

They are all pretty much the same, except for where you find the extra notes and commentary. The Bibles in this section have a few notes within the Bible text, but a vast majority of the notes and commentary will be found at the beginning of the Bible and at the beginning of each book.

This makes these Bibles a good choice if you have a hard time resisting the urge to read every note, look at every map, or pour over every chart when you’re reading. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with this!)

Here are links to four major translations:

4. Chronological STUDY Bible (more notes) – Physical or Kindle

These Bible are the same as the ones above, except they have a whole heap of notes, charts, graphs, maps, and commentary embedded right into the pages alongside the Scripture.

One of the guys who has done the BRT with me the past several years bought the one for the New King James Version (link below) and he loved it! The only drawback he found was that he was spending more time than he intended because the notes were so interesting. (There are certainly worse problems to have then spending too much time in the Word!)

Since these Bibles also have a reference built in to help you find things in the “normal order,” many people will buy one of these Bibles and use it as their primary study Bible.

Here are links to three major translations:

There you have it. If you have never read through the Bible chronologically – or at all! – give it a try. It will give you a fantastic perspective and help you enter fully into God’s big, amazing, challenging, beautiful story.






About the Author

Keith Ferrin is an author, speaker, blogger, and storyteller who is passionate about helping people read, study, engage, and enjoy the Bible. He was a youth pastor for six years before writing and speaking fulltime. He is the author of three books, including Like Ice Cream: The Scoop on Helping the Next Generation Fall in Love with God’s Word. He and his wife, Kari, have three kids who are the source of both his big smile and gray hair. They live just outside of Seattle. Keith also holds to the belief that coffee and ice cream are proof of a benevolent God.