Through 2012 I plan to use Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System to read the Bible. This system calls for 10 chapters per day, with each chapter being drawn from a different part of the Bible. This means that over the course of 2012 anyone who uses the plan will go through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the Old Testament 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 Old Testament History and Prophetic books about 1.5 times. That is drinking from the fire hose!
I think it is good to plan to read through the Bible. I encourage us all to read through the Scriptures in a systematic methodology. I think it is good to read the Pentateuch twice. Pauls letters 4-5 times. Read through the wisdom books 6 times and the psalms twice. Read through Acts 12 times and the gospels four times.
However I have some deep reservations about this reading plan, whereby one chapter of the Bible is read on a daily basis from ten different books. Perhaps these reservations stem from personal reading and devotional habits that are peculiar to myself. Perhaps my study, devotional and worship inclination is vastly different to that of others.
On a personal level, I find its helpful to systematically read through one book of the Scriptures at a time. I can reflect deeply on its train of thought. I can meditate on the passages I have read through out the day. And I can easily come back to the book and pick up from where I left it. I like to read a verse or passage and go ‘Aha!’ and then reflect, write, and pray through what that means to me. I like to allow the word to sift and percolate through my mind, drip feeding into my heart and thereby fully absorbing the word into my inner being.
I wouldn’t be able to absorb with deep understanding the word of God if I was to read 10 chapters from 10 different books each day. Personally I would find the process distracting and confusing. I would have an ‘Aha!’ moment, only to lose it’s importance and thrust while reading the next chapter from a different book. Or, because my mind and spirit is still reflecting on the previous passage, I wouldn’t really comprehend what it is I was reading in the other chapters. To be honest, this is something that I often struggle with anyway. I will pick up the paper, a novel or even the Bible and start reading; only to discover some time later that I hadn’t comprehended what it was I was reading.
In reading God’s word, I would much rather read and encourage others to read one word, one verse, one passage, one chapter or one book with understanding, revelation, absorption and transformation; instead of reading widely with little scope for deeper understanding, revelation, absorption and transformation, which is what this plan would do for me.