In this post, I recommended trying out the Horner Bible Reading plan found here. I've been following this plan on and off for the past few years, so I thought I'd take a few minutes and share some of my thoughts.
Why I Like This Approach
I keep coming back to this method because I have found it to be greatly beneficial. Here are some of the ways I've been blessed by it:
- You read a lot of Scripture. This may be obvious, but this is the main benefit of the plan. "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 1/2 times."
- It teaches you the Bible by immersion. Some choose to pick up a foreign language by throwing themselves headfirst into another culture. That's what we do here with the Bible. I've taken this approach over traditional memorization. I may not have every word down of certain verses. But I'm finding I know where things are, and in general, what they say, through this plan.
- It helps you to understand God's big story. Reading Scripture from several different places at once makes it all start to come together. You'll find yourself reading about Christ's cross in the Gospels while you're reading about the sacrificial system in Exodus. The two are related!
- You can start anytime. Starting today? Fine. Starting March 3rd? Fine. Just jump in and begin reading.
What I Recommend
If you're going to jump into this plan, you might want to at least consider the following:
- Don't speed read if you can help it. Horner recommends reading really rapidly. When I take that approach, I find myself just trying to check chapters off my list. You can't go ultra-slow. But, as you read, pause and underline key verses or phrases. Try to take away verses that you can mediate upon more.
- Don't be a legalist. If you can't get through the whole list in one day, don't sweat it. Hopefully you're grasping the gospel of Jesus as you read - that you are not accepted because of your righteousness, and that certainly includes Bible reading. Miss a day? God still loves you in Jesus.
- Consider adding even more chapters. I know that sounds nuts. But I found the divisions in Horner's system to be too big. They also put an emphasis on reading the Old Testament. I made Romans its own list. I combined Hebrews and Revelation for another. That gives me 12 lists. This only becomes more overwhelming if you're reading it like a Pharisee (see above).
- Use a real Bible with Post-It flags to mark the sections. I tried to do this reading on my iPad and it proved really difficult for me. I like to use a real Bible (I love this one) where I can underline verses and write out comments or prayers. I write the book titles on one Post-It, and put it on the edge of the page, with the number sticking out ever-so-slightly. I use another one to point to the chapter I'm on, as I can easily forget. I use several different colors to visually mark off the different sections.
- Divide your reading up in chunks. When I tried to do it all in one sitting, it was too much for me. I generally read two chapters at a time, spreading my reading all throughout the day. Start with two. End with two. It's not that hard to work in four times of reading (especially three) throughout the day.
- Make this your main reading. I do read other books, but I've decided if I'm going to know one book well, it's going to be God's word. Right? This will dominate your daily reading, but that's a good thing.
Hopefully this inspires you to try what I think is a stellar Bible-reading plan. Leave other thoughts and questions in the comments.