Nothing has done more to accelerate spiritual growth in my life than discovering Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System. I tweaked it by combining two of the Old Testament lists and then creating a new list of Romans, Galatians and Ephesians. Below is Professor Horner’s plan, followed by Pastor Brett’s plan. The most important thing of all is that you are in God’s Word regularly. Also, here is a page that mentions several different plans for reading God’s Word.
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 literallysaturating 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 HEREto 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)
List 7 (31 days)
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)
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
PASTOR BRETT’S BIBLE READING PLAN:
Starting with Professor Horner’s plan, I made some switches among the Old Testament lists (which resulted in 5 OT lists in comparison with his 6) in order to create a separate New Testament list for Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians.
I did this because I especially want to master Romans. Reading it monthly will help me accomplish that goal. I threw Galatians and Ephesians in with Romans in order to bring the chapter count to 28, making this list the same length as the book of Acts. So, each month I read entirely through Proverbs, Acts, Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. The price of this adjustment is that I now have a 311 day list in the Old Testament, but that exchange is worth it for me. Here are my lists:
List #1 – 89 Days – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
List #2 – 197 Days – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
List #3 – 28 Days – Romans, Galatians, Ephesians
List #4 – 311 Days – Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
List #5 – 59 Days – 1&2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
List #6 – 150 Days – Psalms
List #7 – 56 Days – Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, 1,2,&3 John, Jude, Revelation
List #8 – 250 Days – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
List #9 – 31 Days – Proverbs
List #10 – 28 Days – Acts
There are a few weaknesses to my version of the plan:
(1) Lists #3 and 5 intersect one another in the order of how the books are laid out in the Bible.
(2) List #4 is really long, but that is alright with me because if I am diligent to do this plan daily, I will still read through the entire Bible at least once every year, and I will read through many of the books several times in a year.
(3) I do not have access to the many resources available for the plan (nice pdf files of bookmarks, iPhone app with the plan, etc.). One thing I especially like about my version is that balances OT and NT reading with 5 lists each. So every day I read 5 chapters from the Older Testament and 5 chapters from the Newer Testament.
Finally, I in no way whatsoever created this list to compete with or attempt to steal away anyone from the original version of the plan. I simply adapted it to meet one of my goals: master the book of Romans. The reason I am sharing this information with you is so that you can see that one of the great things about Professor Horner’s Plan is that it is easily adaptable to your spiritual goals.
In fact, I’m not the only one who has adjusted the plan in order to make Romans a more frequent read. Nathan Bingham traded Acts and Romans on this lists in order to read Romans more frequently. I considered that as an option, but I wanted to keep reading Acts monthly as well, and decided I wouldn’t mind having a really long Old Testament list.
Regardless of whether you tweak Horner’s lists or stay with the original (which I highly suggest you do since it is tried and true!), the main thing is that you are digging into God’s Word daily.