Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System: Interview with Tom Shelton and Rick Doctor, pt. 2

Yesterday I posted the first half of an interview with two of my friends who are currently using the rather intense Bible reading system developed by Professor Grant Horner of The Master’s College. By posting this interview I am not suggesting that every Christian must read at least 10 chapters of the Bible every day. The issue is not exactly how much you read, but how much you live out. As I heard Chip Ingram recently say, “God is more pleased with you reading one verse and acting on that verse than reading the whole Bible that day.” Yet if you are going to know how to live out the Bible, you need to have a full knowledge of it. This system is one of many that can help you with that goal.

Here is the the second half of the interview:

PB: When do you do your prayer time? Before or after your Bible reading time? How has the Bible reading plan impacted your prayer life?

Rick: I pray before I read my bible as prep for reading my bible.  Other than that I throw up prayers throughout the day, but i like to have quiet time before bed to be alone and speak to Jesus, but lately I have been neglecting Him for sleep.  I am a loser.

Tom: I am ashamed to admit that I don’t have a prayer routine.  It is something I have been convicted of for a while now but I have not corrected the situation yet.  I can say that as I have continued to spend more time in God’s word that it has intensified my conviction.

PB:  What are your long-term thoughts of using the plan?  Are you going to try it for a year or do you think this might become a lifelong habit?

Tom: My current goal is to complete the longest list.  List 8 (249 days) and List 9 (250 days) are the longest.  Once I have completed those, I will have read through the entire Bible at least once and many parts of it several times.  Then I will re-evaluate.  My goal is to create a lifelong habbit of daily Bible reading.  The system I use is less important than the fact that I will be reading God’s Word daily.  At this time, I don’t know of any system that I like better or that works better for me.  So, as of now, I would anticipate continuing the system after I have completed my initial goal.

Rick: I hope for it to be a lifelong thing.  Perhaps for a season I may switch but I think this may be a lifetime thing.

As a side note, I am considering using this system (in full or in some modified form) to develop the habit of daily Bible reading in my oldest daughter.  She will be 13 in a couple months and I want her to start now developing this habit. I am not sure yet if or how I will modify the system for her but I think she is old enough to be doing this in some form.

PB: This plan is taking you through Proverbs and Acts monthly. How has that been?

TS: It has been good.  It had been quite a while since I had read through Proverbs and I think it is good to read them regularly.  As far as Acts goes, I wondered why it was chosen to be read through each month.  I probably would have chosen Romans.  I know that Acts works better since it has 28 chapters and Romans has only 16.  I have considered making a change to the lists by moving Romans and Hebrews to list 10 and moving Acts to list 3.  This would only make a 1 day difference in each list.  I have not done this yet and I probably won’t until I have finished the longest lists.  At that point I may make the adjustments.

Rick: I am excited to see when the memorisation begins to take place.  I like it.

PB: Of the 10 divisions of Scripture, which has been your favorite?

Tom: At this point, I would have to say list 6 which is the Psalms.  I am not quite sure why this is but I am really enjoying reading the Psalms on a daily basis.  I have been really drawn to the picture of God as described to there.

I ran across a quote by Billy Graham sometime in the last year where he said that he read from the Psalms each day to learn to relate to God and from the Proverbs each day to learn how to relate to man.  It seemed profound to me.  Maybe that has played some role, I am not sure.

Rick: All…hehehe…I know what you are getting at. Umm, I don’t have favorite.  But I do have least favorites.  I still find my ‘Spirit Groaning’ when I come to Isaiah (well not anymore now that I am in Jeremiah) and I can foresee thanking God for my ‘Trials’ when I have to read through Numbers and Leviticus, but those things are good for us to build up our discipline and to find in those harder read books what God is really trying to tell us.

PB: Professor Horner recommends you stick with the same Bible all the time through the years so that the words become “imprinted” upon your mind. What do you think about this recommendation?

Tom: I can see the logic from this.  I am not sure that I will do this because I sometimes like to read from other translations (usually the NASB) to get some variety.  Up to this time, though, I have always read from my ESV.

Rick: I think it is a good idea.  The problem is I wish the bible I have been using was had more character and chance for wear-and-tear.  This thing feels like is made out of cardboard, someday in the future I may have to rebind it.

PB: Professor Horner also recommends that you print out his “Secrets to Success with this System” and put it in your Bible?  Have you done that?  Are you abiding by his recommendations or have you customized the plan? Explain.

Tom: I have not printed out and put the Secrets to Success in my Bible.  I did read them before I started, probably a couple of times.  I am following them though.  I have not referred back to them in a while now but I am still following them.  At this point, I have not done any customization to the plan.  I am still following it just as he has laid it out.  I may make some adjustments later on as I have described in some of my other answers.

Rick: I don’t think I have done that or read his secrets to success.  You will have to get back with me on that one.

PB: What has been the biggest benefit of doing this plan?

Tom: The biggest benefit to this plan is that it gets you into the Word.  It allows you to get the full picture of God’s word.  By this I mean that each day you are reading from the Gospels, the Law, the Psalms, the Proverbs, the Epistles, & the Prophets.  Over a short period of time, you will aquire a good understanding of how the different parts fit together.  Even in the short time I have been on the plan, it is amazing how I can read something from the Law (for example) and then it will be quoted and explained in the Epistles (for example).  No plan that I have ever tried gives you that.

Rick: It has built in me want to read the word.

PB: Is there anything else you would like share?

Tom: This plan may not “work” for everyone.  That is not something to get upset about.  The important thing is to be reading the Bible on a regular basis.  If someone is looking for a good systematic approach to reading the Bible, I would encourage them to try Dr. Horner’s Bible reading system.  They lose nothing by giving it a try.

I would also like to suggest that someone has a translation that they are comfortable with and can understand easily.  Reading this much is easier if you understand and enjoy what you are reading.  I would also like to suggest to anyone interested in using this system that they use a Bible that has a single column paragraph format.  The paragraph format really makes it easier to follow the thought process of the writer.  It is also the format that most of us are familiar and comfortable with.

Rick: The exact plan itself may not be for everyone but the principles behind it I think are very useful.  People who aren’t ready for 10 chapters a day may start with 3 (gospel, epistles, old testament) or make a custom one like 6 chapters a day (2 in the gospels, 1 acts, 1 proverbs, 1 new test, 1 old test).

PB: Great suggestions. I agree that it is important a person discovers what works best for them based upon their schedule and what “works” for them. The important thing, and what I hope everyone can learn from these past two days, is that intake the Word of God is vital to our spiritual lives and the best way to consistently take it it is through a commitment to a plan, whether it is Dr. Horner’s, someone else’s, or one that come up with themselves.

8 thoughts on “Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System: Interview with Tom Shelton and Rick Doctor, pt. 2”

  1. I have been following this plan since march. I love it and is by far the best for me. I have tried others on reading through the Bible and didn’t last. I have swapped Acts with Romans after reading through Acts a few times. My favourites have been list 8. The main thing it has done for me is to instill in me the habit of reading the Bible everyday. I am learning a lot and when I’m on a Christian site and I read verses, I like to think where they are from before I check. I am more familiar with the Bible now and yes I will keep this plan going. All my thanks to Professor Grant Horner. My favourite book is John.

  2. Great interview!

    I finally published my system on Facebook a year ago, on a total whim, after getting pooped from responding to student requests for handouts! I can’t believe how many people all over the world are using it and talking about it….

    The best thing is — it is totally adaptable. I myself have switched Romans for Acts, and made other changes from time to time, as suggested above. The idea is to get into the Word across the genres, and to let the scripture comment on itself, as the Reformers said: ‘scriptura interpretans scripturam’ — scripture inteprets scripture…


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