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Scripture Reading Plans Excel in TW4

“Read Your Bible, Pray  Every Day and You’ll Grow, Grow, Grow....”

 

The discipline of Bible reading should be part of every disciple’s life, right? And a computer should be able to help you stay organized, right? So, good Bible software should be able to help you organize your scripture Reading Plans, right?

 

Right. And theWord Version 4 (TW4) is good Bible software!

 

Costas has ingeniously integrated scripture Reading Plans with the normal desktop of every user. So - when you are using TW4 Reading Plans, you also have access to dictionaries, commentaries, cross references, book search windows, Bible search windows, Verses lists, General Book modules - the whole kit and kaboodle!

 

Think about that: in the midst of your daily reading, you can take a look at what your favorite commentary says with a simple mouseover of your commentary links. You can do the same with any of the dictionaries you choose with the dictionary word lookups. You can even search your entire library - all while integrated with your daily scripture Reading Plan. It is truly outstanding software engineering.

 

First, let’s take a look at my screen shot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice that there are 3 columns and 4 windows.

 

1. The left most column contains one window: a book view containing “all modules”

2. The middle column is my Bible window. It has cross references turned on and inline. So when I mouseover any of those blue links, I can see the text of the cross reference. I also have my commentary links turned on. When I mouseover any of those links, the commentary from that author for that verse pops up.

3. The right column has two windows. The lower window is my book search box; and the upper window is my Bible reading plan (set to “list view” - more on that in a minute).

4. Please note that you can set up your layouts uniquely to your own personal taste. This is simply one of thousands of way to configure your own layout. You can use any layout you want.

 

With this particular configuration, I can:

 

1. Click a commentary link in the Bible window, and the book view window (left column) moves immediately to that commentary.

2. Perform “dictionary look ups” with mouseovers in the Bible text.

3. Highlight the word “Ephraim” (or any other word) in the commentary, and right click my mouse to immediately search all of my dictionaries (or whatever set of books I want to search).

 

In other words: my scripture Reading Plan is simply an extension of my normal TW desktop. Everything that TW can do, I can do from within the reading plan.

 

Setting Up A Reading Plan

 

Building a reading plan is simple to do. Here are the easy steps:

 

1. From the TW menu, select “Tools < Daily Readings”

2. Near the lower left corner of the dialogue box, select “Create A New Bible Reading Plan”

3. Now comes the fun part! If you want to select a conventional and pre-defined plan, click on “Choose a Pre-Defined Plan.” Click “next” and then click on the small black arrow on the right side of the dialogue box. Here you can choose from 4 interesting annual plans - and two additional “some Scripture in one month” plans. Do these not fit your schedule? Then let’s customize your own personal Reading Plan!

4. To create something different, select “Create A Customized Reading Plan by Yourself” and then click “next”. Here you’ll get a lot of choices. If you just want to read straight through the Bible, you can select that. Or you can read “mixed OT & NT passages” through the Bible. There are lots of options. Still don’t see what you’re looking for?

5. If you want to create a completely custom Reading Plan, choose “custom” from the bottom of that dialogue box. Now you tell TW what you want to read. Here’s how:

 

A. Put every section of the Bible you want to read from on separate lines

B. Separate every continuous section with a dash

C. Separate every non-continuous section with a semi-colon.

 

Here’s an example. If I want to read from the OT, Psalms, Proverbs, & NT every day, here’s is how I would define that in the “passages included” box:

 

Gen-Job; Ecc-Mal

Psalms

Proverbs

Matt-Rev

 

Notice the semi-colon in the top line? That’s critical for TW4 to understand that you want to skip the Psalms & Proverbs in that part of the reading. Don’t use any other type of punctuation there.

 

With these Scripture settings in the box, I’ll read from each of those 4 sections every day - an OT reading, some Psalms, some Proverbs, and a NT reading.

 

You can define Scripture version here, too. I’m a KJV guy!

 

Now click the “next” button for some real magic! Here you define: 1) when you want to start; 2) when you want to end; 3) which days of the week you want to read (5? 6? 7? Another arrangement?); 4) and how much do you want to read each day. This last area is the most confusing - but also the most rewarding!

 

Notice that there are three choices for “How much do you want to read each time?” This is where we make this a personal reading schedule - tailor made to fit your desires for Scripture reading. So, if you “...want to finish on” a certain date (probably Dec 31, but it could be any date you choose), select that date. TW does all the computations for you - dividing by the verse. If you’re like me, you don’t want to break up the Bible stories by verses, you’d prefer to stop at chapters. So, check the “break on chapters” box. Any reading that averages out to longer than 20 verses will break on the close of a chapter, instead of a verse. Using this method, here’s how my above sample reading works out:

 

Gen-Job; Ecc-Mal -- averages to 2-3 chapters a day for a year

Psalms -- averages 8 verses a day for a year

Proverbs -- averages 3 verses a day for a year

Matt-Rev -- averages 1 chapter a day for a year (and finishes NT in mid-October)

 

This is nice indeed! Now, if you want to get very particular about how much you read, you can choose “I prefer to read each time” and tell TW how much each day should include by selecting “set ranges for each passage”. This is a great feature, because you can choose “cycle if needed” for any part of your reading. “Cycling” means that readings from that portion of Scripture never end during the year. Want to read a chapter in Proverbs every day along with your normal “through the Bible in one year” reading? You can do that!

 

EXAMPLE: Here is how I would set that up: Choose to read any 6 days a week (giving you a weekly “catch up” day) instead of all seven, and then:  

 

Gen-Ps; Ecc-Mal -- Set to 3 chapters a day

Mat-Rev -- Set to 1 chapter a day

Prov -- Set to 1 chapter a day - and this is the only one that is checked to “cycle if needed”

 

 

This will get you through the Bible once in a year, and Proverbs once every month. Wow, is this stuff cool?!

 

By the way: if you want to read the OT once a year, the NT twice a year, and Proverbs monthly, simply change the “Matt-Rev” chapter from one to two AND select “cycle if needed.” Yep - it’s that simple!

 

The next screen is the final “module build” screen. (And you thought you couldn’t build modules!) Name it something memorable in the Abbreviation box (“2013 Bible Reading” - or something equally inventive). Make sure you click the “Preview Plan” link at the lower left of the box. That will show you a chart of your readings. It’s a good idea to preview your Reading Plan, because one of your selected options may cause “unintended consequences”! If so, just go back to the previous screen and “tweak” your options.

 

Once you get it just like you want it, click the big “Create My Reading Plan” button (kinda hard to miss that one, isn’t it?!). And voila! TW does it’s thing, and you have a spiffy automated Bible reading plan to enjoy the rest of the year (or whatever time frame you’re reading). You can view your daily readings in a List View (my preference) or a Calendar view.

 

It is easy to manage your Reading Plan. Open the dialogue box by clicking “Tools < Daily Readings”. Here you’ll see whatever Daily Readings you still need to complete. And setting it up is a breeze. Click the “Startup Options” button and click “Show Once A Day.” Every morning when you start TW4, this dialogue box will open too, giving you easy access to your Reading Plan. Click your plan’s name, and you’ll jump to today in the module. Click a scripture reference, and you’ll jump straight to that scripture reading. Like my boys say - “cool beans!”

 

(If you’ve just built a Reading Plan, and don’t see it in the “Daily Readings” dialogue box, don’t despair! That’s because you probably built a Reading Plan to start on January 1, 2013. Since the “Daily Readings” dialogue box only shows readings for today - whenever today is - you won’t see your plan until January 1, 2013. Relax.)

 

One last note: when the Reading Plan is active, you’ll see a “Start Reading” banner and a “Stop Reading” banner at the beginning and ending of your section of daily scripture readings. Don’t select “done” until you’ve finished all of your readings for that day (otherwise, the whole day will be checked off before you’ve finished all of your readings).

 

TW4 makes it easy - and fun! - to set up your own personal Reading Plan to read as much of the Bible as you’d like - as often as you’d like to read. So, get one set up, and start reading. Then you’ll Grow, grow, grow!