Contending For The Faith

May 13, 2009

More Bible Reading Observations

I’ve completed day 55 in the Horner Bible Reading plan, and continue to be amazed at all the cross-references and overall view of God’s word discovered through this reading plan. The cross-reference texts sometimes come a few days apart, but close enough together to remember. For instance, just five days after reading Luke 2 – a passage that ends by describing how Jesus grew in stature and favor with God and men — I read 1 Samuel 2 and an interesting, similar verse (1 Samuel 2:26) about young Samuel. Recently I read Zechariah 4, about the lampstand and two olive trees; the next day I read Revelation 11, which describes the two witnesses as being the two lampstands and two olive trees. I had learned about this parallel a few weeks ago, from a John MacArthur MP3, Revelation 11 sermon, but here I actually read the two passages, and only a day apart. This also goes to show that we need not hold rigidly to Horner’s actual ten list plan; I would not have even been reading Zechariah 4, but only the one prophecy passage of Isaiah, in the 10 list plan. Yet the overall concept still holds, of multiple genre readings that highlight the overall themes in God’s word.

A few more “gems” from recent reading:

  • 1 Samuel 5 shows some of the darker history concerning God’s covenant with Israel, when the ark is captured. The same day reading of 2 Chronicles 7 showcases the high point, the dedication of Solomon’s temple, in which was placed that same ark.
  • Review of Israel’s history is common: Judges 11 includes a reference to Moses’ time and the battles for land, and later conflict with the Ammonites. Acts 7 is Stephen’s speech to the Jews, a summary overview of a lot of their history. Now I’m reading Exodus, the beginning of the conflict with Pharoah; 1 Samuel 6 includes the Philistines talking about that past event, Pharoah hardened his heart, and then when God “treated them harshly, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way?”
  • Frequent references to the surrounding nations and their gods: Judges 9:6 mentions the “gods of Aram” (Arameans); in 2 Kings 12, they’re still dealing with the Arameans and the king of Aram

I continue to make slight changes to my actual reading. After reading through just the minor prophets this time, for next time I’ll add Ezekiel to that list — to even out the lengths of the two lists. Soon I’ll implement a switch in List 12 (Acts) to alternate between Acts and Revelation. To even out the two epistle lists without Revelation, I will move Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians from list 3 to the beginning of list 4.

Like others who’ve come to enjoy this reading plan, I cannot go back to only reading three chapters a day — the typical required reading of the typical “Bible in a year” plans. I’ve recently heard about the “Bible in 90 Days” plan, from people who prefer reading the Bible sequentially for context, and found the reading schedule online. That schedule shows even more why I prefer my multi-list reading: the 90-day plan involves reading up to 16 chapters a day, all in the same place in the Bible. Often the reading starts and ends in the middle of a chapter, and just remembering where to start and stop would be difficult to remember — print-out list definitely required. The multi-list plan is easy enough to remember, with small post-it notes at the starting point for each reading. I just move the sticky note to the end of the chapter to mark the next day’s starting point. Whereas even on the 90 day plan you don’t read any of the New Testament for the first 60 days, here I’m always reading four selections out of the New Testament. Even better, this plan has no ending point; you start each list over individually, but the overall reading continues its flow.

I do my daily readings with my “smallest” Bible, an NIV hard-back Topical Study Bible. Soon — well, in the next two months — I plan to buy a basic ESV Bible (courtesy of E-Rewards “dollars” redeemable for $15 of Borders Rewards), and that should work even better, a smaller Bible to carry around. Plus it would be nice to have an ESV version, as I’ve heard good things about the ESV translation and have read a little of it online.

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