Visualizing One-Year Bible Reading Plans

How do you choose a Bible reading plan for the upcoming year? Aesthetically? In this post we graph a few different reading plans so you can see visually how they differ from one another.

Through the Bible

The Through the Bible reading plan is about as simple as they come: you read one passage each day from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, starting in Genesis and Matthew in January and ending in Malachi and Revelation in December. Here’s how it looks:

One Year Bible Reading Plan (M’Cheyne)

The One Year Bible Reading Plan, based on the M’Cheyne system, is more complex. You read through the New Testament twice (though you read the gospels and the rest of the New Testament at different rates), the Psalms twice, and the Old Testament once.

The One Year® Bible

The One Year Bible has some similarities with the previous plan. But it also looks quite different. You only read through the New and Old Testaments once, while you read the Psalms twice and Proverbs slowly throughout the whole year.

Daily Reading Bible

The Daily Reading Bible goes through the Old Testament once and the Psalms and New Testament twice.

Chronological Reading Plan

The Chronological Reading Plan from Back to the Bible lets you read the Bible in the order in which events occurred. So, for example, you read the account of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel on the same day you read the parallel account in 1 Chronicles. The next day, you read the psalms that David composed related to the events in the historical books.

Several trends become apparent when visualizing the reading plan this way:

  1. The antiquity of Job.
  2. Parallel passages in some of the Old Testament historical books.
  3. The wide historical distribution of the Psalms and the Minor Prophets.
  4. Parallel passages in the four gospels.

Book of Common Prayer Daily Office Lectionary

Finally, the Book of Common Prayer, a two-year plan, doesn’t try to take you through every verse in the Bible. It focuses on key passages, so its chart looks more organic. (The BCP is a two-year plan, and you can’t read every reading every year.)

Here are the two years side-by-side:

Here are the two years superimposed on each other. The Psalms appear purple (the second year color) because almost every Psalm reading is identical between the two years.