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.
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 5 – Prophets
List 6 – NT Historical books
List 7 – Major letters
List 8 – Minor letters
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.