Daily Bible Reading Plan for 2012: Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day

When I feel that a patient I visit (I am a home visiting medical doctor in Chicago) will not be offended, I may say to them as I leave their home, “Read your Bible and pray every day.” They usually respond, “I do. Are you a Christian? Praise the Lord.” A few days ago, Ben Westerhoff encouraged David Lovi and I via email to read the Bible together in 2012. Ben proposed and we agreed to follow the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan, along with D.A. Carson’s Daily Commentary, which covers the OT once and the NT and Psalms twice in 2012. You can print out a hard copy of the M’Cheyne chart of Daily Bible Readings. Since, we like to have many choices, you can also chose many other Bible Reading Plans.

Remember: “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word” (Isa 66:2).

Are any of you willing and interested to make the commitment to read the whole Bible in 2012? Hopefully, by God’s grace, my New Year’s resolution would not fail in Jan 2012!


  1. Why that reading plan in particular? What do you feel is the benefit of reading the entire bible + commentary within a year vs. intensive bible study of particular gospel and epistles? I typically do the intensive bible study of a few section but I am not convinced this is the best approach.

    • Thanks, Gerardo. A few days ago, I expressed the following in an email: Perhaps, this is “cheating,” but often I’d rather read books or commentaries that explain the Bible, rather than reading the Bible itself. I began to read Doughlas Moo’s commentary on Romans on and off, which is great. It explains so many things to me that I never thought of before when I just read the Bible.

      What do you guys think: Can reading commentaries that explain the Bible or listening to sermons that explain the Bible somewhat replace reading the Bible?

    • “Can reading commentaries that explain the Bible or listening to sermons that explain the Bible somewhat replace reading the Bible?” Somewhat replace, absolutely! Fully replace, no way. We certainly need to be rooted in the actual Scripture text. And just as certainly, we need to grow and learn from each other. The Bible is far more profound (and dangerous) than any one person or one church can claim to know. I am learning that we really do not need to fear reading anything. 

      (and it’s not cheating; it’s called learning from those who have gone before us.)

  2. Carson explains the reasoning behind the M’Cheyne plan here:

  3. Thanks for sharing this Ben. I read through the PDF and see an excellent point M’Cheyne was making: we should learn to connect the Bible passages together and learn to see the bigger themes of the Bible (if I’m understanding him correctly). I think the daily reading plan is a good way to get back to the text of the Bible. I’ve actually been eager to read the Bible in light of the grace of God. I’ll be following this plan in 2012!

    (Side note: Can you make the images smaller in your posts? It’s a bit overwhelming to see past the pictures, even though they are well-chosen!) 

  4. Lets do it! Bible 2012! I like to read along with my friend Max Mclean sometimes too…I actually met Max once on the street outside of the Moody Bible Institute on a freezing february day. He had just come from doing a radio stint and was walking past me on the sidewalk, I turned and in the deepest manliest voice I could muster I said “excuse me, are you Max Mclean?” He said “Why, I certainly am!” Then I told him that his ESV audio bible rendition was the greatest purchase I have ever made in my life. Then he said, “Thank you very much…please excuse me however, it is 15 degrees below zero and if we stand still any longer we might be frozen in this spot forever!” Then I said, “Max, no problem my man, stay gold!”….That was awesome

  5. David Bychkov

    I also want to read the Bible itself this year. For my first 5-6 years of Christian life I read the Bible once or twice each year. It was very-very cool and helpful experince. Though then I found that I began hardly learn from it, I found many things which I was not really undestood or convinced as I did before. And I had not much motivation to read the Bible, so my readings became poor. But yes, once I came to good authors, and also began my Seminary studies,  I again am able to feel the taste of the word of God. And really want to read through it. So I beleive sometimes it can be helpful to replace the reading Bible itself with the reading good commentaries or theological books. Though another thing I see this day is this. The word of God is very pure and accurate, once we can say this about just excellent doctrines with some approximation. And returning to the Bible itself is really helpful to overcome some doctrinal, spiritual, practical imballance. And yes, at the end we should live in the word of God. It is our bread, milk and meat

    • So here is an idea, for everyone that wants in, lets start a group email where every other week we share our reflections with eachother, it might be a good way to stay accountable

  6. To those of you who want to tailor your Bible reading on your own, I found 14 other Bible Reading Plans: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans-2012/
    I’ll edit and include this as an addendum to the original article.

  7. Having a Daily Bible Reading plan is good. I also hope that this year 2012, by God’s grace I could start reading my Bible from cover to cover. In terms of commentaries, I had no notions of which commentary tells the truth that doesn’t contradict to what the true gospel is telling us. If I am a rich bloke, I’ll do the Bible expedition myself and explore the biblical places around the globe and look into the ancient writings and learn to translate them to common tongue just to uncover the truth. Funny how it sounds. Anyway, why would I worry if Dr. Ben is always around to recommend good commentary books. Thanks for this, Doc.

  8. Just wanted to share something I am excited about….I think I said this in my previous post, but it seems more relevant here. We have been attending a local church, and they are launching a new plan for 2012 called, Project 4:4, based on Matthew 4:4.  Basically, they encouraged church members to purchase the NIV Daily Bible in Chronological order. The entire church will be included in this reading plan. The young kids, elementary, Middle and high schoolers will read the same passages each week, as adults. Each Sunday, the message delivered to each of these groups will be based on that reading. Furthermore, the pastor will record a kind of daily mini-sermon available on the web expounding on each daily reading. Of course, the goal is that if the whole family is reading the same passages each week, it would help us to engage in Biblical conversation and study as a family and a church community. 

    I have read the Bible through before, but as previous people have mentioned, sometimes it became difficult/dry and even not so interesting in places–my problem, not the Word :-)  To journey alone through the Bible makes it more challenging to maintain. I am an easily distracted person…three kids in three schools contributes to that as well! I have done the M’Cheyne reading also.  I found it challenging to remember what I had read in each of the 4 places each day. Commentaries, books about faith and some good historical fiction have drawn my interest in recent days. I am excited to get back to reading the Bible. Hoping and praying that this Project 4:4 will bear beautiful fruit in my whole family, as we are all excited to participate!!

    Happy and Blessed New Year to all!


  9. Hopefully, this doesn’t discourage anyone from reading their Bible in 2012. But after 11 days of this year, I decided that I’m likely going to be reading “only a quarter” of the Bible this year by only reading the passage that D. A. Carson comments on for that day. Why?

    I preach every Sun, and it takes quite a bit of time to prepare for the Bible study during the week and then for the sermon on Sun. Also, I’m hoping to start reading chunks of John Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion. I’ve read the Bible in a year many times over the years, and often I seem to be rushing through it just to get it over with. (Shame on me!) Also, the daily work in my own medical practice and the starting of an electronic medical charting system, and the hiring of new practitioners (a doctor and a physician assistant) requires quite a bit of time and thought and planning.

    But I hope that for the majority of you, that you will keep up your daily Bible reading, for Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33).

    • Ben, this isn’t discouraging; we’re not in a contest and we need to do what is healthy for our soul, mind, body–our whole being. I’m not approaching my Bible reading plan aggressively. The main problem I face with daily reading is that I start thinking to much and become distracted from my work,wanting to spend hours reading and perhaps then blogging about it. I’ve not chosen the monk lifestyle (nor do I sense any prompt to do so), but sometimes a monk’s life of constant prayer, reading and writing sounds inviting!

    • Thanks, Brian. Happy monk(ing)!

  10. I was able to read the bible in about six months. My plan: read 4 chapters a night, which translates to about 30 minutes a night; usually before bed. I wouldn’t say I was reading it just to get through it, but there sure was a whole lot I didn’t understand.

    • Presently, I’m trying to read “less” but to do more reading and research through studying commentaries, books and sermons, that would help me understand certain verses and passages from different scholars, angles, perspectives, which does seem to engage me more deeply to worship God and love the Word.