Friday, December 30, 2011

Tips for using the Bookmarks Bible Reading Plan

It's been really fun to hear from people who are getting excited about Bible reading! For those who are going to use my no-dates, you're never behind,  Bookmarks Bible Reading Plan (my five bookmark lists can also be found at the very bottom of this post), I thought I'd copy in Grant Horner's Secrets to Success from his original Professor Grant Horner's Bible Reading System. I do recommend his original Ten Bookmarks plan though I'm not able to do that much reading during this season of my life. And his entire original article is worth reading for inspiration and understanding how I am using my bookmarks.

And now... The Secrets to Success
  • Read one chapter from each list each day; in one sitting or two. At the end of a book; go to the next book. At the end of the list; start it again. Do it in the order of the numbers on the bookmarks...1...2...3, etc. (Sara's note: He has stated other places that the order of the bookmarks is the least important aspect. I do like the order as it starts and ends in the New Testament and has poetry in the middle.)
  • Read quickly (without “speed-reading”) in order to get the overall sense. Read as fast as you comfortably can with moderate retention. You’re not studying deeply or memorizing; shoot for 5–6 minutes per chapter. At the end of a chapter, move immediately to the next list.
  • Get through the text— no dawdling, back reading, looking up cross-references!
  • There are different ‘kinds’ of reading: super-quick skimming, careful moderate-paced, studying the text, deep meditation. You should be between the first and second kind.
  • Most people decrease their time spent and increase their retention after just two-three weeks! I now read and retain the entire text of Matthew in 35 minutes, Romans in 20, Genesis in one hour!
  • Don’t look up anything you ‘don’t get’ — real understanding will come through contextualizing by reading a lot of scripture over time. Get through the text!
  • If you miss a day or two — ok, get over it, then keep going. Don’t cover yourself in sackcloth and ashes and quit! Move the bookmarks along, to find your place(s) quickly next day.
  • The goal of this system is simple, and twofold: To know scripture, and to love and obey God more!
Professor Grant Horner

My favorite line is "no dawdling, back reading, looking up cross-references!" I've found my retention actually increases when I take that drastic advice. :)

And remember, my personal rule of "No catching up... and no guilt!" Just find the bookmark, read, and dwell in the Word right there where the Lord has led you for this particular day. Abide with Him and enjoy His unmerited grace!  Many times in the past few months, I've only headed for my "favorite" bookmark or whichever one sounds most interesting, and just read one chapter right before total exhaustion hits at bedtime (or I'm interrupted mid-afternoon as the case may be). I think that is fine! The Lord is speaking to us through all of His inspired Word–one verse, one chapter, or five chapters at a time. The Bible wasn't written with a calendar and schedule attached. The bookmarks are designed to be ongoing and rotating no matter the pace of reading.  I started this plan originally in July. . . no dates and no pressure. I just love that part.

Again ~ anyone who'd like my five bookmarks (see the bottom of this post), just please email me at and I'll be happy to send you a pdf to print, cut out, and use (including instructions).

By the grace of our Lord Jesus, may we all be eager to enjoy the privilege of reading and dwelling in the Word, for our joy and His glory.



Sara's Five Bookmark lists, and the no-dates, you're-never-behind Bookmarks Bible Reading Plan can be found here . . .  Bookmarks Bible Reading Plan.

My original post on why FIVE Bookmarks, where the idea came from, and my thinking on it... can be found here.

(Sara's Five Bookmark Lists can also be found right below this picture of the bookmarks!)

Sara’s Five Bookmarks • 

Read one chapter per day, per bookmark. At the end of a book, start the next book on the bookmark. At the end of the bookmark list, go back to the beginning.  Use one bookmark, two bookmarks, or five - just keep moving the bookmarks a chapter at a time. If you miss a day or more… no catching up! Just find your bookmarks and dwell in the Word right where He has led you.

1. Gospels and Acts •  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts ( 117 chapters) 

2. Books of Moses and Psalms • Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Psalms • (337 chapters)  
Note: I recommend starting with Psalms if you are beginning this in January and you've tried many plans over the years - just to avoid reading Genesis again first, in the dead of winter.

3. Poetry and Prophets • Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi  • (312 chapters) 

4. Wisdom and History • Proverbs, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther • (280 chapters) 

5. New Testament Epistles • Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, Jude, Revelation • (145 chapters) 

Email me at if you'd like the Five Bookmarks .pdf  to print and cut out at home (plus instructions).

Bookmarks adapted from:
Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System – Ten Lists Plan
(Which I highly recommend if you can read ten chapters a day!) His system is fully explained in this document…. He encourages the sharing of his system and his bookmark lists :

Romans 15:5 ~
 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  


Katie P said...

I like the flexibility and variety of this 'system'. And I like that it doesn't feel like a system-no pressure. Thanks for sharing this Sara!

Abigail said...

Wonderful Sara! I love your no guilt plan! Delighting ourselves in the time in the Word granted to us each day.. what a treasure!

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