It isn’t very easy to find the perfect Bible reading plan. I’ve tried out a number of them over the years, and they go from being very simple, like reading two chapters a day, to the complex ones that have you read passages that don’t line up with chapters, but require you to print out a schedule in order to know where you are. There are benefits and problems to both.
Two chapters a day is nice and simple; you don’t have to consult a schedule that you’ve probably misplaced or maybe even thrown out by accident. But the problem is when you hit 1 Chronicles 1, or even worse, Isaiah 1. You know that you have long weeks ahead of you slogging through some of the most difficult and least applicable passages in the Scriptures. It’s enough to make you “forget” to do your Bible reading one morning, and then it’s over. I’ve read the Bible through that way, but it took over two years and I read it during my lunch break at work when I had nothing else to do.
With the printed schedule, however, I read a number of passages in one day. This made reading much more enjoyable, because you had one OT passage, one Psalm or Proverb, and one NT passage every day. So when I hit Isaiah 1, my heart did not fail me. No, I charged bravely onward knowing that when I finished I would get to read a passage from 2 Corinthians and Psalm 105. The drawback to this system is when you have serious problems misplacing things. This may be compounded by the fact that you do your Bible reading first thing in the morning, when you’re lucky if you remember to put coffee grinds in the basket before turning on the pot, not to mention finding your reading plan in the mess on the desk. However, with this plan I read through the majority of the King James Version over the better part of a year.
All that being said, I have found a new plan, one which I would happily commend to you. Arenda first tried it out last year, while I was reading through the KJV, and I thought she was crazy: it’s a Bible reading plan that has you read 10 chapters a day. I didn’t even consider doing it because I didn’t think I had the time. My own reading was taking long enough, thanks. But a few months back Rev. Schouten mentioned in a post that he was trying it out, and that he enjoyed it for bringing out the unity in Scripture and highlighting how the various parts of Scripture complemented each other. I liked how it sounded so I gave it a try.
Here’s how it works. The man who came up with it, Grant Horner, divided the Bible into ten unequal sections:
– Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
– Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1+2 Samuel, 1+2 Kings, 1+2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
– Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
– Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
– Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
New Testament I (78)
– Romans, 1+2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews
New Testament II (65)
– 1+2 Thessalonians, 1+2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1+2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude, Revelation
The numbers in brackets are the amount of chapters in each section, and thus the number of days it will take you to read that section. You read one chapter per section per day. So here’s what I read on day 1:
1 Thessalonians 1
You read from there in the order laid out above, and when you read the last chapter in a section, you start over at the beginning. This means that you’ll read through the book of Acts almost 9 times before you finish the Prophets section. The point of the whole thing is that you will never read the same 10 chapters at the same time again. That way you are always allowing different sections of Scripture to highlight each other, and you may notice certain connections that you’d never noticed before. Also, you cover an enormous amount of Scriptural ground with this plan. If you do this every day for one year, you’ll have read through Proverbs, for example, 11 times, Acts 13 times, Psalms twice, the Gospels 4 times, and so on. You’ll have read the entire Bible through at least once.
Which leads to my last thought. A plan like this takes time, but not as much time as you think. Horner stresses that you should read quickly and not dwell on parts that hang you up. The point of this is to get you very familiar with all of the various parts of Scripture and how they interrelate; it’s not an in-depth Bible study. He says that it should take you 30-45 minutes a day to read, but it normally takes me longer than that as I’m not a fast reader and my mind wanders easily. Some days it takes me well over an hour, but not because it has to.
It’s been a pleasure reading the Bible this way. It’s a book with a depth of character that never seems to run dry, or that ever feels irrelevant. It’s vibrant and active and a plan like this really brings that out. I’m on day 51 and still the best part of my day is when I get out of bed, put on the coffee, and sit down with the Word.