Bible Reading Plan for the New Year

Towards the end of last year, I gave Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System a spin. It’s main assumption is that Christians don’t read enough Scripture (true enough), and we are especially unfamiliar with the Old Testament (ditto again). Professor Horner’s prescription is a reading of 10 chapters a day. It seems like a lot, because it is. That’s the whole point. His intention is not that this will replace normal, in-depth Bible study, but provide readers with better context, giving their more in-depth studies greater value.

Basically, every book of the Bible is bucketed into one of 10 lists, and every day you read a chapter from each list. The Pentateuch is a list, the Gospels are a list, and the book of Psalms is its own list. When you get to the end of the list, you just start over. You end up reading all of Gospels every 89 days, for example. View a complete rundown here.

So I gave it a shot. I got into a rhythm. It took me a total time of 40-50 minutes per day, and I would read half in the morning and half at night before going to bed. Eventually, I took Sunday’s “off,” and made Saturday a “catchup” day. This made the whole thing less intimidating and more enjoyable, but it still ended up being fragile.

In November I went to my company retreat, and with the change of my daily routine for the week, my daily reading habit of almost two months was shattered. Even after the trip, I couldn’t get back in the rhythm. It seemed too much. The good news is that I still read 2 chapters a day, and after spending so much time reading 10 chapters per day, 2 chapters felt like nothing at all.

New Plan for 2015

At the start of the new year, I wanted to start reading more again, but I knew that it would be just as fragile, and I travel enough that it was a worry. So I tweaked the plan. In the original, both Proverbs and Acts were their own single-book lists. I understand why. These are important books, and Proverbs in particular rewards repeated, constant reading. But they also tend to have the longest chapters and were part of the reason why my readings were taking so long. It made things that much more daunting.

So I shuffled some things around. Proverbs is now grouped in with the rest of the Wisdom literature, and Acts is now grouped in with the Gospels. Here are my version of the lists:

  1. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts (117 days)
  2. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (187 days)
  3. Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews (78 days)
  4. 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, Jude, Revelation (65 days)
  5. Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (93 days)
  6. Psalms (150 days)
  7. Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (249 days)
  8. Major and Minor Prophets (250 days)

So now I try to read 8 chapters per day. This is still a large amount of Scripture, but I feel its much more sustainable, and much less fragile. It now rarely takes me longer than 35 minutes to finish my reading. I might end up moving Acts to the beginning of list 4 after trying this for a while, but we’ll see.

If you’re looking for something challenging, and a bit more interesting than your typical yearly Bible reading plan, I’d encourage you to try it out.

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