Friday, January 8, 2021

First Impressions of the Professor Horner's Bible Reading Plan

So the Bible reading plan that I am experimenting with this year is Professor Horner. It has readers reading from ten different books of the Bible--one chapter from each book, for a total of ten chapters. On the surface, it looks like this would be a great way to orient yourself to the Word of God. There are two books that you'll read twelve times--but every word of God gets read at least a couple of times. There are ten book marks and at the start of the plan they are in Genesis, Joshua, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Matthew, Acts, Romans, and 1 Thessalonians. 

But. I don't see myself sticking with this plan long if I stick with the original Horner system. Why??? Because the Bible isn't meant to be read like that. Okay, okay, that might sound super, super harsh. Like there is only one right way to read the Word of God and Horner's system is definitely not it. That's not what I'm saying--not really. I don't believe in a one size fits all Bible reading plan. I don't even believe in a one size fits most Bible reading plan.

But I do know a little something about reading in general....and a little something about the Bible.

Imagine if someone liked literature but set out on a quest to LOVE literature. Imagine telling that someone that the best way to become well read is to read ONE CHAPTER A DAY from ten different classics. Now this could be ten works by ten different authors. Or ten works by one author. 

But can you imagine a person sitting down every day reading David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Our Mutual Friend, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, A Tale of Two Cities, Dombey and Son, and A Christmas Carol. (Christmas Carol would be read multiple times because it's so good.) Would the person benefit MORE from reading ALL of Dicken's greatest works ALL AT THE SAME TIME IN SHORT SNIPPETS,   OR would the person benefit MORE from reading Dickens one book at a time? It seems obvious. At least to me. You would get greater appreciation, greater comprehension, a better overall experience by reading each book on its own. Ten chapters read from the same book would lead to a better connection intellectually and emotionally than ten chapters from ten different books. True one might miss on seeing threads of Dickens themes that cross multiple books. But for the most part, one would be better off focusing on one book at a time. 

True this requires imagination and some allowances to be made. Chapters from the Bible are typically one to two pages. It would take a reader about twenty minutes to read ten chapters from the Bible. Reading Dickens would require a much bigger time commitment. I know it's a bit apples and oranges. 

But if we wouldn't recommend reading ten Shakespeare plays all at the same time, or ten novels by Dickens, or ten mystery novels by Christie (can you imagine trying to keep all the clues separate and distinct???) so that you can move quickly through a body of work--why would we do that with the BOOK OF BOOKS, the Ultimate Book, the very Word of God. 

Now I repeat I am not saying that this is a WRONG way to approach Bible reading. I am saying it may not be the best way. 

I DO believe in reading from more than one book in the Bible at a time. I believe that you could read from the Old Testament, Psalms and/or Proverbs, and the New Testament every single day of your life with great benefit. One would always stay grounded to the big picture of the Bible; one would cover the whole Bible cover to cover. One wouldn't be "stuck" in a difficult place. 

Are we reading the Bible to say we've read it? Or are we engaging with what we read? 

So how am I thinking of modifying Horner's plan? Well, I will either keep it as a background plan and emphasize other bulkier plans--right now I'm reading the Bible in 90 days and doing Horner. OR I might change it so that I read two or three chapters from each of the ten bookmarks so that I pick up some momentum and the chapters actually flow together. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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