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Horner Bible Reading System: Further Enhancements

August 21, 2010

Update:  New Facebook discussion group for the Horner Bible Reading plan and variations on it.

My current Bible reading, as I’ve mentioned a few times before, consists of eight lists, some of which have two chapters at a time:

List 1:  Gospels, 1 or 2 chapters per day, 71 days
List 2:  Pentateuch, 1 or 2 chapters per day, 115 days
List 3:  Epistles (Romans thru Jude), 2 chapters per day, 60 days
List 4:  Job and Proverbs, 1 chapter per day, 73 days
List 5: Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon — 2 chapters per day, 85 days
List 6: Old Testament History, 2 chapters per day, 124 days
List 7:  Prophets, 2 chapters per day, 125 days
List 8:  Acts + Revelation, 1 chapter per day, 50 days

This list has brought about some good reading sets, such as the time recently when List 7 included Joel 1 and 2, followed by Acts 2 in the next list.  But then I started looking at the “lowest common multiple” factor, and realized that two of the list combinations will repeat and re-align within less than a year.  Lists 7 and 8 match up every 250 days, or every other time through the prophets list.  Lists 3 and 8 match up every 300 days — every 5th time through the epistles.  Not that many different combinations after all, at least for those three sets of readings.  A useful tool for calculating the lowest common multiples:  the Microsoft Excel LCM function, a quick way to experiment with different list lengths and find out how often the lists will re-align with each other.

After considering greater changes to Lists 3 and 8, but preferring the overall setup, I opted for a fairly minor change that will increase the “lowest common multiple” factor from 250-300 days, to several years of different reading combinations:  shift the length of lists 3 and 8 a few days, by moving 2 Peter and Jude from the general epistles list to the Acts+Revelation list (in-between Acts and Revelation in the sequence). After this change, list 3 is 58 days, and List 3 is 54 days.  It’s an arbitrary shift, though I did consider the content of the different books in coming up with this change:  2 Peter does relate to Acts (the apostle Peter), and also relates a great deal to eschatology and the Second Coming.  Jude — which comes just before Revelation in the canon for a reason, as Mark Hitchcock has put it — has similar content to 2 Peter 2, and warns about future apostasy and false teachers.  Since I only recently read 2 Peter and Jude (in list 3), I’ll implement this change in a few months on a subsequent reading through the epistles.

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