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History of the Resources on This Site…

Someone recently sent me an email asking about the origin and arrangement of the Bible Reading Schedule and Summary Outline Charts, and it made me realize I have never shared in much detail about the history of the tools on this site.

The schedule originated out of a personal Bible study I embarked on in the early 1990’s. My goal was to gain a better understanding of the flow of the history of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and to grow in my relationship with Christ. I consulted a variety of resources, including commentaries, Bible encyclopedias, and other sources as a supplement to my personal study.

Ultimately the idea of creating a Bible reading plan was formulated, and the color-coded schedule and outline charts were the end result. The schedule was originally printed using an early version of Word Perfect, and was first published on the World Wide Web in September 1996.

The decision of how, chronologically, to order the Old and New Testaments was somewhat arbitrary but was based on what seemed to me at the time the most harmonious for reading. The OT seemed to lend itself to an event-ordered flow because there are many parallel passages for the same events scattered across different books, and I desired to bring those together in close proximity to one another. In the NT the order seemed to lend itself more to an order-written flow, except for the four gospels, because many of the books are smaller epistles or letters. The end result, I believe, is a panoramic view of biblical history from the beginning of time to the end of time.

One of my goals when designing the schedule was to avoid too choppy a level of granularity when coupling together the various parallel passages. Another goal was to, as harmoniously as possible, divide the daily readings up not based on chapter counts but on verse counts. This was achieved by taking the total verse counts of both the Old and New Testaments, dividing by 365, and using that number of verses as a general guide or rule for the length of each day’s reading. This is reflected in the schedule in that sometimes you will just read one larger chapter, and at other times you will read multiple, smaller chapters (as in the Psalms).

The Complete Topical Memory Verse System came into being shortly after the Bible Reading Schedule, and was born out of the seeds of my own personal Bible memorization efforts over several years. Sometime in the early- to mid-1990’s, I had purchased one of the early versions of the Lotus Approach database (now owned by IBM), which ran on my Windows 3.1 computer. This, in fact, was my first exposure to database technology, which eventually became the seed for my career in computer technology and databases.

It was using Lotus Approach that I designed a database application that allowed me to easily add and categorize all of the memory verses I had worked on up to that time, as well as add and categorize other verses as I thought appropriate. In fact I found that many of the memory passages contained more than one topic, and this is reflected throughout the system. I also used an early version of the Online Bible to help me search for and and count the verses.

The result was the memory verse system, which I originally designed to be printed out as eight booklets. These booklets became the basis for the eight pages in the online version, which was first published to the Web in April 1997. The system contains 300 topics, from “Abiding in Christ” to “Zeal,” and incorporates 1,693 of some of the best-loved memory verses.

And so as not to leave the reader with any other impression, I still actively work on memorizing verses, but I have mastered only a fraction of the 1,693 verses!

I eventually enhanced these tools with client-side JavaScript programming to enable multiple Bible translations to be used, according to the reader’s preference, and to allow saving of one’s settings to cookies on his or her computer. The biblereadingschedule.com domain came into being in November 2004 and became the permanent home for the schedule and memory verse system.

The online versions have from the beginning always been tightly coupled with GospelCom.net’s excellent online Bibles resource, the BibleGateway, and I am extremely appreciative of the efforts of the excellent folks there who have maintained and enhanced BibleGateway over the years!

I believe in these tools, I use them, and I encourage others to use them freely, without charge. My desire has been to share them with as many people as possible via the World Wide Web or other means.

I used to sell copies of the schedule, printed out from my computer, but that became impossible due to the volume of the requests received. Many people from across the country and around the world have written us over the past decade to thank us and to tell us how much they have been blessed by using these resources, which in turn has greatly blessed us. We hope that you too will be blessed by these tools and will write to tell us how God is using them in your life!

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