A Modified Plan to Read MOST of the Bible in A Year

As my husband and I sat reflecting on the past year, we felt the urgency of being intentional in our discipleship of our kids in their last years with us before we launch them as adults. For my oldest, we only have a little over a year left! How did we get here?

As Classical educators, our desire is to liberate the minds of our kids so that they can be free thinkers. We came up with two simple tools we want to equip our kids with before they leave our home:

  1. How to study the Bible - we've been working through Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks...more on this later.
  2. Giving them a big picture understanding of the Bible. This is where reading through the Bible in a year comes into play.

When I first met my husband, we were in college and were a part of CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ). I'd always find him in the university center between classes reading his chronological Bible. Our connection to God's word is one of the things that most drew our hearts together that year. The challenge in making it through the entire Bible in a year is that often you start strong, but by March, when you're stuck in the middle of Leviticus or Deuteronomy, the luster has worn off.

While reading every chapter and every verse is a great thing to do, it doesn't necessarily help readers see the meta-narrative of scripture. One of my favorite books that helps draw out the themes of the grand story is The Big Picture by Tom Nelson. With this in mind, we wanted to take a gentler approach to reading through the Bible that allowed time for conversations, curiosity, and consistency.

Reading Telescopically

One of the concepts that sparked this idea came from an idea Howard Hendricks introduces in his book: Reading Telescopically. The idea is based on our dangerous tendency to zoom in and study a single verse outside of it's context. When you read telescopically, you zoom in to study, but you also zoom out to see how that sentence fits in the paragraph, in the chapter, in the book, and in the grander story of the Bible.

So my husband and I sat down and outlined the key stories and passages from the Bible that we can zoom in on and discuss with our kids, but we can also zoom out from and help our kids see the bigger picture of what was going on in that time period.

Read through MOST of the Bible in a Year

So here's the plan. We're going to focus on twenty points of interest each month for eleven months, leaving the twelfth month for Advent reading, and make it through the entire Bible. Here's the general outline:

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    We decided on selecting twenty points of focus for each month for a couple of reasons. First, I typically over plan my ambitious endeavors. This usually ends in falling behind and not finishing out the plan I made. With twenty tasks per month, this leaves time for following a rabbit trail of curiosity or having a sick day. Those happen.

    Additionally, if there's a story that we didn't select that you feel is essential to the grand scheme of things, or was particularly meaningful to your own spiritual growth, you have time to add it in to your family's devotionals.

    Read through the bible

    Grab your guide to the reading plan, and read through most of the Bible with us this year.

    Extra Resources for Background Info

    If you're just interested in reading the Bible through, go for it! My desire is to also equip my kids with a basic understanding of the context and overview of all 66 books in the Bible. Therefore, on the reading plan, I've included references to additional resources that you could read to draw out a greater understanding of the cultural or historical context of the event. Here's what I recommend:

    • Self-Guided Tour of the Bibleby Rose Publishing. This is a concise yet excellent resource that if you only get one additional resource to help you with your road trip through the Bible, it will be an invaluable resource.
    • The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook - edited by Daniel Hays and‎ Scott Duvall. If you have older kids that are ready for more than a simple Bible story, this book is a rich source for background information. My son purchased this one for himself, so he'll be reading these selections on his own, but I'll probably borrow it occasionally for my own education. I'm just as hungry for understanding as they are!
    • The Victor Journey Through the Bibleby Gilbert Beers. I included this resource because many homeschool curricula recommend it. It's been on my shelf for a number of years, and it's time to put this baby to use! It does a great job of drawing out the cultural context of many of the stories. I'm looking forward to learning from this one as well.

    All of these resources are really just optional extras, but they are not necessary to glean the goodness from God's word alone.

    Are You Ready to Embark on a Road Trip Through the Bible?

    I love a good road trip. Kids always tend to slow things down in unexpected ways. You'll need to leave time for pit stops and unexpected excursions. Just like a road trip, you can't expect kids to travel like adults do. So often I expect them to just know what I know. However, these things are not just intuitive, they need to be trained.

    So buckle up, get your map ready, and enjoy the journey through the Bible in a year! I'd love to hear from you if you decide to join us! Blessings on your year and pursuit of knowing God more!




    1. Elizabeth Hafferty on February 3, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      I’m not sure how quickly I can begin to participate (I’m interested in purchasing
      couple of the optional materials), but I am anxious to do this with my son.
      Thanks so much for being willing to share your materials, thoughts, and plans.
      I have been praying for something SUCH AS THIS(for my own study)!

      • Betsy on February 3, 2018 at 8:44 pm

        Awesome! It’s just a guide, so use it as you like at the speed you need. We’ve really been enjoying these reading times with our kids. It has been a huge blessing for us! Happy to share!

        • Catherine Victor on October 19, 2022 at 5:59 pm

          Thank you for sharing! The LORD’S favor and blessing be with you and your family.

    2. Amanda on March 28, 2019 at 8:38 am

      Do you have months 8-12 yet?

      • Betsy on March 30, 2019 at 4:20 pm

        Yes! I just updated the links. Thanks for asking!

        • Amanda on April 17, 2019 at 7:56 am

          Thank you SO much! This is such a wonderful resource!

    3. Lindsay Moore on July 25, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      sos apart from your resources is there a particular bible that you like to read your chapters from? I love all of your resources…thanks!

      • Betsy on July 27, 2019 at 11:22 am

        We have read from different versions. Most of the time we read from the ESV.

    4. Sarah Kolacki on December 28, 2019 at 7:53 pm

      I remember seeing this last year and we are planning to try to follow this guide this year. I’m wondering what Advent program you have that you like and what exactly do we need to add in December to have the entire
      Bible read by the end of 2020. Thanks!

      • Betsy on January 1, 2020 at 10:50 am

        I feel like I do different things each year for Advent. The plan will finish Revelation at the end of November…and remember that you’re not reading every chapter of every book, so it isn’t too overwhelming to make it that far. So the Advent reading isn’t filling in gaps, it’s just giving you space to rest, reflect, and rejoice in Christ’s birth with your family.

    5. Rosemary T. on February 16, 2022 at 9:54 am

      Thank you Betsy for this Road Map through the Bible. I’m used to the traditional year long studies but I’m not motivated so I prayed to God for help and I landed at your site. I have been craving more background, historical, and cultural information and big-picture, theme oriented Bible study with time for rest and tangents and I found your Bible study.- answered prayer. I look forward to purchasing the resources — I believe God led me to you and this is just what I needed😊 Thank you for making this study available to all! So kind and generous! Thank you Lord!

      • Betsy on March 13, 2022 at 5:40 pm

        You are so sweet! It’s so encouraging to see God working so faithfully. And yes, we needed the same- time for rest and tangents, etc. I hope you are enjoying it!

    6. […] of your kids will love the Road Map Through the Bible from Family Style Schooling. In this simple plan, they’ll read through most of the Bible in a year to give them a great […]

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