The Historical Backbone of Scripture


EDIT: Updated reading PDF for 2013.

I like reading through my Bible every year. And since it is the turn of the year, I’m sure I’m not alone and many of you are selecting your plan or have done so. But I wonder if others have just determined that they’ll struggle through the same old list and risk passing out in February when Leviticus hits. (Don’t dis my favorite OT book, but I understand the problem.) So if anyone is looking for a Bible reading plan for the new year that’s a little different, but still covers the Bible in a year I offer up my Historical Backbone of Scripture plan.

Last year I worked through a kludged replica of Prof. Grant Horner’s reading plan.  I found it a bit daunting for my own style of devotions and soon felt like I was laboring to keep up rather than enjoying God’s word. That is the wrong state of mind. So I set out to change that.

The Historical Backbone of Scripture

I scaled Prof. Horner’s plan back quite a bit and built one I simply call “The Historical Backbone of Scripture.”  The plan consists of six divisions; and for my purposes represents the 66 books of the protestant canon.

  1. I’ve taken the 11 Chronological books of the Old Testament in order, added Luke for a Gospel, Acts for the history of the church and finally Revelation (Ge, Ex, Nu, Jos, Jdg, 1 Sa, 2 Sa, 1 Ki, 2 Ki, Ezr, Ne, Lk, Ac, Re).
  2.  After this I added a category including all of the “additional information” books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy; which coincide in chronology with the History books at some point.  (Le, Dt, Ru, 1 Ch, 2 Ch, Es).
  3. Next I took the wisdom literature ( Job, Ps, Pr, Ec, So,a)  
  4. Next the Prophets: ( Is, Je, Eze, Da, Ho, Joe, Am, Ob, Jon, Mic, Na, Hab, Zep, Hag, Zec, Mal)
  5. Next the remaining gospels; (Mt, Mk, Jn)
  6. Last of all the NT letters: (Ro, 1 Co, 2 Co, Ga, Eph, Php, Col, 1 Th, 2 Th, 1 Ti, 2 Ti, Tt, Phm, Heb, Jas, 1 Pe, 2 Pe, 1 Jn, 2 Jn, 3 Jn, Jud)

I considered using Gary Burtner’s site to organize the NT letters in a rough chronology as well – but opted for Canonical order instead since (as I reasoned) it’s the first section providing the historical backbone – the rest is to keep me spread out in the word through the year.

A final note: the purpose of the Historical backbone is not to reflect the order books were written in; but rather to capture the essence of the drama of scripture’s unfolding history.  Which is why I call it the historical backbone of scripture instead of the chronological backbone.  🙂

The last step I took was an important one for me. I’ve affixed the reading to one day of the week throughout the year (52 readings) – I opted for Saturday, you may opt for any day you want.  

My personal reasoning is simple: I can read as much or as little as I want on any day of the week starting Sunday, but as long as I’m done with that particular block by Saturday I feel like I’m making appreciable progress through the scriptures.  I like the program so much that I’m actually ahead a full month and enjoying it!

This also frees me up to build a few other isolated reading plans, such as another one I’m doing that takes me through the book of Romans only a few times this coming year.

So what does it look like?

[  ] January 07, 2012 Gen 1-9, Lev 1–4, Job 1–5, Isa 1–5, Matt 1–2, Rom 1–2
[  ] January 14, 2012 Gen 10–18, Lev 5–6, Job 6–8, Isa 6–9, Matt 3–4, Rom 3–4
[  ] January 21, 2012 Gen 19–24, Lev 7–9, Job 9–12, Isa 10–14, Matt 5, Rom 5–6
[  ] January 28, 2012 Gen 25–30, Lev 10–11, Job 13–16, Isa 15–21, Matt 6:1–7:23, Rom 7–8
[  ] February 04, 2012 Gen 31–37,Lev 12–13, Job 17–20, Isa 22–27, Matt 7:24–9:38, Rom 9–10
[  ] February 11, 2012 Gen 38–43, Lev 14–15, Job 21–24, Isa 28–32, Matt 10, Rom 11
[  ] February 18, 2012 Gen 44–50, Lev 16–17, Job 25–29, Isa 33–37, Matt 11, Rom 12–14
[  ] February 25, 2012 Exod 1–10, Lev 18–20, Job 30–32, Isa 38–41, Matt 12, Rom 15–16
[  ] March 03, 2012 Exod 11–17, Lev 21–22, Job 33–35, Isa 42–45, Matt 13, 1 Cor 1–2
[  ] March 10, 2012 Exod 18–25, Lev 23–24, Job 36–38, Isa 46–50, Matt 14, 1 Cor 3–5
[  ] March 17, 2012 Exod 26–31, Lev 25–26, Job 39–42, Isa 51–57, Matt 15–16, 1 Cor 6–7
[  ] March 24, 2012 Exod 32–40, Lev 27, Ps 1–8, Isa 58–63, Matt 17–18, 1 Cor 8–9
[  ] March 31, 2012 Num 1–3, Deut 1–3, Ps 9–17, Isa 64–66, Matt 19, 1 Cor 10–11
[  ] April 07, 2012 Num 4–9, Deut 4, Ps 18–21, Jer 1–5, Matt 20–21, 1 Cor 12–13
[  ] April 14, 2012 Num 10–15, Deut 5–7, Ps 22–27, Jer 6–9, Matt 22, 1 Cor 14
[  ] April 21, 2012 Num 16–22, Deut 8–10, Ps 28–33, Jer 10–13, Matt 23, 1 Cor 15–16
[  ] April 28, 2012 Num 23–29, Deut 11–13, Ps 34–37, Jer 14–18, Matt 24, 2 Cor 1–2
[  ] May 05, 2012 Num 30–36, Deut 14–16, Ps 38–43, Jer 19–23, Matt 25, 2 Cor 3–5
[  ] May 12, 2012 Josh 1–9, Deut 17–19, Ps 44–49, Jer 24–26, Matt 26, 2 Cor 6–7
[  ] May 19, 2012 Josh 10–16, Deut 20–22, Ps 50–56, Jer 27–30, Matt 27:1–26, 2 Cor 8–10
[  ] May 26, 2012 Josh 17–24, Deut 23–26, Ps 57–63, Jer 31–33, Matt 27:27–28:20, 2 Cor 11–13

[  ]

June 02, 2012 Judg 1–7, Deut 27–28, Ps 64–68, Jer 34–38, Mark 1, Gal 1–2
[  ] June 09, 2012 Judg 8–15, Deut 29–30, Ps 69–73, Jer 39–43, Mark 2–3, Gal 3–4
[  ] June 16, 2012 Judg 16–21, Deut 31–32, Ps 74–77, Jer 44–48, Mark 4, Gal 5–6
[  ] June 23, 2012 1 Sam 1–12, Deut 33–34, Ps 78–80, Jer 49–50, Mark 5, Eph 1–2
[  ] June 30, 2012 1 Sam 13–18, Ruth 1–4, Ps 81–87, Jer 51–52, Mark 6, Eph 3–4
[  ] July 07, 2012 1 Sam 19–31, 1 Chron 1–2, Ps 88–91, Ezek 1–6, Mark 7, Eph 5–6
[  ] July 14, 2012 2 Sam 1–4, 1 Chron 3–4, Ps 92–99, Ezek 7–11, Mark 8, Phil 1–2
[  ] July 21, 2012 2 Sam 5–13, 1 Chron 5, Ps 100–104, Ezek 12–15, Mark 9, Phil 3–4
[  ] July 28, 2012 2 Sam 14–21, 1 Chron 6–7, Ps 105–106, Ezek 16–18, Mark 10–11, Col 1–2
[  ] August 04, 2012 2 Sam 22–24, 1 Chron 8, Ps 107–110, Ezek 19–21, Mark 12, Col 3–4
[  ] August 11, 2012 1 Kings 1–8, 1 Chron 9–11, Ps 111:1–119:8, Ezek 22–25, Mark 13:1–14:11, 1 Thess 1–5
[  ] August 18, 2012 1 Kings 9–14, 1 Chron 12–14, Ps 119:9–88, Ezek 26–29, Mark 14:12–72, 2 Thess 1–3
[  ] August 25, 2012 1 Kings 15–22, 1 Chron 15–16, Ps 119:89–168, Ezek 30–32, Mark 15, 1 Tim 1–3
[  ] September 01, 2012 2 Kings 1–6, 1 Chron 17–19, Ps 119:169–132:18, Ezek 33–36, Mark 16, 1 Tim 4–6
[  ] September 08, 2012 2 Kings 7–14, 1 Chron 20–23, Ps 133–139, Ezek 37–40, John 1–2, 2 Tim 1–2
[  ] September 15, 2012 2 Kings 15–25, 1 Chron 24–25, Ps 140–146, Ezek 41–43, John 3, 2 Tim 3–4
[  ] September 22, 2012 Ezra 1–5, 1 Chron 26–27, Ps 147–150, Ezek 44–48, John 4, Titus 1–3, Philem
[  ] September 29, 2012 Ezra 6–10, 1 Chron 28–29, Prov 1–5, Dan 1–2, John 5, Heb 1–3
[  ] October 06, 2012 Neh 1–10, 2 Chron 1–6, Prov 6–8, Dan 3–5, John 6, Heb 4–6
[  ] October 13, 2012 Neh 11–13, 2 Chron 7–8, Prov 9–12, Dan 6–9, John 7, Heb 7–8
[  ] October 20, 2012 Luke 1–7, 2 Chron 9–12, Prov 13–15, Dan 10–12, John 8, Heb 9–10
[  ] October 27, 2012 Luke 8–11, 2 Chron 13–16, Prov 16–18, Hos 1–9, John 9, Heb 11
[  ] November 03, 2012 Luke 12–17, 2 Chron 17–19, Prov 19–22, Hos 10–14, John 10, Heb 12–13
[  ] November 10, 2012 Luke 18–21, 2 Chron 20–23, Prov 23–25, Joel 1–3, Amos 1–4, John 11, James 1–2
[  ] November 17, 2012 Luke 22–24, 2 Chron 24–25, Prov 26–28, Amos 5–9, Obad, John 12, James 3–5
[  ] November 24, 2012 Acts 1–8, 2 Chron 26–29, Prov 29–31, Jonah 1–4, Micah 1–4, John 13, 1 Pet 1–2
[  ] December 01, 2012 Acts 9–14, 2 Chron 30–31, Eccles 1–5, Micah 5–7, Nah 1–3, John 14–15, 1 Pet 3–5
[  ] December 08, 2012 Acts 15–20, 2 Chron 32–34, Eccles 6–12, Hab 1–3, Zeph 1–3, John 16, 2 Pet 1–3
[  ] December 15, 2012 Acts 21–28, 2 Chron 35–36, Song 1–8, Haggai 1–2, Zech 1–4, John 17–18, 1 John 1–3
[  ] December 22, 2012 Rev 1–10, Esther 1–5, Lam 1–2, Zech 5–14, John 19, 1 John 4–5
[  ] December 29, 2012 Rev 11–22, Esther 6–10, Lam 3–5, Mal 1–4, John 20–21, 2 John, 3 John, Jude

Can I build my own?

Here you go.  All you need to do is copy and paste this string as one line into your reading plan in Logos Bible Software. Open a reading plan and paste this under “new reference range”

Ge, Ex, Nu, Jos, Jdg, 1 Sa, 2 Sa, 1 Ki, 2 Ki, Ezr, Ne, Lk, Ac, Re | Le, Dt, Ru, 1 Ch, 2 Ch, Es | Job, Ps, Pr, Ec, So, La | Is, Je, Eze, Da, Ho, Joe, Am, Ob, Jon, Mic, Na, Hab, Zep, Hag, Zec, Mal | Mt, Mk, Jn | Ro, 1 Co, 2 Co, Ga, Eph, Php, Col, 1 Th, 2 Th, 1 Ti, 2 Ti, Tt, Phm, Heb, Jas, 1 Pe, 2 Pe, 1 Jn, 2 Jn, 3 Jn, Jud