About the Schedule
Here are some of the principles that guided the creation of the schedule:
- The Whole Bible in Four Years. The reading plan covers the entire Bible in four year, and some New Testament books twice.
- Context Preserved. Because context is crucial, we read through whole books from start to finish. This helps us keep track of the plot or the logic of each book.
- Reading Length. For the most part, readings will be 1-2 chapters long. They tend to be a little longer in the Old Testament and a little shorter in the New Testament. This is because much of the Old Testament is narrative, and it is easier to read a big chunk of a story.
- The Old Testament in Chronological Order. In order to follow the big storyline of the Bible, we will try to read the books in the order of the events they describe.
- The Gospels are spread out. Because we want to come back frequently to the Gospels—the four biographies of Jesus—we are reading each of them twice and have spread them across the four years.
- The New Testament by Author. For the most part, we try to keep books by the same author together. We also try to keep associated authors together. Mark and Peter worked together, so their books are together.
- Psalms and Proverbs. The only books that we will not read all at once are Psalms and Proverbs. Neither of these books are designed to be read all together. The Psalms is the songbook of the Bible. Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings which are hard to digest if read too fast.
The Difficult Passages
Paul says, “All Scripture is…useful” (2 Timothy 3:16). Every passage in the Bible has something to teach us. This is why this reading plan covers every chapter and verse in the Bible. We want to learn from the whole Bible, not just the easy parts.
As you work through COMMA in these parts, ask yourself, “Why would the author think it was important to include this?” The details of how to offer a sacrifice or build a tabernacle might seem irrelevant to you, but the fact that Moses (and God) chose to write them down it might tell you something significant about what God is like and what he values.
At the same, we want to be realistic. We know there are some difficult passages in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. And so, we have done a two things to help with these parts:
- Ripping Off the Band-Aid. Some passages are tedious. They are repetitive and detailed. These passages are important, but that does not mean you have to spend a week slogging through nine chapters of names. (I’m looking at you, 1 Chronicles!) When these stretches come up, we have made the readings longer in order to get through them faster. So, if a reading is looks long, don’t panic! We are doing that for your sake. Our recommendation for these parts is: skim, but don’t skip. Get the big picture of what is going on. This is where using the headings and notes in a study Bible will help a lot.
- A Spoonful of Sugar. In some particularly long and challenging sections of the Old Testament, we have chosen to weave in every-other-day readings from the New Testament. This way, even if one day, the passage you read is less accessible, the next day you will have one that is more accessible.