I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine and his Bible Reading System. His name is Professor Grant Horner, associate professor at The Master's College--specializing in the Renaissance and the Reformation. He is also the Chair of Humanities at Trinity Classical Academy.
The Bible pictured here is the one from which Professor Horner has read for the last 26 years. I was introduced to his Bible Reading System just a few days ago, through an invitation to the system's Facebook group. I have but one complaint.
I love the Word of God. I love reading the Word, talking about the Word, and preaching the Word. But, like probably so many of you, I have been challenged my entire Christian life to remain consistent in my daily feeding upon the Word. While I am in the Bible every day (often times for the benefit of others), my personal reading time has been marked by peaks and valleys of consistency.
I have tried just about every Bible reading program imaginable--going so far as to try to develop my own when all other efforts failed. I truly believe I have finally found the Bible Reading System I will use until the Lord takes me home. Yes, it has only been a few days of using Professor Horner's system. But I believe it is that good. I believe this system of intense absorption of the Word of God will revolutionize your Bible reading and finally place the Word where it should be--deep in your heart, at the forefront of your mind, and on the tip of your tongue.
I am convinced that Professor Horner's Bible Reading System is going to make me a better evangelist, a better teacher, and a better student of the Word. I hope you will join me on the journey.
What follows is Professor Horner's explanation of the Bible Reading System.
"I have more wisdom than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation." Psalm 119:99, right-hand page, left-hand column, dead center of page. Many people ask me how it is that I know precisely where virtually *everything* is in my Bible. The answer: this system. I began in 1983 (adapting and tweaking the basic design of another system) as a brand-new convert; within 3 years I knew the text of my Bible very well. Twenty-five years later it is essentially imprinted on my mind and heart. I have been all over the country and have taught this system in many churches. I have done open-microphone Q&As on Bible and theology -- with 1200 people in the audience -- as well as cultural-analysis live radio shows where you have to think fast -- and it has been the "imprinting" value of this system that has helped me provide quick, clear, heavily contextualized scriptural answers (I Peter 3:15; right-hand page, right hand column, 1/3rd way down). I have no Seminary degrees, no Bible-college or Christian school education -- hey, I never even went to Sunday School (the first church I went to, just months after my conversion, threw me into Sunday School-- to teach!!! *BIG* mistake, by the way...) All I DID have was a chair, a lamp ... and my Bible.
This is *not* merely a speed-reading program, nor is it a 'study' system. Read the 1-page description provided here to see how it works. (I'd also recommend you look at my first few posts in the Discussion Board 'Starting Up' below as well, for more thoughts.) DO NOT be intimidated! I was a college drop-out, ex-heavy-druggie when I started it. If I can do it, so can you!
TRY IT FOR A MONTH. Then tell me what is happening!
Join if you wish to try it; stay if you keep it up for one month! And make posts about your struggles, the effects it is having on your biblical understanding and discernment, and to encourage others.
HERE IT IS:
* PROFESSOR GRANT HORNER'S 'TEN LISTS BIBLE READING SYSTEM' *
Each day you will read one chapter from each list, in order. THAT'S RIGHT -- *TEN CHAPTERS PER DAY*!!! Use ten bookmarks or sticky notes with the individual lists on them to keep track of your locations. On day one, you read Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, and so forth. On day 2, read Matthew 2, Genesis 2, etc. On day 29, you will have just finished Matthew, so go to Mark 1 on the Gospel list; you’ll also be almost to the end of 2nd Corinthians and Proverbs, you’ll be reading Psalm 29 and Genesis 29, and so forth. When you reach the last chapter of the last book in a list – start over again. Rotate all the way through all the Scriptures constantly. Since the lists vary in length, the readings begin interweaving in constantly changing ways. You will NEVER read the same set of ten chapters together again! Every year you’ll read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the OT wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the OT History and prophetic books about 1 ½ times. Since the interweaving is constantly changing, you will experience the Bible commenting *on itself* in constantly changing ways -- the Reformer's principle of 'scriptura interpretans scripturam' -- 'scripture interpreting scripture' IN ACTION!
After you’ve read any particular book once or twice, your speed in that book usually *doubles or triples* because you’re familiar with it and can move quickly and confidently -- because you are no longer merely decoding the text but thinking it through in the context of all of the scripture! Acts 20:27. Even an ‘average’ reader, if focusing on moving through the text, rather than trying to figure everything out, can usually do this in about an hour a day – 5-6 minutes per chapter. If it is taking you longer, then you are ‘reading wrong’ – stay relaxed, focus, and just keep it moving. Moderate but consistent speed is the key. This is "gross anatomy" -- looking at the whole body; you're *not* closely studying organs or systems or tissues or cells -- it is *not* microbiology. BUT -- microbiology and the study or organs makes more sense when you know what the *whole* structure of the human body is like, and how all the parts, large and small, relate in perfect interdependence. After just a few days the reading gets *much* easier; in a month it will be a habit, and in six months you’ll wonder how you ever survived before on such a slim diet of the WORD. And then -- you'll tell others to start the system!
I began in 1983 as a new Christian and have now read (most of) the Bible hundreds and hundreds of times. You also need to get ONE Bible, keep it, and do all your reading in it, so you learn where everything is. I’ve had the same Bible since 1983 and I know it intimately. If you keep switching Bibles, you ‘lose’ this intimacy with the text. Find a translation and format you like and stick with it. THIS IS CRUCIAL.
When I was flown out by Masters for a 3-day interview/theological-grilling process, the culmination was of course being ushered in to Dr. John MacArthur's private study, which is where he asked me this one question: "Can I see your Bible?" I thought he would be horrified, because it looked like it had been through a typhoon -- it looked unloved and neglected. Something from a dumpster. It was unbound, with stringy mess and paper debris hanging out. I was so embarrassed. I thought he would chastise me and recommend I get a new study Bible if I was serious about the Word. (No doubt which study Bible he would recommend!!!) He flipped through it and handed it to his wife and said "If your Bible is falling apart, you probably aren't." I was basically hired on the spot.
Your Bible is the only thing on Earth that, as you wear it out, will actually work better and better.
THE TEN LISTS:
List 1 (89 days)
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
List 2 (187 days)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
List 3 (78 days)
Romans, I&II Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, Hebrews
List 4 (65 days)
I&II Thess, I&II Tim, Titus, Philemon, James, I&II Peter, I,II&III John, Jude, Revelation
List 5 (62 days)
Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
List 6 (150 days)
List 7 (31 days)
List 8 (249 days)
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings, I&II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
List 9 (250 days)
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
List 10 (28 days)
If you are wondering why you should read Acts (or Proverbs) all the way through *every single month* then -- you've just shown that you NEED to read them that much!
*Put these instructions in your Bible and review them from time to time*
SECRETS TO SUCCESS WITH THIS SYSTEM:
• Read one chapter from each list each day, in one sitting or two. At the end of a book, go to the next book. At the end of the list – start it again. Do it in the order given above.
• Read quickly (without “speed reading”) in order to get the overall sense. Read as fast as you comfortably can with moderate retention. You’re not studying deeply or memorizing; shoot for 5-6 minutes per chapter. At the end of a chapter, move immediately to the next list.
• GET THROUGH THE TEXT – no dawdling, back-reading, looking up cross-references!
• There are different ‘kinds’ of reading: super-quick skimming, careful moderate-paced, studying the text, deep meditation. You should be between the first and second kind.
• Most people decrease their time spent and increase their retention after just two-three weeks! I now read and retain the entire text of Matthew in 35 minutes, Romans in 20, Genesis in *one hour*!
• Don’t look up anything you ‘don’t get’ – real understanding will come through contextualizing by reading a LOT of scripture over time. Get through the text!
• If you miss a day or two – OK, get over it, then keep going. Don’t cover yourself in sackcloth and ashes and quit! Move the bookmarks along, to find your place(s) quickly next day.
Heb 4:12;5:11-14; Eph 5:26; 6:17; Col 3:16; 2 Tim 3:16; Psalm 119; Ezra 8; Prov 3: 1-2, 10:14; Daniel 1
The goal of this system is simple, and twofold: To know scripture, and to love and obey God more!
SOLI DEO GLORIA