If you’re new to celebrating Lent (or have celebrated it for a long time!), try a Lenten Bible reading plan this year!
You can use this daily plan to reflect on the cross of Christ and prepare your heart for the joy of Easter Resurrection Sunday.
The season of Lent is the 40 days, minus Sundays, between Ash Wednesday and Resurrection Sunday. This equates to about 46 days total over that six-week time period.
While you can certainly read verses on each of the 46 days leading up to Easter, it’s a common practice to have 40 days of Scripture study for Lent, corresponding to the 40 days that Jesus was in the wilderness, being tempted.
What gospel should I read for Lent?
I received this question from a blog reader a couple of weeks ago and it sparked an idea to create a Scripture reading plan for the gospel of Mark to use during the Lenten season. More on that is below.
The book of Mark is attributed to John Mark, who wrote this letter to the church in Rome. It emphasizes the cross, Christian discipleship, the teachings of Jesus, and the importance of Jesus being not only man but also the Son of God.
The gospel of Mark is simple and easy to understand. It walks through much of Jesus’ earthly ministry as well as His death and resurrection. While being simple, it is also powerful and cultivates a deeper faith as we grow in our understanding of the life-changing, personal sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins.
This makes the book of Mark a fantastic gospel to use as a Bible reading plan for the season of Lent.
Lenten Readings 2023
I have created printable lenten readings for 2023 using the Gospel of Mark (but they are undated so you can use them any time).
I have also created a second reading plan of Lenten scriptures that are dated for 2023 (and an undated option) that uses a variety of passages from all of the gospels.
These chosen passages highlight Jesus’ triumphal entry, suffering, death and resurrection in a pattern that weaves the gospel accounts together. It is called Journey to the Cross.
Keep scrolling to find the free PDF Bible reading plans below!
Where is Lent found in the Bible?
While the season of Lent is not spoken of in the Bible, many of the practices of Lent are based on Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness.
The book of Mark emphasizes this part of Jesus’ life, and that Bible passage has influenced the Christian traditions of fasting and prayer during Lent.
The Gospel of Matthew also addresses this event in chapter four. Verses 2-4 say,
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
What Scripture should you read during Lent?
There are many Bible verses and Scripture passages that are suitable for Lent.
- The Gospel of Matthew: chronologically covers Jesus’ life, passion, death, and resurrection in detail. The book of Matthew was written primarily for a Jewish audience (Matthew was Jewish), so they understood the importance of all of the religious practices of the day. Matthew helped them understand how Jesus was the fulfillment of the promises they had read and heard for hundreds of years.
- Isaiah chapter 58 speaks of mourning, fasting, and ashes. This passage influences the practice of fasting as well as the imposition (or application) of ashes on Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent.
- Exodus 1:1-22 explain the distress and oppression the Israelites faced when they were in slavery in Egypt and how they needed a deliverer. Moses was what is called a “foreshadowing” of Christ – a person who demonstrated similar actions that would be completely fulfilled in the Messiah: deliverance, forgiveness, and rescue.
- Exodus 3:1-20 gives the account of Moses seeing the burning bush and having God speak to him. This is also when God reveals himself as “I AM”. This is important because this passage was the source of one of the charges leveled against Jesus at the crucifixion: that he could not be God because there was only one God (the God of Moses). They didn’t realize Jesus was the same God and that was one of the reasons they put him to death.
- John 8:51-59 is the passage where Jesus explains that He is God’s Son and is able to claim the same truth that God revealed to Moses in Exodus: I AM WHO I AM.
- The Gospel of Mark: As I mentioned earlier, Mark’s gospel covers Jesus’ earthly ministry as well as His suffering, death, and resurrection.
- Hebrews 9:26-28: These verses explain the truth that Jesus died once for all, and that He will come again to those who are waiting for Him. This is the hope we have as we approach Easter Sunday!
Daily Bible Reading Plan for Lent 2023 (Free Printable PDF)
You can download a free printable Journey to the Cross Lent Bible Reading plan for 2023 or a plan from the Gospel of Mark.
Both of these plans have 40 daily Scripture readings, starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, minus the Sundays in between.
There are TWO versions of the Journey to the Cross Plan: Undated and Dated
I use my ESV Single Column Journaling Bible to take notes in the margins after I do my daily reading.
Click HERE or the photo below for the undated plan.
Click HERE for the dated calendars (February 22-April 8, 2023). There is no reading on Sundays because Sundays are not counted in the 40 days of Lent.
Click the photo below for the Gospel of Mark readings for Lent.
Please share this post with a friend if you think they would find it helpful!
More Lent ideas for your family…
Click on the links below.
40 Day Lenten Printable Prayer Chain
10 Ways to Celebrate Lent with Your Family
7 Lenten Devotionals for the Whole Family
50+ Christ-Centered Easter Basket Ideas
10 Simple Toddler Lent Activities
50+ Lenten Activities for Families (Simple and Meaningful)
Want to Keep Building a Daily Bible Reading Habit?
Check out our Bible reading plans for women (Write Through the Word) and children (Kids’ Bible Reading Plans) and continue your daily devotions after Lent is over!