I have read through the Bible several times over the past few years and have found a couple of things helpful.
1. Use a Reading Guide to track your progress.
2. Choose a readable translation.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Bible reading is different from Bible study. My favorite translation for Bible study is the ESV. But when I’m trying to read large chunks of Bible at once I like to use other translations that are easier to read. Here are a few good ones: New International Version (NIV), New LIving Translation (NLT), Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB).
I use the ESV for preaching, but I’m going to be reading the NLT for my personal Bible reading time this year.
3. You won’t understand everything. It’s easy to breeze through Genesis and then get bogged down once you get to a bunch of laws about food and genealogies. That’s OK. Keep pressing on through the tough parts and don’t get discouraged.
Some Christians get spooked when they read the Old Testament because it seems to them like God is harsh or even unloving at times. When you get to these parts of the Bible and you wonder, “why did God tell his people to kill those other people?,” remember that God’s character is most fully displayed in Jesus Christ, who gave his life for his people rather than taking life from others. When you see something in the Old Testament that gives you pause, be reassured that God’s full plan of redemption is life giving and centers on Jesus.
4. Budget enough time. You can’t do this in 15 minutes a day. It’ll take about 30 minutes a day or more, but it will be worth it!
5. Don’t be legalistic about keeping pace. If you have to miss a few days, don’t worry about it. If you miss a week or two, don’t worry about it. Just use the checkboxes to track your progress and don’t quit just because you’re not keeping track with the dates.
Ok, I hope this helps. Happy Bible reading in 2012!