My favorite Bible reading plan

As we’re coming up on the beginning of a new year, it’s time for a post about Bible reading plans. Maybe you are like me over the past decade and have tried a ton of plans to read your Bible – read through in 90 days, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years; read it chronologically, theologically, topically; etc. – but have never found a plan you really liked or could stick to.

A few years ago, I stumbled across Prof Grant Horner’s Bible reading plan. For those unfamiliar with the plan, it has ten lists of books in the Bible, based on book genre. Every day the reader reads one chapter from each list. So, on day one you read Genesis 1, Matthew 1, Romans 1, etc. When you get to the end of one book in the list, move on to the next. When you get to the end of an individual list, go back to the beginning. With repeated readings, you’ll start to see how Scripture will comment on and interpret itself. Reading at a good pace – not skimming, but not stopping to meditate on the text – each day’s reading can be finished in about an hour.


I added ribbons to my Bible so I didn’t have to work with paper bookmarks, sticky notes, tabs, or any of the other methods I’ve tried to keep track of where I am. They works well and are aesthetically pleasing.

It’s a fantastic idea. You read through parts of the Bible multiple times in a year, and as the years progress you never read the same 10 chapters together again, allowing for much more changes in your daily reading than most plans. However, after having used the plan for a few months, I found one thing I really didn’t like about it. The original plan calls for reading Proverbs and Acts once a month, something that got very repetitive for me and didn’t feel helpful. So, I added those books into other lists and got 8 lists.

Here are the lists I use:

List 1 – Pentateuch

List 2 – OT Historical books

List 3 – Wisdom/Poetry
Job, Proverbs-Song of Songs

List 4

List 5 – Prophets
Isaiah-Malachi, Revelation

List 6 – NT Historical books

List 7 – Major letters
Romans-Colossians, Hebrews

List 8 – Minor letters
1 Thessalonians-Jude


I wrote down my lists and taped them into the front cover of my Bible so I can keep track. The mark near 1 Thess shows I’ve finished that book. This is a clean tracking sheet, my other was really marked up.

Daily reading takes 45 min to an hour, depending on chapter length and how well I’m focusing on the reading. Sometimes I break it into two parts and read four chapter in the morning and four in the evening, sometimes I’ll only read a few chapters each day and make it through all the lists over two or three days, sometimes I’ll read two chapters per list in a day. If I miss a day (or, let’s be realistic here, a week…or two) I can just jump right back in where I left off. If I need a break from such drinking from the fire hose Bible reading, I write down where I left off on a piece of paper that I tuck into my Bible and do a different plan, or no plan, for a while.

Reading a large portion of Scripture every day has really impressed on me how much I was missing out on when I was only reading two or three chapters a day. I find myself more and more hungry for Scripture the longer I read this way. If you’re looking for a way to get more Bible reading into your life in the new year, I encourage you to try some form of a multiple-chapter genre reading plan.


Our Self-Revealed God

BeFunky_IMG_2863.jpgFor this week’s Theology Thursday post, we’re going to tackle the issue of revelation – how God has revealed Himself to us.

Importance of Revelation

It is important to realize that God didn’t have to let us know anything about Himself. Everything that we know about God that is true has been given to us by Him. Our knowledge about God has come to us through two different means, but all of it comes from God Himself. It is within His ability to hide Himself completely, but our generous God has chosen to make Himself known to us.

The fact that God has made Himself known and knowable is itself an important bit of theology because without any ability to know God we would have no hope of salvation. The Bible is clear that Christians are those who know God (Jn 17:3; Phil 3:10; 2 Pet 3:18; 1 Jn 4:7) and that those who do not know God are not His (Gal 4:8).

General Revelation

There are two ways that God reveals Himself – through general and special revelation. General revelation is given to all people around the world. It comes to us through the created world and tells us basic things about God and His moral requirements. General revelation is the reason that most people in most times and places have held to many of the same moral ideas – for instance, that murder and theft are wrong.

The clearest passages on general revelation are both found in the book of Romans.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

This passage (Rom 1:18-20a) teaches that all men know about God through creation. God has revealed Himself in creation from the beginning of the world clearly enough that He holds men accountable for their refusal to understand what He has shown them about Himself.

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.

This passage (Rom 2:14-15) teaches that God has given men a basic morality. We may not be able to derive all the nuances of the Mosaic law from nature, but God has given each of us a conscience that knows right from wrong.

Special Revelation

Special revelation is how God has revealed Himself to us through supernatural means. Miracles, healings, dreams, visions, prophets – all of these are special revelation. Special revelation is given to specific people or people groups at certain times.

The most important forms of special revelation are the person of Jesus Christ and God’s revelation of Himself through the Bible. Hebrews 1:1-2 reads:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

These verses teach that the ultimate form of special revelation comes through Jesus. Jesus is the One who shows us God as He is most clearly, to the point that if we know Jesus we also know the Father and have been given the gift of the Spirit (Jn 14:7; 15:26).

The Bible is the record of God’s dealings with man, His special revelation through part of history, and especially of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It is inspired by God and was given to Christians for our good (1 Tim 3:16).

The Difference Between the Two

General and special revelation are similar in many ways. Both teach us about God. Both come from God. Both are infallible when correctly understood (source).

However, there is a major difference between the two. While both can inform us about God, only special revelation can give us enough information for salvation. General revelation teaches us general things about God – that He exists, that He is good, that there is a basic morality. Special revelation is what teaches us about everything needed for salvation – original sin and the fall, the person and work of Jesus, the need for faith in Him. That is why Jesus gave His followers the command to go and preach the gospel throughout the world. General revelation can ignite a person’s search for God, but only the Spirit working through the proclamation of the gospel can save (Rom 10:14).