Home > Bible Software, Horner Bible Reading Plan, S. Lewis Johnson > Reflecting on the Horner Bible Reading Plan: Bible Reading as a Way of Life

Reflecting on the Horner Bible Reading Plan: Bible Reading as a Way of Life


It’s been almost a year since I began using the Horner Bible Reading Plan, a ten-list genre plan.

Officially I am on day 330, though at this point that number is meaningless. My list of readings now barely resembles what the actual “day 330” would be. As others have also noted, though, the plan is very adaptable and flexible. Most importantly, the Horner Bible Reading Plan helped me get “out of the box” of standard once-a-year Bible reading plans, to read the Bible much more frequently and to read it more naturally, like any other favorite book. Just as I tend to read several different books at the same time, going back and forth between them, so here I follow along with several different stories and doctrinal books, keeping up with each one while often finding parallels and similar themes.

For the first several months I kept close to Horner’s original plan (only exception: I split the history and prophets into two shorter lists, for 12 chapters a day) and read through Proverbs, Acts, and the Job-Ecclesiastes-Song of Solomon lists several times. Then, like others who have continued with this system, I began modifications to read through certain books more frequently for special emphasis: for instance, adding Revelation to the “Acts” list. After twice completing the 150-day Psalms list, I rearranged the wisdom lists to read the Psalms more frequently (two Psalms per day). After completing the Pentateuch list in 187 days, I shortened it for the next time by reading 2 chapters at a time.

Grant Horner emphasizes using the same Bible, as a way to really get familiar with “your” Bible, to know where everything is on each page. Perhaps after several years of this system I will reach that point, but in this last year I explored many different reading techniques. I began with the NIV translation, the only version I then owned in print-versions, using a hardcover “NIV Topical Study Bible” with its somewhat larger print (as compared to my other Bible, the NIV Study Bible). Along the way I found the topical notes, interspersed throughout the pages, a distraction. Last summer I looked into Bible software programs, e-Sword and “The Word,” and for several months read the ESV, but on a computer screen and using software bookmarks. But on weekends, with limited access to the home PC, often I would switch back to NIV (the NIV Study Bible. Switching back and forth between the Bible software on two different PCs (one at work, one at home), and then switching to the NIV print Bible on weekends, meant more time keeping up with bookmarks. More recently, I purchased an ESV Large Print Bible, and now use it regularly; it is much simpler, one book and one set of bookmarks.

Horner also emphasizes “just reading” without any pauses for further study. I generally do so, yet often I read the footnotes. When I read on the computer program, the numerous small reference symbols (which show other scripture references when you mouse-over them) tended to distract. Though this is strictly a “reading” plan, the readings have prompted further study, and now the S. Lewis Johnson book study series provide a nice extension to several of my readings — such as the series I’m currently listening to, the book of Acts. Now as I re-read Genesis again (starting the third time through the Pentateuch) I remember many of his observations from that series, which I completed recently.

The continual reading and cycling back through each list brings more familiarity, and often I am only a few days or less than a month away from a particular passage. Earlier this month, for instance, I read Hebrews 10, which includes a quote from Psalm 40; less than a week later I read Psalm 40, and recognized the verses from the Hebrews passage. A guest speaker at church last night referenced 1 Peter 2 — which I had only read the day before.

God’s word is such a treasure, and I enjoy my reading time each day, in which I remember great treasures and find words of comfort as well as exhortation. Reading the Bible in this manner is just a part of everyday life, as I continue each selection from the previous day —
not a “task” to complete a certain reading for each day in the year. I could never return to the limited diet of such task-structured plans.

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