Interview with Prof. Grant Horner, pt. 2

Here is part 2 of my interview with Grant Horner, developer of Prof. Horner’s Bible Reading System. For part 1, click HERE.

Pastor Brett: Can you give a summary of your routine in terms of your daily devotional life?

Professor Horner: I am not a routine guy. The funny thing here is my use of the word “system” — I hate systems! But there was no other word.

I may have a week where I do not actually physically read the text hardly at all. Then in a whole day I may read through Job and Romans, or all four Gospels. Life is unpredictably rhythmic, and that’s ok. But — and this is key — the ‘non-reading’ days have the after-effects of all the imprinting. Scripture is constantly before me and informing my thoughts. I am in front of people all the time, teaching and speaking. I also do a lot of counseling. I rarely have to actually open the Bible — it is just accessible to my mind and I refer to it directly. Scripture itself talks about having the Word in your heart, your mind, almost physically in and on your body, like a necklace. We are to have the mind of Christ — that is, we must think like the Word.

Pastor Brett: Are there any dramatic testimonies that have come in about people using this plan?

Professor Horner: Hundreds of them! Just skim the Facebook page. Hundreds, thousands of people say it has changed their life. Tim Challies has the second-most read Christian website in the world, challies.com. He just did an article on the system a few weeks ago and said of it “Best of all, I find that I look forward to reading the Bible most days. Somehow this system has increased my delight in the Word.” What could be better than that, I ask you?!?

One couple met through my Facebook page due to their usage of the system — and they got married! Then they showed up together at the Bible study I lead. Can’t beat that!

And I may be the best testimony of all. I went from a deeply damaged drug addict to a brand new convert in February 1983. I started the system in the summer or Fall of 1983. A year later, I had read (for example) the Gospels four times, went twice through the Pentateuch and the Psalms, Job and Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon 6 times, Proverbs a dozen times, ALL of Paul 4 times…..you get the idea. In one year! I hate to say it, but I know for a fact that there are many folks sitting in churches right now who have never read the whole Bible through a single time in their lives, or even just all of Ecclesiastes, or the Psalms or Proverbs or Exodus. What a loss for them — and for the rest of the church, because they will be crippled by ignorance, weak from starvation, and in many cases, still enslaved to many sins! How can a body function if many of its members are withered by starvation? The knowledge is not the key, of course — but that is the first step to wisdom, knowing the Word intimately, and knowing it IN CONTEXT. THEN — and only then, can it change you. On the shelf it is tragically inert; in the heart is vibrantly alive, and cutting away, and building up.

I was a brand new, one-year-old baby Christian — and people at church were asking me Bible questions! I went out and did door-to-door evangelism, some street preaching, and became the classic “Jesus Freak” at work. A year or two earlier I had been buying, selling, and using LSD. You tell me.

Pastor Brett: Beside yourself, do you know who has been on this plan the longest?

Professor Horner: You know, I just don’t know. A few family members have used it off and on for many years, though.

Pastor Brett: Does your wife use your plan? How about your kids?

Professor Horner: No, she’s never done it, actually — not her style, and I don’t pressure her. I think two of my kids have used it at this point. But again, no pressure. I have been very careful not to cram Christianity on my three kids — they came to church with us until they were sixteen, and after that, it was only if they wanted to come. I don’t preach at home, run elaborate family devotions, have a “rule-y” home, or have what I call “Jesus-Junk” all over the place. I have tried to keep our spiritual life very organic, natural, low-pressure, and real. I’ve probably made thousands of mistakes. But — all my kids are solid, professing believers, ages 25, 23, and 16.

Pastor Brett: Is there any connection between your expertise of literature and the way the lists are broken up, in terms of genre?

Professor Horner: The lists are broadly genre-based, yes. But it doesn’t really have to be that way. The interweaving of numerous sections of scripture is the key, along with keeping you moving along.

Pastor Brett: How often do you personally adjust the lists for, say, greater attention to a particular book?

Professor Horner: Whenever I feel like it! It is deliberately flexible. I may drop the lists and just read through Hebrews for a while. I did that once — ninety days of reading Hebrews 1-3 times per day. A total of about 200 readings of Hebrews, one after another. Why? I was getting ready to teach the book at church. So I imprinted it on my mind and heart for three months. THEN I felt ready to read some commentaries with discernment, many of which I found to be awful! I kept wanting to go back to just the text. I taught the book every Sunday for four years, and loved every minute of it!

Pastor Brett: I was surprised to find out you are a literature professor. How often do people express surprise that you are not a Bible or theology professor? Of course, you are in good company…with C. S. Lewis!


Professor Horner: I am one [a Bible/theology prof]. I’m just disguised as a Literature Professor! Read my book, or any of my stuff, or sit in a class, or watch me on YouTube, and you’ll see what I mean. And how embarrassing for poor CS Lewis — to be lumped with me in any context. Poor bloke.

Pastor Brett: I’ve come across a lot of Christians who say this plan is just too intense, especially among stay-at-home mothers. Do you recommend a lighter version of your plan or what would you say to such a person?

Professor Horner: It IS intense. So is life. Do Marines go onto the front lines after some relaxing training for three days at Disneyland? And, yes, my wife, a stay-at-home mom, can tell you all about how tough it is — and important! Moms MAKE the next generation. So they should figure out the best way that works for them to get saturated with scripture!

Tomorrow…Professor Horner’s thoughts on what kind of Bible is best to use with his system, and more...

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