15 December 2013

Bible Reading Plans

One of the most important habits I have developed in my life is regular Bible study.  Every December, I try to put out a list of what I think are good Bible reading plans.  I have done a variety of these plans over the years--MacArthur, Horner, Meditative Plan, and How to Master the English Bible. The plan I have been following now is (roughly) the one I created listed near the bottom of the list. 

The One Year Bible--This is a fine option. You know exactly what to read each day. You need a special Bible though and it isn't organized like a regular Bible, a distinctive drawback, as far as I am concerned.

M'Cheyne--You will be reading sections from 4 different places each day and if you follow it, you will go through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice.

John MacArthur approach--MacArthur's method is to read through the Old Testament straight through, a few chapters a day, and then start over again when you reach the end.  The New Testament is handled a little differently. You break each book into sections of chapters (4-6) and read each section once a day for a whole month.  So, for example, you would read Romans 1-5 every day for a month. Then the next month you might read Romans 6-11 and finally, in the third month, you would read Romans 12-16.

Meditative plan--This is a great plan from my good friend Eric Johnson, a Christian psychologist and one of the godliest men I know. This plan encourages meditating more deeply upon God's word. 

Grant Horner approach--When I first encountered this plan, I was deeply influenced by it.  You read a lot of Bible and over time.

Horner Lite--I adjusted the Horner plan so that you would be reading from five places per day. This allows slightly more meditative reading. The sections include: 1) History--Genesis through Esther, 2) Wisdom--Job through Song of Solomon, 3) Prophecy--Isaiah through Malachi, 4) Gospels + Acts, and 5) the Epistles--Romans through Revelation.  You would approach this in the same way you approached the Horner plan. When you finish a section, you start it over. It will take about a year and a half to get through the first section. You will get through the wisdom literature and prophetic literature about 1.5 times in the year. You will get through the gospels and acts just over 3 times. You would get through the epistles about 2.5 times.

How to master the English Bible--This is based on a book by James Gray (1851-1935). I read the book. I am amazed that Gray was able to publish a whole book about this plan, because the program boils down to pick a book of the Bible, read it through, repeat 20 times. 

Another plan I created--I still think this is a good plan that gets you reading in a number of different places.  Check it out and see how it combines a few other approaches.

I would also happily recommend just picking up a Bible and reading through, cover to cover. This is particularly pleasurable with a "Reader's Bible."

Tolle Lege--take up and read.  It will change your life.

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