A while back, I told you about a Bible reading plan that was developed by Prof. Grant Horner. Thanks to Tim Challies I was introduced to this plan and decided to start it at the beginning of this year. It was part of a 3650 challenge to read 10 chapters a day for the whole year.
Now, I wasn’t so much sold on the challenge as I was sold on the idea of being more consistent in reading Scripture daily. I wasn’t convinced that the underlying presuppositions of the plan were actually the best way to grow in personal knowledge of God’s word. However, it was suggested to try it for a month, and so I thought, “Why not?”
I also almost immediately made adjustments to the cycles that Prof. Horner had set up. After working with that for a while, I decided I just didn’t like the pace, especially with all the other reading I do on a daily basis. I don’t think I’m necessarily downgrading my Bible reading so I have more time in the morning to other books. I’m just re-orienting what I’m aiming to do with my personal Bible reading and making room for more focused study of Scripture alongside daily reading.
Right now, our church is moving through the Gospel of Mark, and as a newly minted small group leader, I want to make sure I’m not just breezing through the passage, and then expecting to lead a group of college students in studying and applying it well to their own lives. They always have good questions, and often are looking for further clarification on some parts of the text that are not addressed on Sundays. My hope in studying the passage more myself is that I can supplement the message on Sunday by providing more exposition but also help to make the application less abstract and more concrete for the people in our group.
Additionally, I’ve started leading two separate Bible studies for high school boys (more on that soon!). Thankfully, both are going to be going through Ephesians. But, there again, that means slower, focused study of that section of Scripture on my part. As you can imagine, the first week in one of the Bible studies involved a discussion of predestination, which is only a sign of things to come with a densely theological and practical book like Ephesians.
Lastly, for my personal reading, I feel that I need to focus on the Old Testament more. So, I’m keeping four tracks within the Old Testament for my daily readings:
- Historical (Genesis-2 Chronicles)
- Wisdom (Job, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Song of Songs)
- Prophets (Isaiah-Malachi)
The way I’m approaching it each day is to simply read however much I have time for. If it’s a more leisurely morning, then I’ll read more than one chapter in each cycle. If it’s not, then I read a chapter on each cycle. I’ve found this fits better into my overall study patterns and keeps me open to being able to take stay and linger a while in Mark and Ephesians, while I can also cover some ground in the Old Testament on a recurring basis.
This also fits better with how I understand we grow in our knowledge of Scripture. The Horner plan implies that this happens through osmosis. In some sense, if you read 10 chapters a day for a year it will infiltrate your heart and mind. But, if you’re reading so fast that you don’t have time to slow down and understand it, it might not be doing you too much good. I know many people who are very knowledgeable in what Scripture says (i.e. they know verses) but are not very knowledgeable in what Scripture teaches (i.e. they don’t understand what the verses really mean).
Since I’ve made it a point to pursue specifically growing in the latter (what the verses mean), then I need a Bible plan that allows for that kind of study. With some tinkering, I think I might have found it, but I’ll be sure and update you next month.