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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

The Best Bible Reading Plan for New Believers

Updated: Feb 6

I've been a pastor in Oklahoma City for over 20 years. Many times, I've tried to get a new Christian started on a Bible reading plan, only to see them get lost in Genesis or Leviticus. For a discple-making pastor, that's frustrating! Isn't there a better Bible reading plan that's more effective than just starting in Genesis? There's nothing that says new Christians have to start right off at the beginning, is there?


I found a Bible reading plan that gives brand new Christians an overview of the Bible, instead of getting them stuck and lost in the tough sections of the Bible. Let's talk about where I found it and why it's the best one I've ever seen.


Where I found this New Christian Bible Reading Plan

My journey toward finding the best Bible reading plan for new Christians that I've ever seen actually started at a funeral.

True story.

new believer bible reading plan checklist

I was preaching a funeral at a church in Oklahoma.


They had a little one page checklist, a "New Believer's Bible Reading Plan," on the table in their foyer. I grabbed it, and thought, "This is neat, I should do something like it." Then I shoved it in my laptop case, preached the funeral, and drove back to OKC.


I'll finish the story later, but here's...


Why it's the best Bible reading plan for new believers that I've found:


1. New believers need a Bible reading plan that does not get them stuck in the first few chapters of the Bible.


Don't get me wrong -- every single word of the Bible is inspired by God, but not every single word is equally valuable for a given moment of your life, right?


New believers need to be able to focus on:

  • reading the Scriptures on salvation

  • reading discipleship verses in the Bible

  • reading verses that encourage them to love Jesus

  • reading the highlights of the Bible


Reading the first 12 chapters of Genesis is valuable, but is also confusing for those who really ought to be focused on Jesus, their new leader, forgiver, and King!


This reading plan is better for new Christians because it starts in the New Testament, and goes back and picks up the early stories a few weeks later.


2. New believers need a Bible reading plan to focus on Jesus first.


When a person becomes a Christian, they usually do so because they believe in Jesus, are convinced of his claims, admire his teachings, and are amazed by his grace and love.


So, I think the first thing every new believer Bible reading plan ought to do is spend some time focusing on Jesus instead of other things!


This Bible reading plan especially designed for new Christians avoids that problem by starting with Jesus -- his birth, life, and his ministry in the Gospels... then his death and Resurrection.


As a disciple-making pastor, that's what I want my new believers focused on first!


3. New believers need a Bible reading plan to cover the highlights of the Bible.


I'm a sports fan, but I don't like to watch entire games. So instead, I choose to catch up with 10-12 minute highlights, to give me a sense of how the game played out.


The same is true with new believers' Bible reading plans!


Again, every word is inspired, but not all the words are equally useful in the phase of spiritual life that is sometimes called "babies in Christ." And even Jesus was clear that not all Scripture is as important as the "greatest commandment." He even rebuked the Pharisees for not emphasizing the "weightier matters of the Law." (see Matthew 23:23)


If you had to choose 25 passages in the New Testament that helped show the highlights of the Bible, what would you put in? You can check out the free Bible reading plan below, to see which ones I thought were most valuable.


4. New believers need a Bible reading plan that is clear.


A lot of new Christians (without a clear discipleship plan) just kind of start trying to read the Bible helter-skelter. You know:

  • "open and point"

  • "let's try this big one named Psalms"

  • "let's google best bible verses"

  • "let's go check Facebook for some Bible memes"

Sure, Jesus can keep those who are saved through a long time of this kind of floundering. Thank God!


But a clear discipleship strategy is a much more intentional way to disciple new believers.


Feedback & Reviews on my 50-Day New Christian Bible Reading Plan

After hundreds of pastors and new Christians have used my 50-Day plan, I asked for feedback on it. I received feedback from several pastors and disciples -- what they liked and disliked about it.


One of the most valuable pieces of input was that the 2nd half of the reading plan (days 26-50) where the readings went through the Old Testament, were a bit too long. Some of the readings were 5-7 chapters, and it felt overwhelming to the new Christians who these pastors were discipling.


How I've updated the plan

This was excellent feedback, and helped me to improve the reading plan even more. So I set about creating a second version of the plan.


Creating a 70-Day Bible Reading Checklist PDF

So I have created two versions of this plan. You can get both of them at the link below.  

  • a 50-Day Version with a free PDF Checklist

  • a 70-day version that spreads the Old Testament readings out a bit

In the updated version, no reading is longer than 4 chapters, and most are 2-3 chapters.



A free PDF of a Bible reading plan for new believers:


So what did I do about the new Christian Bible reading plan I found?


Well, I'm ashamed to say... literally months passed and I did *nothing*. Then, about 6 months later, I was cleaning out my laptop bag, and saw some paper squished into the very bottom and pulled it out.

bible reading plan for new Christians

I looked at it and had one of those "YOUR DAY HAS COME" moments.


I'm not sure what it was, but I decided that day to build something on that little one-page Bible reading checklist for brand new Christians.


Here's what I created:

new Christian Bible reading plan 1 page checklist

If you want to download it, you can do it free, right here:


If you click through to download it, I'll send both PDF versions to your email for free.


Want the editable version of this Bible reading plan?

If you're interested, you can get the Word Document as well as the free Bible reading plan PDF. When I email them to you, simply reply and ask for the Word document, and I'd be happy to share!



And now, the rest of the story...


How to give a new believer MORE than a Bible reading Plan:


A thought hit me at that moment, "What else do new Christians need to do well? What habits, besides just a Bible reading plan?" Then I thought, "What if this Bible reading plan wasn't all there was?"


A habit-building Journal to go with my Bible reading plan


New Christians need a clear Bible reading plan, sure. But that's not all that is needed for effective discipleship! We've got to create a clear discipleship pathway for people who are just getting started on their walk with Jesus. A pathway that:

  • Helps them know where to read

  • Helps them understand and engage with what they're reading

  • Helps them learn to pray

  • Develops the habit of meditation on the Scripture


Want to see a copy for free? Click the image and drop your email to download a copy for free!


I didn't stop there.


Building a Discipleship System on top of the Reading Plan


Here's what I thought:

  • What if our church had a DISCIPLESHIP SYSTEM that was crystal clear?

  • What if it was so simple that brand new Christians could follow successfully?

  • What if I never had to "wing it" again on discipling a new believer?

  • What if there was a daily teaching video?

It looks like this:


discipleship books with new believer Bible reading plans

If you've got 3 minutes to think about it, Here's what's included in NewStart Discipleship system:




Get New believers started right in their walk with Jesus

I would encourage you not to delay in getting your new believers engaged in a Bible reading plan and more.


Don't be me during that several months where I had that great idea... but it was buried and crushed under the weight of ministry!


Instead, be the me that took ACTION.


If you need to talk to someone about how to create better discipleship strategy at your church, I'd love to share a 30 minute conversation with you via Zoom.


Yours for better discipleship,


Darrell

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