You may be reading this between January 1st and 3rd. Even though 2021 has started, it is not too late to start a Bible reading plan!
First, you need to choose the Bible that you are going to use which includes the translation and the format — traditional book format or a device like a smart phone or tablet. No one needs a device to read the Bible, and many people may be happier without one. But for some of us devices provide convenience, compactness (a library of books in your pocket), and the one that means the most to me — I get to choose the font size.
Choose a translation with which you are comfortable. I prefer a formal equivalent translation (that’s more literal) like the ESV, KJV, NKJV, or NASB. But I must admit that the first time I read through the New Testament was in a functional equivalent (more thought for thought and in everyday language) like the NIV, CSB, NCV, or NET. You can always compare translations as you go, and over the years, you may choose different ones to read. As the quip goes, “What’s the best translation? The one you read.”
Second, find a plan. Reading through the Bible in a year is a great thing to do, and I’ve been doing it every year for decades, but that’s not where I started. Starting with that big of a goal may end up being frustrating. Maybe you start with something more manageable like attempting to read the New Testament (Matthew – Revelation) or the narrative portions of the Bible (Genesis-Esther and Matthew – Acts). Short plans on various Bible subjects exist as well. What is important is developing the habit of Bible reading. Once you have a consistent habit, you can add more reading or adjust your reading for the next year according to your needs.
YouVersion.com has a great app to begin with on a smartphone or tablet. The big plus is that it is free. It has lots of translations. It has lots of audio Bibles that can play along when you read. It allows highlighting, note taking, and it has lots of reading plans.
OliveTree.com has my favorite mobile app. You can start for free with the NIV, ESV, NKJV, and KJV. It also allows highlighting, note taking, and Bible reading plans. But for a fee, you can add additional study books like Bible dictionaries, atlases, study Bibles, commentaries, and audio Bibles. It also has a large selection of Bible reading guides. I consider YouVersion a great Bible reading app, and OliveTree is a great Bible study app because it offers more Bible study resources although at a fee. Both are excellent places to start.
Other serious Bible study apps to consider are Logos and Accordance. I use Olive Tree, Logos, and Accordance on a regular basis on my tablet, phone, and laptop.
A great number of guides can be found on the Internet by Googling. It’s not too late to start a Bible reading plan!
— Russ Holden