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Monday, January 7, 2013

Let's read our Bibles!

It's become a tradition at our church. On the first Sunday of the year, we encourage our folks to start a Bible reading plan. My wonderful wife, Kelly and I have been doing it for a while and it has had a huge impact on our awareness of the Bible in its entirety. 

We used Grant Horner's system a few years ago. It was somewhat daunting but we stuck to it, finishing the Bible in 8 months and seeing it from a unique perspective, having read some books multiple times. It's a tough challenge for a first-time plan but can be amazingly rewarding. The intimidation for Horner's plan comes from looking at a plan that demands 10 chapters a day. Horner is realistic, though, and encourages readers to read to become familiar and not to take extra time to study. His goal is to get readers familiar with the text, taking time apart from their reading to do additional study. It works! Additionally, I found that I got into a rhythm, once I got the concept, and was able to finish my daily reading quickly and efficiently. 

Last year, we used a chronological plan. This variation is based on reading through the Bible in the order that the events and books occur in history. I found this plan to be most enlightening and easiest to follow. The books of the Bible were brought into a totally fresh perspective and came together in a way that will change how I read some of them forever, particularly 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Psalms and Acts. I enjoyed this one so much, I'm doing it again, starting today. 

Many people begin a new Bible reading program with the best of intentions and a heart for getting it done. For a variety of reasons, things can get derailed pretty easily. Here are a few tips that may help you stay in your plan:

  • Don't feel that your goal is to finish according to the calendar! The goal is to read through the Bible. Nothing will kill a reading plan quicker than getting behind a few days, seeing how many chapters are needed to get caught up...and throwing in the towel because your behind. After missing a day or two (it happens to all of us), if there are too many readings to get caught up, just pick up where you left off. 
  • That being said, there's much benefit on developing some discipline here. Try to get your reading done before you start your day. It really is worth it to get up 15 minutes earlier and begin your day with your father, in His word. If you can adopt this approach, you'll never miss a day. 
  • Don't chain yourself to your favorite physical Bible! If you forget it or wait until you have time to pick it up, find your place and begin reading, it will become easy to slip. With all the advancements we have in technology, there are multiple ways to access your plan. I'll list some of them below. 
  • Avoid the temptation to "give it a try". If you can stick with this for a month, it will become an integral part of your day. Once that happens, Bible reading becomes an integral part of your life. It is the living Word of God. We will always learn from it, always be challenged by it, always grow by it, always be comforted by it...but only if we are always reading it. 
Here are some tools that can make it exceptionally easy to do your reading. I've found that I do best when I have multiple ways to access my plan. I use my smart phone, iPad, computer and even...sometimes, my Bible! Once I got over the need to "feel the pages" (our aim is to absorb the Word, not experience a book), I found it was much easier to finish my daily reading. Some of the methods listed in this link even send you reminders on a daily basis. Another excellent online, multi-platform tool is You Version. There's absolutely nothing wrong with picking up a book and relishing the feel of the pages. But, if we wanted to experience the Bible "the way it was written", we would all be using scrolls and papyrus! Use the technology available to us, God is just a sovereign over pixels as He is over paper!

May the Lord bless you as you begin. I firmly believe there is nothing better we can do to improve our spiritual health and advance in our sanctification than read the Bible in a structured, disciplined and dedicated manner. With all the study I do in preparing a sermon, counseling and teaching, nothing has impacted me as much as my daily Bible reading. Join me!


  1. Is there a day by day reading assignment with the Grant Horner's system?

    Sarah V. :-)

  2. It's simpler than it sounds...but it sounds complicated. I just added a new post explaining how the 10 lists work together and hoe that translates into a daily plan.