I recently finished reading through the entire Gospels for the third time since November-ish (among other parts of the Bible; Proverbs a number of times, Psalms through once, through the Pentateuch a second time, etc.), and it has a lot to do with a Bible-reading plan I’ve been on since then. I use Grant Horner’s plan, which divides the Bible into 10 lists, and I read one chapter from each of the lists, reading a total of 10 chapters a day. I’ve customized it a little bit for myself, but it’s essentially the same list. It takes me roughly 20-30 min (depending on my alertness when I read), and I’m glad I’ve been able to keep up with it. To be fair, there have been days when I’ve missed reading, days when I’ve only read 4-5 chapters from the list, and days when I simply read just to get through it (without much insight gained from what I’ve read). But I figure it’s better than not doing it at all, and in spite of the stumbles, the overall benefit is great.
I think that most of us who care about bible-reading fail at it because of a lack of a plan. Before I sit down to write an essay, I’ve planned out for the most part my main thesis, my general outline (which ends up getting edited in the process), and what my general arguments are for defending my thesis statement. Or, to use a different analogy, when I work out at the gym, I don’t go in and randomly select machines to work on for a random amount of time, until I get tired. I know exactly what I’m targeting (usually day 1 of the week consists of targeting chest and tricep, day 2 is biceps and back, day 3 is shoulders, etc). Those who randomly select machines do not see much fruit (some might argue my workout plan hasn’t yielded much fruit either, but that’s a different topic!). In any case, we come up with plans all the time when we want to accomplish something. So why not with bible-reading? It doesn’t have to be the one I use. In fact, if 10 chapters are too much to start with, I might recommend the following plan, which requires 4 chapters a day (list 1: Genesis-Deuteronomy; list 2: Joshua-Malachi; list 3: Matthew-Acts; list 4: Romans-Revelation; reading one chapter from each list here). But either way, if you care about getting deeper into God’s Word, you should plan for it.
3 thoughts on “Bible Reading Plans: Fruitful or Failure?”
Glad you brought this up as it’s an important topic and I, for one, have always struggled to establish some sort of structure to my Bible reading plans. I think some Christians have the expectation that they can just read Scripture in random disjointed fragments and glean application. Personally, I think creating a structure for Bible reading and seeing it a discipline is just as vital as what we take from it. Like you mentioned, most of the things we invest time in, e.g, work, school, gym, require building discipline. I guess it all boils down to our attitude in how we approach Bible readings: whether it’s something we do sporadically, or it becomes second nature through having a structure/plan.
Have you ever used plans focusing on themes, persons, or events? Good post!
Good additional insights! I’m not really aware of a lot of reading plans that are out there, but they sound interesting.