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A Great Bible Reading Plan

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season! I would like to thank all of you for responding both in E-mails and to the “survey” I posted before Thanksgiving about how frequently new entries should appear on this website. With that feedback in mind, and in consideration of what would likely work out the best for me,  I would like to publish a new post once a week, every Wednesday, starting January 2nd. On that day, Lord willing, I would like to resume our study in Romans, followed by the second half of Exodus once it is finished. After that, I hope to alternate between the Old and New Testaments by continuing to examine the Bible book-by-book and verse-by-verse.

For those who expressed that they would like to see more frequent but shorter entries, I am experimenting with breaking up the material into smaller paragraphs as well as using more paragraph headings for those who wish to read the posts in more than one sitting. I myself struggle with eye-strain after reading for more than a few minutes on the computer and know that reading long articles on a screen can be draining!

Professor Horner’s System

Now, I would like to share a great Bible reading plan that some of you may already be familiar with. It is called “Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System” and it is by far the most extraordinary approach to daily Bible reading I have ever come across. A lot of Christians resolve to read their Bible more as each new year begins and I cannot think of any better reading plan for Christians, both old and new, to use in order to become more familiar with the Word of God.

There is a complete article describing Professor Horner’s approach which I have found copied on many different web pages all over the Internet. Rather than simply re-copying it here, I would like to include the link to the complete description (Click Here) and just briefly mention a few tweaks that I have implemented in my own use of the system over the past month or two since I discovered it.

Virtual Or Physical Bible?

I first came across the system through an Android app from the website Youversion.com and read the first couple of weeks on my mobile phone. This was a very convenient method to use since my cell phone is usually with me. Time spent in lines at the store or waiting at the doctor’s office can easily be turned into Bible devotional time. However, one draw back to using a virtual Bible is that it does not lead to the familiarity with Scripture location the way that is described in the article about the system. Being able to quickly find a particular verse in your own personal Bible can be extremely valuable for study and evangelism purposes and the only way to become skilled at doing so is to spend time in that same paper copy of the Bible.

It is also recommended that the same Bible translation be used consistently to avoid difficulty in the future. Comparing translations during in-depth Bible study can be valuable but, for devotional reading, the same version (and preferably, the same copy) should be used every time. This is definitely the best way to internalize Scripture.

Another benefit of using a paper and ink Bible is that you can continue the readings forever, combining different chapters each day in endless combinations. The pre-programmed version for mobile devices simply starts over with Chapter 1 of each book on each list when the 8 months are over. By using a paper Bible you will “never read the same 10 chapters together again” (as the article mentions).

My Ten Lists

Another tweak I made to the program is that I slightly altered which Bible books went into the 10 lists (something that, according to a lot of the websites I visited about the program, seems to be common). That is the beauty of this system: it can be customized depending on which Bible books you wish to focus on at the time. For me, I wanted a balance between Old and New Testaments (the original program has 6 OT and 4 NT). I also felt that there were other areas I wanted to concentrate on in the coming year or two rather than reading through Proverbs and Acts every single month. So the 10 lists I am using are as follows:

List 1: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (Pentateuch)

List 2: Joshua through Esther (Historical books)

List 3: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (Old Testament poetry)

List 4: Isaiah through Daniel (Major Prophets)

List 5: Hosea through Malachi (Minor prophets)

List 6: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (Gospels)

List 7: Acts, Romans

List 8: 1 Corinthians through Colossians

List 9: 1 Thessalonians through Hebrews

List 10: James through Revelation

Again, this is the cool thing about the reading system: you can change which books fall into which lists however you want; the possibilities are limitless. I agree with Professor Horner’s opinion that the Book of Acts should be re-read often, but I also feel the same way about Romans. Consequently, my customized “list 7” will have me reading through Acts and Romans about every month and a half. And while the books of Psalms and Proverbs are certainly worthy of having their own lists to themselves (as the original reading system has them laid out), I have chosen to focus more on Paul’s epistles by giving them two lists and the Old Testament minor prophets by separating them from the major prophets.

Other Benefits Of Using The System

Many traditional Bible reading plans, such as the “One-Year Bible Plan“, prescribe reading a chapter or two from the Old Testament, a chapter or two from the New, and usually one from Psalms and maybe a passage from Proverbs. But imagine reading a chapter from literally every portion of the Bible…every day! Some parts of Scripture definitely hold our attention better than others, and by using Professor Horner’s approach, we will spend time in those sections each and every time we read the Word. Knowing that we will be reading a chapter from the Gospels, or Paul’s epistles, or the Book of Acts every day can make the long genealogy chapters in First Chronicles a lot less tedious!

Keeping our interest sparked means that we will be much more consistent with making Bible reading a part of our daily routine. And while reading 10 whole Bible chapters a day might seem like a daunting commitment at first, it can literally be completed in about 30 minutes to an hour. What a worthwhile investment of our time!

It has amazed me time and time again how inter-related the books of the Bible really are. I have spent the last several months bouncing back and forth between Exodus and Romans in the posts I have written and it is astounding how even those two seemingly completely different books complement one another. By reading a chapter from 10 different books of the Bible each day, the inter-connectedness of all Scripture becomes more and more apparent every time you complete the day’s reading.

For anyone wishing to begin a new daily Bible-reading program as this new year begins, I highly recommend giving Professor Horner’s system (either the original or a modified version such as the one I am using) a try.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

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6 responses

  1. Good to see you back and ready to dive in again, Loren! Praying you and yours had a great Christmas and for your new year ahead.
    I’d never heard of Professor Horner’s system, but it sounds interesting. :) I go back and forth, from the Old to New Testament, and read the whole book each time, chapter by chapter.
    God bless you and looking forward to your next post!

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  2. Thanks a lot, Deb :)

    Hope you and yours had a great Christmas! I am eagerly awaiting all that the Lord has in store for this coming year. I pray that your new year is the most blessed yet.

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Loren

    School ate most of my ‘free’ time last year. This year I will be adding one more item to my plate. I am praying that God will help me to use the ‘time spent waiting int the doctor’s office” and such to dig into His words. I have YouVersion on my phone, but I mostly read this at nights before I go to bed. I confess I have been using the systematic chapter by chapter approach. Works fine when I am reading Psalms and the Pauline epistles, but rather difficult when I wade through Chronicles and the ‘begats’ :)

    Never heard of Professor Horner’s system either, but I need to do whatever it takes to spend more time with Him!

    Blessings to you and yours.

    All the best for 2013 and beyond!
    ann

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  4. What a brilliant idea! I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years and have never considered this approach to reading scripture. As I thought through this concept I used Excel to sum the chapters for each bookmark so that I could print and cut them out. When producing my bookmarks I made a minor change to reduce the number of bookmarks from 10 to 8. I’m leaving your List1 – List5 unchanged and I really like the logical groupings: Pentateuch, Historical, Poetry, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets.
    Here are my tweaks for the final groupings (Gospels, Paul, Apostles):
    List 6 – Gospels : Matthew – Acts (3x per year),
    List 7 – Paul : Romans – Philemon (4x per year),
    List 8 – Apostles : Hebrews – Revelation (6x per year).

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  5. It can be so hard to squeeze time in our busy schedules for devotional reading; I can definitely relate! I am praying, as you are, that the Lord will help me in the coming year to be a good steward of the time He has given.

    The chapter-by-chapter approach works great, too. I have always used that kind of method in the past. But the Horner system is a great remedy for getting through the “begats” and genealogies without getting bogged down and discouraged.

    One thing that I didn’t really cover in this post was the fact that I think it is very important not to become too rigid while using any daily Bible reading system. Let’s face it, we are going to miss days; things come up that cannot be avoided and sometimes life gets in the way of even the strongest commitments. This doesn’t mean we’re lazy, undisciplined, or that we don’t love the Lord enough. God understands. This is another thing that I like about using this system with my physical, paper and ink Bible and the bookmarks I use to hold my place in each list. If I miss a day, fine. I can pick up the next day where I left off. If I only complete some of the chapters, no problem. If I read through the ten and feel like reading more, I can do that too. I remember falling behind a lot one year when I was using a “One-Year Bible”. I always felt like I was playing catch-up as I tried to beat the December 31st “deadline.”

    I believe it is extremely important that we approach our devotional Bible reading time without stress, pressure, and time constraints. When we feel like we’re behind in our reading schedule, our focus is on just getting through the text rather than absorbing its message.

    God bless you and yours, Ann, in this New Year and thank you so much for sharing your reflections on this :)

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  6. Excellent list groupings! Your lists are actually combined together in a more balanced and logical fashion than mine. I like the way you condensed the reading into 8 chapters rather than 10, I think that’s a very good modification. Using Excel to print and cut the bookmarks is a great touch, too (I’m using handwritten notecards right now which can be a little bulky!). I also very much appreciate your including the times per year each list will be completed in your version; I probably should have done the same in my lists but neglected to take the time to calculate it.

    You’ve got me seriously considering switching over to your lists, I really like them a lot. Thank you for taking the time to share your insights on this. May our Lord richly bless you in your study of His Word :)

    Loren

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