How to Read Half the Bible for Lent (and Still Take Days Off)

Two years ago for Lent, I decided to read a book of the Bible every day. It was more manageable than it sounds, mostly because you don’t realize how many short books there are until you start reading them. I more or less kept to my reading plan, which included Sundays off, as Catholics do in their Lent observations (the theory being that “each Sunday is like a mini-resurrection celebration”). I worked my way through two-thirds of the books of the Bible…. which left me with 23 very long unread books.

This year, I’m picking up where I left off. Coincidentally, these unread books fit well with the Year B lectionary theme, which is all about covenanting. It’s a good time to dwell in the Abrahamic promise; the covenants the Israelites developed in the wilderness; the failed covenant of kingship; and the somewhat obtuse covenant expounded in Hebrews.

I’m posting my reading plan here partly for accountability, partly as an invitation to join the fun. If you’re still looking for a Lent discipline, the more the merrier! There are no assigned Sunday readings, for a day of rest or catch up. I find Sundays are a practical day to skip, because as a pastor my Sundays are typically hectic and I don’t get the same reading time. If you find a different day is tough to juggle, adjust the schedule accordingly—but I recommend keeping a consistent day of rest throughout.

If you want to know why I arranged things the way I did, here’s a brief summary. If you’d rather just dive in, mark your Bible for Genesis 1… and I’ll see you there tomorrow. I’ll also try to Tweet a favorite/intriguing verse from each day’s reading.

The reading begins in Genesis because, as Lewis Carrol says, it is always a good idea to “begin at the beginning.” From there, it dives into the rest of the Pentateuch, minus Deuteronomy, which for some strange reason I lumped in with the shorter books on my last go around. 1 Samuel through 2 Kings follow in rapid succession, with a breather of poetry and prayer before heading through the Chronicles’ recap of the kingly history. The fall of Judah (again) is followed by Jeremiah’s fraught account of the same. Finally, after Nehemiah’s reconstruction, we get the New Testament holdouts, ending in Mark. Mark was included in the first go-around, but I wanted to sneak at least one Gospel into this set. Mark was the winner because (1) it’s the primary Gospel of year B and (2) it’s the shortest Gospel.

Happy Lent, friends!

Wed., Feb. 14: Genesis 1-15
Thurs., Feb. 15: Genesis 16-28
Fri., Feb. 16: Genesis 29-41
Sat., Feb. 17: Genesis 42-50

Mon., Feb. 19: Exodus 1-20
Tues., Feb. 20: Exodus 21-40
Wed., Feb. 21: Leviticus 1-16
Thurs., Feb. 22: Leviticus 17-27
Fri., Feb. 23: Numbers 1-17
Sat., Feb. 24: Numbers 18-36

Mon., Feb. 26: Joshua 1-12
Tues., Feb. 27: Joshua 13-24
Wed., Feb. 28: Judges
Thurs., Mar. 1: 1 Samuel 1-16
Fri., Mar. 2: 1 Samuel 16-31
Sat., Mar. 3: 2 Samuel 1-12

Mon., Mar. 5: 2 Samuel 13-24
Tues., Mar. 6: 1 Kings 1-22
Wed., Mar. 7: 2 Kings 1-12
Thurs., Mar. 8: 2 Kings 13-25
Fri., Mar. 9: Job 1-20
Sat., Mar. 10: Job 21-42

Mon., Mar. 12: Psalms 1-50
Tues., Mar. 13: Psalms 51-100
Wed., Mar. 14: Psalms 101-150
Thurs., Mar. 15: Proverbs
Fri., Mar. 16: Ecclesiastes
Sat., Mar. 17: Isaiah 1-39

Mon., Mar. 19: Isaiah 40-55
Tues., Mar. 20: Isaiah 56-66
Wed., Mar. 21: I Chronicles
Thurs., Mar. 22: 2 Chronicles
Fri., Mar. 23: Jeremiah 1-25
Sat., Mar. 24: Jeremiah 26-52

Mon., Mar. 26: Nehemiah
Tues., Mar. 27: 1 Corinthians
Wed., Mar. 28: 2 Corinthians
Thurs., Mar. 29: Hebrews
Fri., Mar. 30: Revelation
Sat., Mar. 31: Mark

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