Of all the great plans to read through the Bible in a year, perhaps none is as enduring and well loved as the plan by the old Scottish minister Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813–1843). The year before M’Cheyne died (at the young age of 29), he created a plan to read through, in a year, the whole Old Testament and twice through the New Testament and Psalms. The M’Cheyne method is the preferred bible reading plan of many Christian leaders including DA Carson, Tim Keller, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Stott.
Nothing has been better for my relationship with God than reading the Bible on a daily basis, and yearly reading the entire Bible.
I prefer the M’Cheyne Method because you read from different sections of scripture every day. That keeps you from getting bogged down in more difficult books (I’m looking at you Major Prophets!). M’Cheyne intended that his plan would be split into Family and Secret, with two chapters being read together as a family, and two in private devotions.
I’ve used this plan for the last eight years with a small modification: the Modified M’Cheyne Method (MMM) I use gets you through the entire Bible one time in a year (instead of the New Testament and Psalms twice), reading only 3 chapters per day (instead of 4). You simply drop the fourth column and just read the first three passages. The MMM assumes that all the reading will be done in private devotions.
For the first 6 years of using M’Cheyne I read both volumes of DA Carson’s excellent For the Love of God Volumes I & II that offer a VERY short devo/commentary on the Bible reading from each day of the M’Cheyne plan. Volume 1 comments on one of the chapters from the first two columns, Volume 2 comments on one chapter from the last two columns. I’d highly recommend buying both volumes – it takes less than 5 minutes to read both.
Where to find MMM:
- I put together a pdf you can print and keep in your Bible with the 2023 MMM plan
- Carson’s For the Love of God tells you what today’s reading is from M’Cheyne. I just wake up, open up For the Love of God on my Kindle to today’s date; it tells me what to read, and then gives me a brief commentary on what I read. It’s almost always insightful, and always short. For the Love of God is also available for free online.
- M’Cheyne is also available on your Bible app on your phone.
- Or this is REALLY helpful: Customizable Bible Reading plans – just plug in which plan (M’Cheyne!), timeframe (3 mo or 1 or 2 yr or “by Dec 31” or whatever), and what days of the week you want to skip (tsk-tsk), and it will spit out a plan for you.
All of those (except my pdf) will offer the four readings (NT and Psalms twice). To read the Bible once, simply drop the fourth reading.
May God bless you as you daily read and apply His Word.