Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Prof. Horner's Bible reading plan

I discovered Professor Horners Bible reading plan by accident, when I installed a Bible app on my phone. It was one of many, but it intrigued me.

Professor Horner's system is designed to literally saturate a believer in God's word. It consists of reading 10 chapters of scripture a day from 10 different sections of the Bible. The sections contain 1 or more books of the Bible, and when a section is finished it is to be started over. This keeps the reader constantly cycling through the entire Bible. I use sticky notes in my Bible and move them along like bookmarks as I read to help me keep track of where I am in each list. When I come to the end of the list on the sticky note, I just move the sticky note back to the beginning of the first book on the list (start over). Because each of the sections are of differing length (some are completed in about a month, some in three months, some in six, and one takes almost the entire year) there will never be an identical set of 10 chapters.

The reason this plan caught my eye is because I do not know my Bible as well as I should. I think of the Bible in terms of individual books--I know what the individual books are about, but I don't have a solid grasp of how God has intricately meshed the 66 individual books of the Bible into one solid, interwoven book. I want to have that understanding of how the books work together to teach the Believer, and reading a (fairly) large amount of scripture each day out of various parts of the Bible seemed a good place to start.

Quite unexpectedly, a benefit I have found is that as I'm reading through my daily readings the Bible has begun to comment on itself. For example, a few days ago I read about an altar in Judges that was set up, and on the same day found the same altar in Isaiah being torn down. That frequently happens as I cycle through the chapters, and causes me to take note of things I wouldn't necessarily notice otherwise.

Here is how the plan works, from Prof. Horner. (Quoted from here, where you can get some more detail about the plan)


Each day you will read one chapter from each of ten lists. 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. Or use the set of bookmarks provided on the last page of this document.

On day one, you read Mathew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, and so forth. On day 2, read Mathew 2, Genesis 2, etc. On day 29, you will have just finished Mathew, 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. W hen 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! 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. Many people report moving confidently through the ten chapters in 35-40 minutes. 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. BU T -- 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. Your Bible is the only thing on Earth that, as you wear it out, will actually work better and better. Please share this Bible-reading system with all the Christians you know, as well as anyone who is thinking about reading a Bible, even for the first time.

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) Psalms
List 7 (31 days) Proverbs
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) Acts
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
• 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
The goal of this sytem is simple, and twofold: To know scripture, and to love and obey God more!

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