Grant Horner’s Bible reading plan takes the reader through 10 different sections of the Bible one chapter at a time. The profit of reading 10 chapters of the Bible per day should be evident to any Christian. Or, it should be. Reading 10 chapters a day, though, can be something of a challenge. The plan has at least two built-in features that offer some aid: first, you are reading in different parts of Scripture every day; 2)the reading sections are all different lengths, meaning you will never read the same thing twice. A secondary aid for those who like to read through the Bible every year is that Horner’s plan is not tied to a calender. You can start any time and in the back of your mind is always the knowledge that if you miss a day or two, or a section or two, you are still going to get through the Bible. Here is the plan laid out by Horner (the number following each section refers to the amount of chapters):
Rom.-Col, Hebrews 78
1 Thess-Phil, James-Rev 65
Job, Eccl, Song 62
This is the plan I used in 2011 for my Bible reading. And I returned to it again this year with slight modification.
I have two issues with Horner’s original plan. The Old Testament readings have a major flaw: the imbalance between the Job-Song and the Prophets groupings. Job and Ecclesiastes are great books and can’t be read enough. But look at the size imbalance between those two sections and consider the implications. Is reading Song of Solomon four times for every time you read one of the Prophets really that profitable? How many times does the New Testament refer to Song of Solomon, and how many times to the prophets?
In the New Testament readings, there is just some tinkering. It is hard to know what to do with the epistles. You would like to keep all of Paul’s together and all of the generals together, but this results in an imbalance of 87 chapters for the Pauline Epistles and 56 for the General Epistles. It loses some of the balance Horner’s plan provides. So I like the balance of Horner’s groupings, but I am not too fond of having Hebrews read in a group with Paul. I also think Colossians and Philemon should be in the same reading group.
The basis for my Old Testament revision is theological- I think Horner’s original is faulty. The basis for my New Testament revision is practical – I think Horner’s plan is okay, but could be better.
Here is what I came up with:
Rom-2 Thess, Philemon (read immediately after Colossians) 74
1 Tim-Titus, Hebrews-Rev 69
Job, Eccl, Song, The Twelve (Minor Prophets) 129
For the Old Testament portion, this plan will have you reading each of the prophets twice in one year except once. (And reading Job, Eccl., and Song twice instead of four-five times.) The New Testament portion keeps the balance (actually improves it a bit) while keeping all of the General Epistles together. It still breaks up Paul,but at least does it in a more natural way: keeping all of the “church” epistles and “pastoral” epistles together.
A more radical New Testament reorganization would be:
John, 1-3 John, Revelation (50)
Matt, Mark, Hebrews, James, 1, 2 Peter, Jude (71)
Pauline Epistles (87)
While more radical, it is also much more “logical.” While there are advantages to Reading Acts every month, there is something to be said for a little more balance in the New Testament.