My personal 39 year long 'intensive bible study' program...

ShotgunBill's picture

In early 1975, while reading Watchman Nee's biographical "Against the Tide", I came across a statement that went much like this..."Watchman Nee stated that he figured to read the entire New Testament each month".

Such a minor sounding statement over which to take and alter one's life so completely. But that's exactly what I did. I said then to myself, "If Watchman Nee could read the entire New Testament once monthly, then God willing, I would read and study the entire New Testament TWICE a month".

Taking that goal, and by way of a serious commitment making it practical produced the following method I call "A NEW INTENSIVE METHOD OF BIBLE STUDY".

First, some general principles; I divide the New Testament into a series of twenty chapters a day. And I do it in such a way as to equalize insofar as possible, the time element in my daily study. That means then, that I start with the first ten chapters of Matthew, and the first ten chapters of 1 Corinthians (although over the years, I've many times started at Matthew and continued right on through). After all, twenty chapters of Luke, or the Acts for instance, are very time consuming. So by doing ten in Luke, coupled with ten in some of Paul's letters, it gives me an approximate average of something over an hour a day, of reading and study. Please note, that I work a fulltime job, and have numerous other time consuming interests as well.

And, for the first 15 years or so, I would choose at least one, and sometimes two or three, very specific subjects or issues. I would take these and note down every word the New Testament has to say about them. That gives me today, a very voluminous collection of New Testament references to any subject which has in past, or does today, interest me.

Finally, by way of principle, I always follow each and every reference relating to the Old Testament when doing my daily study. Naturally, that has somewhat fallen aside as my knowledge of the Old Testament has in many ways come along on a pace commensurate with my knowledge of the New Testament.

You'll note this study method leaves 1 day out of 14 free. Call it a semi-weekly bible 'sabbath' or 'hiatus' if you like. However, on this day, which on my 'cycle' ends up being every other Sunday, I read forums (particularly bible history), the Old Testament, and other books of consummate interest to me (now spending much time in the writings of the Brethren Movement for instance). You'll also note that some days do not exactly equal 20 chapters, but maybe something a bit more, or a bit less. This is in order to insure I read as many whole books as possible. For instance, on the first Thursday, while reading my standard ten chapters of Mark, I actually read 12 chapters in Galatians and Ephesians so that I read them as a whole.


Day 1) Matt 1-Matt 10 1Cor 1-1Cor 10 (Monday)
Day 2) Matt 11-Matt 20 1Cor 11-2Cor 4 (Tuesday)
Day 3) Matt 21-Mark 2 2Cor 5-2Cor 13 (Wednesday)
Day 4) Mark 3-Mark 12 Gal 1-Eph 6 (Thursday)
Day 5) Mark 13-Luke 6 Phil 1-Col 4 (Friday)
Day 6) Luke 7-Luke 16 1Th 1-1Tim 3 (Saturday)
Day 7) Luke 17-John 2 1Tim 4-Phil (Sunday)
Day 8) John 3-John 12 Heb 1-Heb 10 (Monday)
Day 9 John 13-John 21 Heb 11-James 5 (Tuesday)
Day 10) Acts 1-Acts 10 1Pet 1-1John 5 (Wednesday)
Day 11) Acts 11-Acts 20 2John-Rev 7 (Thursday)
Day 12) Acts 21-Rom 2 Rev 8-Rev 18 (Friday)
Day 13 Rom 3- Rom 16 Rev 19-Rev 22 (Saturday)

In this time of two jobs and masses of activity and 'things that must be done' faced by virtually any man, woman or child, I cannot imagine a method of study more attuned to imparting into oneself, the Word of God. Coupled with fasting and prayer, it will lead in due time, to a strong spirit, and intimate knowledge of God in life and living.

I had planned, back in those long days of spring 1975, to read the New Testament, after this method, at least 1,000 times before departing this life. To date, given that I read the New Testament 26 times a year, I've managed to reach 1,008 cycles or readings, am now in the middle of my 1,009th cycle. God has graciously allowed me this privilege, this honor, this simple offering beyond what I had planned or asked. God willing, I will be doing my daily study, while drawing my last breath, on that day when I can enter into that bright door of eternal life, leaving this temporary abode behind. MLK.