A lot of folks in our group are doing the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan this year. This plan takes you through the majority of the Old Testament once, and twice through the New Testament and Psalms. It works out to about four chapters per day.
So anyway, life happens. You get off track. Fall off the bandwagon. I want to motivate you to catch up with a little math. I can almost promise you it isn’t as overwhelming as you think it might be. We’re going to answer the question:
“If I up my reading from 4 to N chapters per day, how long will it take for me to become completely caught up?”
I created the graph below to answer this question. To use it, you need to figure out two things: (a) Count how many days behind you are, and (b) think about how much you could push yourself for a limited time in terms of total chapters read per day. The goal here isn’t in-depth study of each chapter, just reading it. At this clip, reading 10 chapters in a day should easily take less than an hour. (Note: in the legend, these are TOTAL number of chapters to read per day, not additional above the standard 4 chapters per day.)
Here is an example illustrating how to use it. Suppose you are 50 days behind on the reading plan and want to catch up. You think for a limited time you could push yourself to read 10 per day (2 when you wake up, 2 over mid-morning coffee, 2 over lunch, 2 during afternoon coffee, and 2 right before bed—easy right?). Start off at the y-axis where the number of days behind equals 50. Move across horizontally until you hit curve corresponding to a reading rate of a total of 10 chapters per day (the red line). Find the value on the x-axis directly below. That’s the number of days it would take to catch up.
If you are 50 days behind and read 10 chapters per day, you can catch up in 33 days (approximately a month!).
If you decide to temporarily increase your reading to 8 chapters per day (the green line), it will take you as many days to catch up as you are behind.
The point is, with a little extra time every day, it’s not so insurmountable. We have a hard time thinking in terms of incremental investments over the course of 40, 60, 80 days, but trust the math: you’ll get caught up slowly and surely.
After you catch up, you can roll back your rate to 4 chapters per day. Or you just might want to keep it up.
For anybody interested in the math: It’s just a simple algebra problem. You have the total number of missed days x 4 chapters per day to catch up on, in addition to the 4 chapters of new reading you add each day during the catch-up period. It works out to be: