A Bible Reading Plan that Has
Worked Wonderfully Well for Me…
I have just completed reading the entire Old Testament in 90 days. During the same period I read the New Testament three times. The average time it took to do this reading was 35 minutes and 27 seconds (calculated from detailed records kept in an Excel file). I might add that during three weeks in July, I was in Indonesia and yet was able easily to complete the scheduled readings.
I consider that amount of time that I spent in reading God’s Word to have been some of the most useful and valuable time I have ever spent. I have now set up the system on my computers which will allow me to read the entire Bible four times per year and to read the New Testament an additional 8 times each year using up an average of only 35 minutes and 27 seconds. I am totally convinced that this will be an ongoing and continual part of my daily schedule so long as I am able to read.
I would like to encourage anyone interested in doing the same thing to set up a similar system. I will go into great detail about my system. You may want to adapt it in different ways to make it your system. This one works fine for me.
First, I have been reading the New Testament monthly for several years. Further, I have been reading it by the method of listening to audio files on my computer and reading the Bible text off of the screen. If this is new to you, you might take some time adjusting to it. Some people complain about reading text off of a computer monitor, but I do tons of reading off of a monitor and have no problems with it. There is a marvelous piece of equipment that I have added in the past few months which assists my method of reading immensely, and that is a 22-inch monitor. I can use my Logos Bible software at 200% magnification and do the reading with great ease. However, I also have the same Bible-reading setup on my laptop and am able to read it just fine on the smaller screen, as well, when I am away from the office.
The thing about my system which may be quite different from others is that I have “speeded up” my audio-playback of the 1189 chapters of the Bible in such a way that it takes ½ of the time that normal playback requires. No, it was not sped up in the fashion that the sound was like the chipmunks at Christmas time. With a wonderful FREE software program called AUDACITY, I have been able to change the TEMPO and the result is a very easy to understand and normal-sounding voice, yet one which requires a great deal of concentration on the text before you in order to keep up. In my opinion, this is a tremendous AID to my Bible reading and would be to yours!!! It took a great amount of time for me to speed up all 1189 chapters of the mp3 Bible I used. Initially, I did it as I was reading each chapter. With that vast body of work done, my reading is much more enjoyable.
My starting point was the KJV Audio Bible, narrated by Eric Martin, which is contained on 2 CDs. It is published by Jodacom International, Inc. I googled and found a website where it can be purchased for $19.95. I have absolutely no financial interest in that site, but am providing it for your benefit. I do not always read with my eyes the same version my ears are hearing. Most of my reading during this past 90-day period was from the ESV. In other words, I was listening in the KJV and reading text on the screen in the ESV. The reason I give this website information is that I anticipate someone might ask me for copies of my sped-up Bible files. The only way I could conscientiously send them to someone would be if they agreed to purchase that set of CDs, because I would think it to be copyright violation otherwise. Additionally, I would need to be reimbursed for cost of CD and shipping.
Another part of my plan is the reading “chunks.” How do you divide up the reading? For the New Testament, I followed a plan which I have been following for many years. It is NOT in Bible order, but what I consider to be a good order for reading. The average reading time for the New Testament portion is 17:36; the average reading time for the Old Testament portion is 17:51. If the reading is done at normal speed, the total would be: 70:54… NT=35:12; OT=35:42. For the Old Testament, I followed Bible order. I did not attempt to space it out evenly, but stuck with ten chapters except for the Poetical books and some of the Minor Prophets, where I used 11 chapters per reading.
I used Excel to list the daily readings for a year. I set columns to record the amount of time taken for each reading (NT, OT, Total + Total Chapters). The time figures came from Windows Explorer. If you place each NT and OT reading in its own folder, you can highlight the files within a folder and Windows Explorer will tell you at the bottom how many files there are and the total time needed to play each folder. Each morning, I will open the Excel file to find what is to be read and will put an X in the appropriate column when I have finished the reading.
There also is a very helpful FREE software program called KeyBreeze which I use to great benefit in my Bible reading as well as all of my other computer usage. KeyBreeze is a shortcut device for computer files. I have my Bible audio files (31 New Testament folders, and 90 Old Testament ones) in the folder “KJV-Fast.” So, when I get ready to read the Bible, I hit the semi-colon on the keyboard, which opens up KeyBreeze; then I hit KJV-Fast (actually only have to hit kj) and that folder opens up. Then I hit the down-arrow-key till I am highlighting the appropriate folder to be read. I hit Enter to open that folder. I hit Control + A to highlight all of the audio files in that folder and then hit Enter. This will open up those particular files in my audio program, WinAmp and they begin playing. I have the individual audio files named in such a way that they open in Bible order. So if I have my Bible program open to the right text, WinAmp will begin playing the file and I will begin reading off of the screen the words of that text. I read until the audio stops.
If you have questions about this plan, I would be happy to try to explain further. I truly believe that one of the MOST NEEDED things in the world today is AVID BIBLE READERS!!!