Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan

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Need a real challenge for your Bible reading?  How about 10 chapters a day from 10 different sections of Scripture?  Sound crazy? Not to those, like me, who have had their spiritual walk transformed by the increased intake of God’s Word made possible by following Professor Horner’s system.

After less than a month on the plan, my wife said that I was a different man! This should not be surprising, after all, the first half of Psalm 1 says:

1:1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

The devotional life of many Christians today consists of reading a few Bible verses, followed by a devotional reading related to the truth of what they just read. Some read through the Bible in a year (which requires reading 3-4 chapters per day). But Professor Horner’s plan is the best resource I have ever come across for literally saturating yourself in God’s Word. The beauty of this plan is that it is doable and flexible. In fact, I have slightly adapted the plan in order to take in Romans monthly.

In the past year, I have introduced this plan to many Christians and have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback regarding the plan. I have a couple of church members who have been so impacted by the plan that they have doubled the plan (20 chapters daily). I would love to hear your thoughts on the system. Are you using it? Are you on a different plan? What do you think about this plan?

Grant Horner is a professor at the Master’s College in Southern Califonia. Click HERE to read an interview with him to learn a little bit about the man behind the plan.  Regarding his plan, check out what the good Doc himself has to say about it:

I have more wisdom than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation.” Psalm 119:99, right-hand page, left-hand column, dead center of page. Many people ask me how it is that I know precisely where virtually *everything* is in my Bible. The answer: this system. I began in 1983 (adapting and tweaking the basic design of another system) as a brand-new convert; within 3 years I knew the text of my Bible very well. Twenty-five years later it is essentially imprinted on my mind and heart. I have been all over the country and have taught this system in many churches. I have done open-microphone Q&As on Bible and theology — with 1200 people in the audience — as well as cultural-analysis live radio shows where you have to think fast — and it has been the “imprinting” value of this system that has helped me provide quick, clear, heavily contextualized scriptural answers (I Peter 3:15; right-hand page, right hand column, 1/3rd way down). I have no Seminary degrees, no Bible-college or Christian school education — hey, I never even went to Sunday School (the first church I went to, just months after my conversion, threw me into Sunday School– to teach!!! *BIG* mistake, by the way…) All I DID have was a chair, a lamp … and my Bible.

This is *not* merely a speed-reading program, nor is it a ‘study’ system. Read the 1-page description provided here to see how it works. (I’d also recommend you look at my first few posts in the Discussion Board ‘Starting Up’ below as well, for more thoughts.) DO NOT be intimidated! I was a college drop-out, ex-heavy-druggie when I started it. If I can do it — so can you!

TRY IT FOR A MONTH. Then tell me what is happening!

Join if you wish to try it; stay if you keep it up for one month! And make posts about your struggles, the effects it is having on your biblical understanding and discernment, and to encourage others.

HERE IT IS:

* PROFESSOR GRANT HORNER’S ‘TEN LISTS BIBLE READING SYSTEM’*

Each day you will read one chapter from each list, in order. THAT’S RIGHT — *TEN CHAPTERS PER DAY*!!! Use ten bookmarks or sticky notes with the individual lists on them to keep track of your locations. (LOOK BELOW at the Wall for several posts on Feb 1 2009 and you will find links to handy bookmarks made by users.) On day one, you read Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, and so forth. On day 2, read Matthew 2, Genesis 2, etc. On day 29, you will have just finished Matthew, so go to Mark 1 on the Gospel list; you’ll also be almost to the end of 2nd Corinthians and Proverbs, you’ll be reading Psalm 29 and Genesis 29, and so forth. When you reach the last chapter of the last book in a list – start over again. Rotate all the way through all the Scriptures constantly. Since the lists vary in length, the readings begin interweaving in constantly changing ways. You will NEVER read the same set of ten chapters together again! Every year you’ll read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the OT wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the OT History and prophetic books about 1 ½ times. Since the interweaving is constantly changing, you will experience the Bible commenting *on itself* in constantly changing ways — the Reformer’s principle of ‘scriptura interpretans scripturam’ — ‘scripture interpreting scripture’ IN ACTION!

After you’ve read any particular book once or twice, your speed in that book usually *doubles or triples* because you’re familiar with it and can move quickly and confidently — because you are no longer merely decoding the text but thinking it through in the context of all of the scripture! Acts 20:27. Even an ‘average’ reader, if focusing on moving through the text, rather than trying to figure everything out, can usually do this in about an hour a day – 5-6 minutes per chapter. If it is taking you longer, then you are ‘reading wrong’ – stay relaxed, focus, and just keep it moving. Moderate but consistent speed is the key. This is “gross anatomy” — looking at the whole body; you’re *not* closely studying organs or systems or tissues or cells — it is *not* microbiology. BUT
— microbiology and the study or organs makes more sense when you know what the *whole* structure of the human body is like, and how all the parts, large and small, relate in perfect interdependence. After just a few days the reading gets *much* easier; in a month it will be a habit, and in six months you’ll wonder how you ever survived before on such a slim diet of the WORD. And then — you’ll tell others to start the system!

I began in 1983 as a new Christian and have now read (most of) the Bible hundreds and hundreds of times. You also need to get ONE Bible, keep it, and do all your reading in it, so you learn where everything is. I’ve had the same Bible since 1983 and I know it intimately. If you keep switching Bibles, you ‘lose’ this intimacy with the text. Find a translation and format you like and stick with it. THIS IS CRUCIAL.

When I was flown out by Masters for a 3-day interview/theological-grilling process, the culmination was of course being ushered in to Dr. John MacArthur’s private study, which is where he asked me this one question: “Can I see your Bible?” I thought he would be horrified, because it looked like it had been through a typhoon — it looked unloved and neglected. Something from a dumpster. It was unbound, with stringy mess and paper debris hanging out. I was so embarrassed. I thought he would chastise me and recommend I get a new study Bible if I was serious about the Word. (No doubt which study Bible he would recommend!!!) He flipped through it and handed it to his wife and said “If your Bible is falling apart, you probably aren’t.” I was basically hired on the spot.

Your Bible is the only thing on Earth that, as you wear it out, will actually work better and better.

THE TEN LISTS:
List 1 (89 days)
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

List 2 (187 days)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

List 3 (78 days)
Romans, I&II Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, Hebrews

List 4 (65 days)
I&II Thess, I&II Tim, Titus, Philemon, James, I&II Peter, I,II&III John, Jude, Revelation

List 5 (62 days)
Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

List 6 (150 days)
Psalms

List 7 (31 days)
Proverbs

List 8 (249 days)
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings, I&II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

List 9 (250 days)
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah,
Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

List 10 (28 days)
Acts

If you are wondering why you should read Acts (or Proverbs) all the way through *every single month* then
— you’ve just shown that you NEED to read them that much!

*Put these instructions in your Bible and review them from time to time*

SECRETS TO SUCCESS WITH THIS SYTEM:

• Read one chapter from each list each day, in one sitting or two. At the end of a book, go to the next book. At the end of the list – start it again. Do it in the order given above.
• Read quickly (without “speedreading”) in order to get the overall sense. Read as fast as you comfortably can with moderate retention. You’re not studying deeply or memorizing; shoot for 5-6 minutes per chapter. At the end of a chapter, move immediately to the next list.
• GET THROUGH THE TEXT – no dawdling, back-reading, looking up cross-references!
• There are different ‘kinds’ of reading: super-quick skimming, careful moderate-paced, studying the text, deep meditation. You should be between the first and second kind.
• Most people decrease their time spent and increase their retention after just two-three weeks! I now read and retain the entire text of Matthew in 35 minutes, Romans in 20, Genesis in *one hour*!
• Don’t look up anything you ‘don’t get’ – real understanding will come through contextualizing by reading a LOT of scripture over time. Get through the text!
• If you miss a day or two – ok, get over it, then keep going. Don’t cover yourself in sackcloth and ashes and quit! Move the bookmarks along, to find your place(s) quickly next day.
Heb 4:12&5:11-14; Eph 5:26&6:17; Col 3:16; 2 Tim 3:16; Ps 119; Ezra 8; Prov 3: 1-2, 10:14; Dan 1

*PLEASE* INVITE ALL THE CHRISTIANS YOU KNOW TO LOOK AT THIS GROUP — AS WELL AS ANYONE ELSE WHO’S THINKING ABOUT READING THE BIBLE, EVEN FOR THE FIRST TIME!

The goal of this sytem is simple, and twofold: To know scripture, and to love and obey God more!

SOLI DEO GLORIA

You can download a full version (with printable bookmarks) HERE.

You can join the Facebook group HERE.

Check out my interview with Professor Horner HERE.

Here are some interviews I have done with “satisfied customers”:

Tom S. and Rick D. pt. 1, pt. 2

Bonnie T.

This Post Last Updated on April 22, 2010

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58 thoughts on “Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan”

  1. I am like you, I read 4-5 chapters in New and Old Test. and do prayer meeting and bible study every week and set up for Church every other Sunday. My problem is in days I work I have found I do not read every day. Is this because I am do to much? should I go back to reading every night a few chapters in one book. Help!!!

  2. Kathi,

    Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. I am struggling with the same issue as you as I consider this option. But the thing that keeps nagging at me is the question, “If I’m too busy to read the Bible 45 minutes a day, I’m probably too busy!”

    I have two close friends that are currently on the plan and they are pretty impressed by it. If one does 20-25 minutes in the morning and 20-25 minutes at lunch or at night, it is feasible. Right now I do well to read my 3-5 chapters a day. But I read them slowly and meditatively, which is exactly the opposite pace that Prof. Horner recommends: “Read quickly (without “speedreading”)…”

    I think it’s important to remember that we should not place a yoke upon ourselves slavishly. The important thing is to try to get in God’s Word daily: “his delight in in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1.2). Better to do fewer chapters daily than try to do more sporadically.

    Hope that helps you, Kathi. Come back to my blog as much as you like!

    Update: Since late August I have been on the Horner plan and am loving it!

  3. I’m not on this plan but I’m currently going thru the Bible in 90 days schedule. This is a one time deal for me. I’ve only read through the Bible one other time and it took me 14 months off and on. I did this because I was going I wanted to dive into God’s Word and be steadfast, unwavering, with an abundance of His grace to see me through. I’m in the last 3rd of the program, having completed the OT and currently in the gospels. It’s been amazing. It’s rigorous but if you were to read half in the morning and half in the evening it’s very doable.

    The first time I read through the Bible I did the Bible in a year which broke it down as you described, some OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs but at the time this plan didn’t work for me and I ended up finishing the OT, then the NT.

    This plan sounds intriguing. I want nothing more right now than to lose my life in God and His Word.

  4. Rick,

    Wow, through the Bible in 90 days? I’m impressed. That’s a major commitment. I have done it in a year, and that is challenging. Press on, brother!

    And thanks for visiting my blog. Come back soon.

  5. Very interesting approach to reading through the Bible, and retaining through repetition. I can remember going through college, and during essay exams writing everything I could remember the night before so that it would stick in my mind. I want to try it out…

    Now, Brett… I have to figure out what version to use… either KJV or NKJV!!! Just bought 2 new Bibles, one of each version and can’t decide… any thoughts??? (haven’t read all the interviews, but seems to me that it’s easier to read out of a modern translation than KJV).

  6. John, great to hear you are taking up Horner’s plan!

    Both versions would be great to use. Why not try both for awhile and then settle into one? I use the ESV, but some days I use the KJV or the NKJV just for variety. Generally, the KJV takes me longest of the three versions because it is a little harder reading.

    Keep me posted as to how it goes.

    1. Brett: Reading is going well; I’ve decided to use the NKJV since it is quicker reading. I’ve also tried to double up on reading (reading 20 chapters on some days – morning and in the evening). It is an intense system though, and you really need to stay focused, because you can stray away if say the kids are running around and the tv in the next room is blaring!!!

      Although most of the reading is very familar, it is good to read through it (all 10 chapters) and then keep a mental picture of what stands out in each chapter you read. Afterward (after reading the 10 chapters), go back, review and highlight the things that really stand out in your reading. I find that by doing that, it’s a good brain workout and something to look over during a true devotional time.

      I’ll let you know what else I can come up with!!! Thanks again for bringing this system up!

      1. John, Glad to hear the plan is going well for you! You are right, it takes discipline to stay focused. Some days are easier than others for me. The key, for me, is to press on. I like what you are doing in terms of going back and reviewing the highlights of what you have read. I keep a little postcard next to me to write down what I’d like to come back to for further study or for more reflection/meditation. I don’t do this near as much as I thought I would, though; most days I just enjoy the intake of God’s Word.

  7. Hi,

    I do like this system, but not the bookmarks–to unwieldy. Has anyone come up with a decent way to keep a track of the daily readings?

    1. Simon:

      I just started last week as well, and I tried the bookmarkers, and even lamentated them to preserve them longer, but found that the thickness of the laments was a problem… just annoying. Additionally, it seems as if you lamenate the markers, they could slip out if you bring your Bible to work, or when carrying it around.

      What I did was I just cut colored paper to 3″ X 1″ to keep my place, and then I also use the plastic type Post-It flags that have a light adhesive (these are the 1/2″ Post Its that are made of a plastic like material – colors are Red, Blue, Green and Yellow). I use that on the edge to stick out and I place it at the edge of the chapter I will be at next. I have also used a black marker and labelled the Post It 1 thru 10 so that I know which book to fly to next. That way if the marker falls out, at least I can still find the book and chapter I’m in. May be over kill, but I find that this works for me.

      Hope this helps. J

  8. Thank you for this plan! It sounds great.

    However I have one reservation. I was always taught that meditation was important in Bible reading. If one is to spend 5-6 minutes on a chapter it seems that it would be difficult to meditate.

    Do you use a different plan for different purposes- in-depth study, personal devotions etc? If so which ones and can you ease my reservation?

    Soli Deo Gloria

    John

    1. John, Thanks for stopping by my blog and for commenting. I understand your reservation about the lack of meditation/reflection. It was one that I had before I started.

      You must remember that I am a pastor and I spend a considerable amount of time each week meditating over a passage that I will be presenting. I used to think this needed to be separate from a personal meditation upon Scripture, but I’ve come to learn that my preaching is more powerful when I have meditated over the passage for personal application before considering it for congregational application. So I would recommend that if you are a pastor, Sunday school teacher, small group leader, or in any capacity a weekly communicator of God’s Word, that you incorporate personal times of meditation over the passage(s) you are studying for that week.

      Also, during my devotional time I have a few Scriptures that I am seeking to memorize. As part of the memorization process I meditate on the personal application of the verse(s).

      Finally, I would commend to you that the benefits of embracing a Bible reading system like this far outweigh any perceived negatives you may be anticipating. My wife recently commented that since I have been reading 10 chapters a day, she has seen a marked difference in my attitude and spirit around the house. In other words, God has used this greater intake of His Word in my life to result in a greater Christ-likeness. And this is the goal, is it not?

      I encourage you to give it a try. As others would counsel, make sure and stick it out for a couple of weeks before deciding whether you will stay with it or not. It can be hard at first, but you will probably get in a rhythm with it.

      If you do, keep me update on your progress.

      To Him be the glory!

  9. Brett,

    I am curious as to how you adapted Prof. Horners system to go through Romans each month. Thinking about it I would say that doing that is as important as going through Acts each month.

    I have started the program yesterday, will let you know how it goes.

    I am thinking of promoting this with the College and Career class I teach.

    Terry

  10. Have been doing the Life Journal method for past two years which includes prayer and journalling on particular verses that stands out while still reading the bible through in a year. In 2011, am starting M’Cheyne so that I can still journal and pray through scripture and according to God’s leading. M’Cheyne refers to careless reading and I think it may be like in one ear and out the other if I were to pick up the pace from 4/5 to 10 chapters a day. I thought of doing Horner’s 10 chapters but am not convinced with the method of not meditating on the word of God or pray through scripture. It may be good for those who are in full time ministry who have time to read 10 chapters quickly and still manage to put aside other daily time for prayer and meditation.

  11. I can’t remember how I did it, but when I first got saved in 1972 all I read was the New Testament untill one day I came up with a similar plan reading 10 Chapters a day. As the new Year was approaching I came across this plan and I’m so thankful that the Lord brought me to it. It’s like seeing an old friend i haven’t seen in a long time

  12. I started using it 3 days ago and timed my reading today out of curiosity and it came in just under 20 mins for 10 chapters across a broad spectrum of scripture. I love it for this very reason and I agree with you about the Romans/Acts combination – the gospel explained/the gospel proclaimed. A great combo.

    I use the iPhone4 app ReadingPlan which makes it so each to monitor progress.

  13. Pingback: Studying the Bible
  14. Greetings from Venezuela. I took Prof. Horner’s (and yours) challenge of trying it for a month, before giving an opinion. After that time my opinion about this reading plan is this: WONDERFUL. I have read, understood, enjoyed and been blessed in the Word of God like never before in 20 years following the Lord. Two (repeated) advices: be persistent in following it strictly, but if you fail one day, don’t worry, follow the next day, and if you have ocassion to recover from that failure reading more, even better, do it . Second, resist the temptation of seeing notes, cross references, etc. Let the Spirit guide you to all truth, using only his Word, in your mind and in your heart. A great advantage of this plan is that you can’t get bored, if a part becomes heavy (like, say he land distribution in Joshua), you will be lifted up by another part that day. You’ll be surprised how the Bible is all connected and harmonious through the ages. For a Spanish blog on this system go to: http://las5solas.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/para-el-2010-plan-de-lectura-del-profesor-grant-horner/

    1. Thanks Cristiano for your testimony of the power of this system to take in God’s Word. Your points about the genius of the system are dead on. Thanks, also, for the Spanish link.

      1. I’ve tried a few times. I keep starting and stopping. It’s not that it is too much to read, but it’s that I’m having a hard time with jumping around contextually, and I’m having a hard time remembering what I’ve read in the prophets, Psalms, and Proverbs (which aren’t as narrative as some of the other books). I’m wondering if those issues will disappear with time and repetition?

      2. Martin, Sorry for the delay in my response. How is it going?

        I hope you have stuck with it. I think you need to give at least 2-3 weeks straight, not missing days, and if it is still jumping around, then maybe the plan is not for you. The important thing is to immerse yourself in the Word.

  15. Thanks, Brett, for posting about this reading system. I’m a pastor to med students, and blog about connecting faith (including Scripture) & medicine, but also see my need to grow in daily bible intake. How easy it is to neglect God’s Word!

    Not sure if anyone else mentioned this in their comments, but you can track your progress with this system online at http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/read.aspx.

    I’m going to give this a shot and see how it goes!

    1. Bryan, thanks for commenting and for the link. I think I have that link posted somewhere, but the more places we post it, the better!

      Also, Bryan, I’d love to check out your blog. Could you post a link to it for me?

  16. I came across this article after finishing up my 90 day in the reading plan. I wanted to see how many times I was actually reading the same books of the Bible. Great reading plan and I recommend professor Hornet’s system to anybody. Because it’s not just about reading the Bible per say, it’s about remembering it as well and professors plan does just that for me. So glad I found his reading system.

  17. Is there are program available where you could read the Word 3 times a day with the aim of reading through the Bible in a year? Kind of like Daniel praying 3 times a day.

  18. Hello!

    This looks like a great reading plan. F.Y.I. there was a reading plan in the 70’s very similar to this one through Chick Publications. That’s the company that printed those little comic-book style tracks as witnessing tools. I certainly don’t agree with all of their beliefs, but this reading plan is awesome! The little booklet where I first saw this plan was, “Don’t Read That Book!” ©1972 by Jack T. Chick. You may be able to find a facsimile online.

    1. Hello,

      For those interested and curious about the original list.

      THE ORIGINAL TEN LISTS as appeared in the chick gospel publications:

      List 1 (117 days)
      Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts

      List 2 (187 days)
      Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

      List 3 (78 days)
      Romans, I&II Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, Hebrews

      List 4 (65 days)
      I&II Thess, I&II Tim, Titus, Philemon, James, I&II Peter, I,II&III John, Jude, Revelation

      List 5 (62 days)
      Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

      List 6 (150 days)
      Psalms

      List 7 (31 days)
      Proverbs

      List 8 (249 days)
      Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings, I&II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

      List 9 (250 days)
      Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

      List 10 (alternately read single chapter daily)
      Hebrews 11, 1 Cor 13

      1. Thanks, Vera! I was just reading through the comments again… and this is the first time I noticed List 10. How fascinating! I kind of like that idea. But I am unwilling to give up my list 10, so, for me, list 11!

  19. Hi

    I regret to say I have not been reading my bible regularly. Sadly being a Christian for so long I have never read all through the bible.

    But I’m starting on this 10 chapter bible reading plan. I’m on day 2 now.

    I was attracted to this plan because the mixture of genres makes it more interesting and engaging than a plain vanilla one year bible reading plan.
    Also the idea of reading so much that the bible saturates our minds.

    I will use a checklist to mark off completed chapters.
    Primarily I want to use online bible websites to do my reading.
    I will open 10 internet explorer windows each showing only those 10 chapters so I will not be reading further. Open one, close one.

    I pray that God will help me be disciplined with this.
    Thanks for your website!

  20. Just like any other plan, there is no “onesizefitsall” plan designed to work for everyone… If you really think about it, you spend a lot of time watching tv and commercials. If you cut down on commercials, you’ll save a whole amount of time and you will be putting God FIRST in your life, that’s a challenge.

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