Pastor Brett: You recommend using one Bible and sticking with it, and you mention the concern you had over Pastor John MacArthur asking to see your tattered Bible during your interview process. So what kind of Bible have you used all these years (version, binding, etc.)? Has it been rebound?
Professor Horner: I have a 1967 imprint Scofield Bible, given to me in new condition in 1983 by my father-in-law. It was rebound in 2002; by then the covers were all gone, the spine missing, and all the front matter up to Genesis 1 and the concordance past ‘sin’ — all gone. The rebind is still functioning but pretty worn! Maybe another two years or so. I am attaching a photo of my Bible in the dry brook at Elah …. surrounded by smooth stones, and open to the relevant passage. I also managed to find an exact printing of my same Scofield a few years ago, and I have kept that one clean, and shifted my reading to it (I preach from the old one; it is sentimental.)
Pastor Brett: If a new Christian were to ask you for the ideal Bible for life…how would you answer?
Professor Horner: The one in your HEART and MIND. Secondarily, get a physical one that is sturdy, readable, and comfortable, with a good, largely ‘formal’ translation. The ESV or NASB, or KJV if you can handle it. Ask yourself this: if you were imprisoned for being a Christian, and thrown in a cell for the rest of your life, and had NO access to a Bible … would you have a feast or a famine? Is it hidden in your heart, or hidden on your shelf?
Pastor Brett: Have you ever thought this might be your historical legacy? Do you think the name “Horner” might go down in history with “M’Cheyne” as a name associated with Bible reading?
Professor Horner: I never really thought about it that way. My main goal is to leave a family that loves God. Then do the same for students and people I teach/preach to. I am Scottish…my Grandmother’s family rowed over in 1908…so I love M’Cheyne automatically, of course. I could not begin to compare with him and his legacy. If I can help people feed themselves with the Word better, then wow, what an honor for me, but it all goes to the one who is due the all of the real glory in this universe. And that isn’t me. I know exactly what I deserve. I’ve read Romans 1.
Pastor Brett: In this era of specialized Bibles, has there been any thought or talk of a Prof. Horner Daily Bible? Like 10 ribbons and maybe color coded edges of the pages based upon genre or list?
Professor Horner: I’d OK that only if I could make TONS of money off it! (You realize I tend towards irony sometimes, I hope!) It really wouldn’t be necessary. Make your own bookmarks and send your extra money to people who need it.
It is almost shameful how many expensive ‘consumer-niche’ Bibles we have in America. But I won’t go off on that. A friend of mine saw his brother beaten to death by communists over a hidden Bible; I sort of freak out when I go into a bookstore and see crazy bible-consumerism run amok. Do we really need Bibles marketed specifically towards highly specified demographic groups? Do we really need a Teen Redhead Girl’s Study Bible? A Retired Municipal Worker Without Male Grandchildren’s Chain Reference Bible with Greek and Armenian Text Parallel? Sorry — I said I wouldn’t rant, and then I ranted a bit…
Pastor Brett: Ok…Pop quiz…quick, take your best shot at guessing where this is found (no Bible or search engine allowed): And the sons of Ammon came out and drew up in battle array at the entrance of the city, and the kings who had come were by themselves in the field.
Professor Horner: Agggh! Public disgrace. Exact location on the page — I could guess but it would only be a 1 in 8 to get it pretty close. I know it is 2nd Samuel, and just before chapter 11, probably ch. 8, 9, or 10. It is the prelude to David making a bad decision to hang out on a rooftop with his binoculars, even though he knows full well that pretty girls bathe up there.
My New Testament I know very intimately, down to where verses break between pages, followed by Proverbs, Psalms, Genesis, and Wisdom books. Historical and Prophets the least (typical American evangelical!) I know the content, but not the page placement of specific passages. Back to school for me! (As I said, I just restarted after a year off; call me in three months — I’m on Joshua 3 right now!)
Pastor Brett: Very impressive! 2 Samuel 10:8 is the answer. Next question… As you know, 2011 is the 400-year anniversary of the KJV. I’m considering using your plan to read through the KJV starting in January (I use the ESV and sometimes the NIV). Do you have any special plans for the KJV in 2011 as a Bible reader or English Prof?
Professor Horner: Not really — though we just had Calvin’s 500th birthday, and I taught a course on him, that went all the way through the whole Institutes! 1400 pages. That was cool.
I still love my KJV, but more due to familiarity, and my preferences as a 16th/17th century scholar who loves the language of the period. I am not a KJV-only guy. I really like the ESV for modern readability and accuracy.
Maybe I should set up some kind of public KJV reading event? I had students read all the way through Paradise Lost with me, in public, for 12 hours last year. That was great! Hmmmmm…..
Pastor Brett: This has been wonderful, but before we go, I think readers might find it interesting to learn that you are into rock climbing…and you enjoy scaling granite mountains, say like, the 3000′ El Capitan… I have a fear of heights, so personally, I think you are kind of loco, but tell me a little bit about that hobby and are you ever afraid? Any hair-raising stories to share?
Professor Horner: You live in Florida, Brett, so you need not worry about hair-raising mountains!
Lots of stories, yes. And I have numerous videos of my little adventures posted on my personal Facebook page. El Capitan is the largest unbroken cliff in the world — 3000 feet dead vertical and overhanging, in Yosemite Valley. Imagine stacking TWO World Trade Center Towers on top of each other. And smooth as drywall. The best climbers in the world try to tackle it, and the failure rate is nearly 2 out of 3; successful ascents take 2 1/2 to 6 days, generally. People are rescued from the wall every year. People can get killed; it is very serious. There is a small group of us who do “big-wall speedclimbing” which is a very specialized set of techniques for climbing very light and fast on these huge walls. A tiny handful of people have done it in under 24 hours. It’s sick, sick, sick, like running a vertical marathon for an entire day. No stopping, no resting, just pounding through unbelievably difficult rock-climbing move after move, with minimal gear and a little food and water. It burns about 18,000 to 20,000 calories, which means you can lose five pounds easily (so to speak….) Most of the guys who’ve done it sub-24 are young. I’m 46, and I’ve done it four times.
I decided to take this summer off technical rock-climbing, though. I did a bunch of High Sierra peak speed ascents instead, like last week. I did Mount Langley, which is over 14,000 feet, and also involves 24 miles of very tough hiking above 10,000 feet. And I did it house-to-house — I drove from LA, zoomed the trail, climbed the peak, zoomed down in the dark, and drove home (three hour drive). Total time was 23 hours, and no stopping. So … Why do you think I’m loco?
Pastor Brett: I think most of would think that loco is a mild way to put it. Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or “the system”?
Professor Horner: Nothing, except I hope that the Bride will grow, well fed on the Word. It is the only food we have on Earth; we sit at a banquet table all day long, and yet we look at scraps and crumbs on the floors outside. Nothing else on earth is breathed out by God, like a kiss for us to receive….only the Word is like that.
Pastor Brett: Very well said. This has been a pleasure. Thanks so much for your time!
Professor Horner: Your welcome!
LINKS related to this interview
To join Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System Facebook page, click HERE. (Update: Facebook changed the way they do group pages, so the original group page, featured in this article is no longer in existence. A new group page has been started since then, which is what I have linked to from here.)
If you are not on Facebook and would like to see Professor Horner’s System and download the bookmarks, click HERE.
For the Tim Challies post that Professor Horner mentioned, click HERE.
Also, if you are on Facebook and are interested in reading through the King James Version during the Quadricentenniel, click HERE.