Tuesday 28 January 2014

M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

Robert Murray M'Cheyne was a nineteenth century Scottish minister who ministered in Dundee at a time of revival in the church. There are several biographies of him but the one written in the year following his death, by his friend, Andrew Bonar, is well worth reading. It is simply called the Life of Robert Murray M'Cheyne.

M'Cheyne died at the young age of 29 but before he died produced a Bible reading plan which is still used today. 

The aim is to read the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice in a year. The beauty of this plan is that different parts of the Bible are read at the same time so that a book that is more difficult to understand is read alongside perhaps part of the Psalms or a Gospel. 

M'Cheyne himself divided the scheme into Family and Secret portions of two chapters each per day so a total of four chapters per day. These can be used as readings for Year 1 and readings for Year 2- reading the Family readings one year and the Secret readings the next. 

M'Cheyne died unmarried. I assume that those who attended his Family worship were his sister, with whom he lived, and servants. M'Cheyne wrote in his introduction that these portions should first be read alone and at family worship, questions asked about the chapter. Realistically, using the Family portions in a family with young children might be challenging. Maybe, this is an excuse to say that we have never used the Family portions in family worship. Please do comment if you have used them in this way. 

The readings do work well for personal devotions. I know that there are schemes which cover the Bible more quickly but this slightly slower scheme is an advantage for anyone who is liable to speed read. 

The dates provide useful accountability and the plan is easy to use.

The scheme is free and available at several places on line. It is also in the back of some Trinitarian Bible Society Bibles as a two year scheme. 

Highly recommended for anyone looking for a Bible reading plan.


  1. I have not used his plan. The last two years I have just started and Genesis and read through. I am doing that again this year but also spending some time reading various topics.

  2. I have tried to use a Bible reading plan a few times, but it always backfires. For me personally, and for our family devotions as well, it works best to just read the next passage day after day.

    But I know that for some people, a plan like this is wonderful. Actually, when I was a little girl (under 12) I did use the plan in the back of my little Bible for a while, and I used to check it off on my calendar, but I have no idea when I stopped that. Memories! :)

    1. I guess that what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. We don't use a plan for our family worship but just read the next chapter.

      Funny remembering childhood, I had some Bible reading notes called Quest.

    2. My husband uses this one and really likes it.

    3. Good to hear from you! Yes, I've used this scheme for a few years now and find it works really well.