Try it: Read the Bible the Horner Way
by Patty Morwood
Several years ago I stumbled upon a reading plan created by a very wise man – Dr. Horner – from The Master’s Seminary in California, where he is associate professor of Renaissance and Reformed Studies. Though he specializes in these eras, I believe his true love is the Word of God.
Dr. Horner has created a solid Bible reading plan that can be completed in one – two years and I promise you will see new and enriched perspectives upon your completion. Trust me - just try it!
It’s a little different from what you have used before. I know; I did it for five years, intrigued every day with the insight I was gaining by using this very different approach.
The best way to describe it is to say that with my own eyes and in my own spirit, I experienced the Bible commenting on itself as I simply read; I wasn’t looking elsewhere for the same topic or doctrine. It was just happening because that is what the Bible does - I guess I didn’t realize it before and it was a delightful discovery!
The Bible echoing itself.
You’ll also notice how the books are grouped. You will be reading wisdom, history, theological, poetic, biographical books all at the same time; and Old Testament at the same time you read the New Testament. Each and every day.
From Dr. Horner:
“I began in 1983 as a new Christian and have now read most of the Bible hundreds and hundreds of times … 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.”
“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 you like and stick with it – this is crucial! Your Bible is the only thing on Earth that, as you wear it out, will actually work better and better.”
This reading program will move you through the Bible, a chapter at a time and a book at a time from each of ten categories (below). This is usually a 40 minute-a-day endeavor. As you continue to focus only on what you are reading, you will eventually be able to read ten chapters in one sitting, in a reasonable amount of time.
So get comfortable, relax, give it your attention. Moderate speed that is consistent is the key to not taking too long. Do not read closely or study the footnotes or go for your lexicon/commentaries; the purpose is to observe the overview of redemptive history, and you do that by just reading with an alert mind. If you take longer than 40 minutes after a few weeks, you are probably taking rabbit trails.
Read one chapter from each list in one or two sittings a day (or every other day). At the end of a book, go to the next book on that list. At the end of the list, start it over again. Do it in the order listed below.
For example, the first day you will read Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, 1 Thessalonians 1, Job 1, Psalm 1, Proverb 1, Joshua 1, Isaiah 1, Acts 1.
So let’s say you finish Matthew, then you will go on to Mark, but in the mean-time you are still in Genesis in List 2. By the time you finish Romans in List 3, you'll have already read almost all of the letters in List 4. And so on.
Read quickly without speed reading in order to get the overall sense. Read as fast as you comfortably can with moderate retention. I have found reading aloud helps me go through the list in less time.
No dawdling, back reading, chasing cross-references; this program is just what it says: reading. And there are different ways to read: super-quick skim, moderate-paced focused reading, study-reading, and deep meditation-reading; you should be somewhere between the first and second.
If you miss a day or two just pick up where you left off! Use a bookmark to track what you read each sitting; I fold an 8X11 sheet of paper in fourths lengthwise and write down the date and chapters read each day so I can pick up right where I need to.
And now that we’ve covered all the details, I think you’re ready to get reading! Here's the order of the lists:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews
1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1&2 Peter, 1,2&3 John, Jude, Revelation
Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
The goal is simple: Know Scripture, love and obey God more!!
Good luck, friend!
Dr. Grant Horner is Associate Professor, The Master’s College
His focused area of expertise is the Literature, Theology, and Philosophy of the Renaissance and Reformation, with a primary concentration in Milton, Shakespeare, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, and late-sixteenth and seventeenth century poetry and prose.
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