Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Three-Year Bible Reading Plan

I found a good one!

A few years ago I went looking for a plan to read the bible all the way through. I know, there are many, and I had already followed one of them. It gave me a very different perspective on the body of religious and spiritual literature that undergirds so much of our Western culture. Some time had passed, though, and I wanted to go through it again and see what else I might learn. This time I was looking for a plan with a difference: I wanted the reading to be spread over three years instead of one, and to loosely follow the Revised Common Lectionary which prescribes the Sunday scripture passages used in many churches. Since the last time I read the bible through, my scripture reading had been mostly limited to the Sunday passages plus a bit of browsing and cross-referencing when pondering some idea or preparing the odd sermon. Again and again I noticed how the Sunday passages omit context. I wanted something to take me a bit deeper, to fill in those gaps, and why not combine that with my impulse to read the whole collection of books again?

Aside: If you're wondering why I keep talking about a "body of literature" and a "collection of books," it's just that the term "bible" comes from a word meaning "little books," and I like to keep that in mind. Whatever holy inspiration may have worked to bring those books together, the bible still originated as a compilation.

Anyway, when I first looked a couple of years ago, I did find a plan similar to what I had in mind, but as I recall, the connection with the Sunday passages was looser than what I had envisioned. I let the matter drop. It came back to mind recently when I realized that we are working through "Year C" of the lectionary right now, and a new cycle will begin next Advent. I thought I might have to get started making my own plan, but it looks like somebody named Gloria has already done it. Thank you Gloria!

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