[Below is from Chapter 4 of my book, Power Read the Bible]
“Power Reading” is a different kind of Bible engagement. It’s the opposite of scripture memory or meditation or deep dive Bible study, which all require intense focus on a limited portion of text.
Power reading is sort of like watching an NFL football game in fifteen minutes. I’m told that an actual NFL game can be viewed in only eleven minutes. The rest of the three-plus hours of network programming is time in the huddle, calling plays, and just running off the clock… it’s commercials… it’s the camera panning the crowd, the sidelines, the cheerleaders or Jerry Jones in his suite.
The Power Read is a “keep moving” reading experience. The goal isn’t to understand everything. The benefits are different—familiarity, big-picture view, making the Bible smaller and less intimidating.
For many, it’s a first time to experience the full Bible at once.
It takes practice to learn to read quickly. The natural tendency is to slow down for greater reading comprehension. But there are lots of chapters to cover each day.
Discipline is necessary to keep moving.
Power reading is more art than science
You’ll learn to figure out what works for you as you start reading. The first week of the reading plan, you’ll get a feel for how much time you’ll need to invest each day. I suggest starting with one hour of reading each day. You may need more. Or you might need less.
As a general rule, read quickly! However, some sections should be read more carefully and less rapidly than others. And other sections will be like weaving in and out of traffic to get to the next destination.
To help you with your reading pace, I’ve provided a Pace Chart that’s imbedded in the Reading Plan. Take a look at Chapter 7.
I recommend three different speeds:
Speed 1 – This is the slowest speed, yet still what I consider “comfortably fast.”
You’re reading quickly, sounding out most every word in your mind as your eyes float across the page.
Speed 3 –This is the fastest speed, sort of like high-paced skimming. It’s rushed reading. You’re not necessarily giving attention to every word. Your eyes float down the page (or screen) as much as from left to right.
Speed 2 – This speed is in between 1 and 3. You be the judge.
If you wish, have a highlighter or note pad handy and highlight/note passages that stand out, as reminders to return after you’ve completed the read.
Let’s look at an example:
Referring to the 60-day Full Bible Reading Plan, you’ll notice Days 1, 2, and 3 are “Speed 1” texts. The account of Genesis is foundational history. It might warrant some of the slowest reading of your entire plan.
On Day 4 you’re in Exodus. (Pretty cool, huh?) After the Israelite jailbreak from Egypt, the biblical narrative gets off track a bit and enters into a section of laws, customs and tent tabernacle minutia – which, for the reader, means picking up the pace.
So beginning in Exodus 21 (after the Ten Commandments), I shift from Speed 1 to Speed 3. Burning rubber through the pages.
Some sections I have marked by two or three different speeds (like Psalms and Proverbs). That’s so you can pick your own speed.
Remember, it’s your plan. You determine the rules. The Pace Chart is simply an optional tool.
If you want to read the entire Bible in Speed 1 and pronounce every word in your mind, go for it.
Again, finding your relative reading pace will be a work in progress the first few days.
Some FAQs about Power Reading
Isn’t Power Reading like cheating? I mean, can it really be considered Bible-reading?
Cheating? Who said there are rules for Bible reading?
Power reading is a reading mindset. You don’t have to fully grasp or comprehend everything you’re reading. The mindset offers freedom and peace of mind to move quickly through the Bible.
God’s blessings are no less because of a faster reading pace. In fact, because of the coverage and the big picture discoveries that come with it, power reading has some significant benefits you can’t get any other way. But you’ll need to try it for yourself.
What if I’m the “Type A” kind of reader and want to read and sound every word in my mind?
OK, honey… you can do it that way. (That’s my wife I’m talking to, by the way. She’s admittedly a slow reader and doesn’t like to cruise through the pages at a rushed pace. So she takes her time and checks off every word in her mind. She’s okay if the schedule gets away from her. If she doesn’t finish till 90 days or even much more, she’s fine with that. So find your style and comfort zone.)
Can I listen to the Bible on audio?
Absolutely! Remember, there are no rules – except for the ones that you set for yourself. Some folks tell me they listened to the Bible during their daily commute to work and it helped to break up the reading portions. And if you want to listen to all of it, go for it.
Personally I’m a visual learner more than an auditory one, so I prefer reading the text. And it’s also easier to highlight the Bible and make notes for future reference while reading.
[As a hint for the audio listeners, many audio formats allow you to speed up the voice a bit to move it along more quickly. Try it!]
What do I do if I get off track of the schedule? Like WAY off track.
Hey, I get this. Life happens. If you get behind, here are my personal strategies (yes, I get behind too):
- Adjust your goal. If your 60-day plan turns into 75, or 90, or 120 days, that’s still awesome! I finished my second Bible power-read in 40 days. No, I did not have a 40-day plan. I simply fell behind 10 days on my 30-day plan.
- Skip the hard sections. If you get way off track and feel discouraged, then come up for air and fast-forward to a new section of the reading schedule. Maybe you’re stuck in the Major Prophets. You might decide to jump ahead to the Minor Prophets and come back later to the sections you passed over. (Remember, you set the rules.)
- Crunch time. If you are determined that you are going to finish the Bible in 60 days, then buckle down and do what it takes. I often use weekend cram sessions to catch up. I’ve even heard of folks taking a vacation day from work to do some volume reading. If the goal of completing the Bible read is that important to you personally, there are ways to buckle down and power through to get caught up. Be creative.
What if I’m sort of a freak and I want to get ahead of the plan.
Do it! Don’t let the plan slow you down. If the lure of a 30-day challenge fits you, then just double the assigned reading and go for it. Depending on your hunger and personal reading style, you might prefer a more intense reading pace in exchange for a more compressed calendar.
When doing a 30-day pace, start by planning to invest at least two hours of reading per day. You can adjust once you find your pace and rhythm.
Any cautions for young families?
If you’re married, be sensitive to what this challenge means for your family. I’ve seen cases where both spouses read the entire Bible according to plan, even with small needy children at home. My hat is off to those fine examples!
For my wife and me, it has not worked so beautifully. We don’t do well with both of us simultaneously power-reading on an aggressive plan.
While it’s easy for me to slip out to the coffee shop with my Bible and leave her home with the kids, this doesn’t serve her very well.
And remember, just because you’re not power reading through a 60-day plan does not mean you can’t be in the Word.
Power reading is simply one way to engage the Bible during special seasons.
It is not the only way.
Another note for families: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of young teenagers who have taken on the 60-day plan, often setting the pace for the parents!
Another reminder to us that the Bible truly is readable.
What happens when the journey turns dry?
When it comes to prayer, fasting, Bible reading, etc., there’s work and sacrifice involved. This 60-day journey is amazingly doable – but it’s not without great effort and discipline. And some days will be less energizing than others.
Always remember, as you read you are spending time with God (“the Word was God” John 1:1). Take pauses to say “You see me, don’t you God?”
You are showing God you value His Word. By taking an hour to read the Bible, you are taking an hour from something else.
Be encouraged by the story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts Chapter 8. He was diligently reading through the scrolls of Isaiah but struggling to understand what he was reading.
God saw his faithfulness and prepared a special encounter for him. God notices your sacrifice and efforts to seek Him in this way.
If you find the routine becomes stale, don’t despair. Gut through it. While Bible engagement is a lifetime journey, “power reading” is for special seasons. Embrace this season.
What if I’ve started the plan but the timing is just not right for me?
Starting over is OK. If you launch into the plan and determine the time is just not right, step aside—with no guilt!
Get back on the plan when the timing is better for you.