I had long struggled with sticking to Bible reading plans. They seemed ineffectual, almost useless. Most of them offered up tiny bits of Bible reading that left me thinking, “Well, that was a nice snack.” But I was still hungry.
So I tried some of the genre reading charts out there; a big improvement, but still not right. They had me gorging some days and snacking others. They just didn’t have a consistent feel to them.
Something was lacking, until I stumbled on Tim Challie’s post: Ten Chapters per Day, which seemed like an overwhelming amount to me. But I thought, “Why not?”I was hungry! And I’ve been using it ever since; the last couple of years with my own adaptations.
How it works…
The Professor’s plan is a Bible genre plan, which means readings are divided by their literature style. But it’s unlike any plan I’ve seen, in that you consistently read 10 chapters each day. 10 chapters from 10 different books of the Bible concurrently.
It’s divided into these sections: the Gospels, the Pentateuch, Epistles (Romans through Colossians plus Hebrews), more Epistles (1 Thessalonians through Revelation minus Hebrews), OT wisdom, Psalms, Proverbs, OT history, the prophets, and Acts. So each day you’ll be reading one chapter from each of these sections. For instance, on day 1 you’d read: Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, 1 Thessalonians 1, Job 1, Psalms 1, Proverbs 1, Joshua 1, Isaiah 1, and Acts 1. You read through each of these books (one chapter per day), then move on through the other books in that section. And then repeat that section all over again, while keeping on with all the others in the same fashion.
What’s special about this plan?
You read through the entire Bible more than once, and some parts several times. The Gospels 4 times, the Pentateuch twice, the epistles 4-5 times each, the OT wisdom literature 6 times, the Psalms twice, Acts and Proverbs 12 times, and the OT history and prophetic books about 1½ times.
But to quote Professor Grant himself: “The very best effect it has is rapid, broad-scale contextualizing across both testaments and all the different biblical genres. Did you know about all the similarities between Ecclesiastes and 2 Corinthians? How about the relationship between Deuteronomy and Matthew? It is like no other system that way, and it provides constant variety (which humans love) as well as consistent conviction (which humans hate).”
From chore to joy!
10 chapters sounds like quite the chore, doesn’t it? If you’ve found Bible reading a chore in the past, perhaps you think, “No way!!” Yet, we all know Bible reading should be a joy, not a chore, right? Then what’s wrong?
That’s what I asked myself. And I found the answers in this plan. I don’t understand why, but it has turned Bible reading into a real joy! As Tim Challies says, “It’s unique among the systems I’ve attempted in that it requires more reading and yet somehow makes all that reading seem so much easier, enjoyable and attainable.”
I’ve found that I also retain more of what I read. And I also like the fact that it offers great flexibility. When I have extra time, I double up and read 20 chapters! If time is short, I do 5 chapters, and finish up the next day. The important thing is to keep going!
How have I adapted it?
First I made the epistle sections easier for me to remember. The first covers Romans through 1 Thessalonians, and the second does 2 Thessalonians through Revelation. Which takes me through them 5 times.
And the Psalms section includes Proverbs, as I found monthly reading of them heavy. This still allows me to read the Psalms twice, as before, and Proverbs twice too. And it also left me with only 9 chapters.
So my 10th chapter?
I choose whichever book I’m having trouble understanding, or happen to be studying. And I stick with it until I get a grip on it. I’m currently doing Romans, which for some reason has always been a hard book for me to grasp. And I do find that it’s helping!
Some tips (taken from Professor Horner):
- Read quickly enough that you get the overall sense of what you’re reading. But slow enough to understand and retain it. (About 5-6 minutes per chapter is good.) A middle road between speed reading and deep meditation.
- Remember that this plan is not for Bible study or memorization. It’s for reading-through-the-Bible. So no dawdling, no looking back, no cross-referencing.
- Don’t look up anything you don’t understand. Real comprehension will come through contextualizing. Reading ALOT of Scripture over time.
- If you miss a day or two, don’t worry. Just get back on track!
There is a place and need for both Bible study and memorization, and this plan is not meant to replace them. Rather, I think it’s a great aid to them, as it creates greater hunger for God’s Word. The more we eat, the more we seem to want. And this is one food we can never get too much of!
I highly recommend this plan. And the great news is you don’t have to wait for the new year. You can start any time.