Bible-reading plan from the daily lectionary

I wish to improve my daily devotional life and feel a need to reflect more deeply on a daily study of scripture. Previously, I have done biblical analysis in my last two series on formal and mediating bible translations. This utilized the intellectual side of my mind; however, at this point, spiritual growth via meditations on scripture has been a personal priority of mine. Inevitably, this will be reflected in future posts on the New Epistles blog. Naturally, I will be doing less blogging during the summer months, which are generally slower months for blogging anyway. However, I will try to start blogging more on some of my devotional meditations on scripture.

I will try to begin using a daily lectionary in order to help me establish and regulate a discipline of daily scripture reading. This will also supplement scripture reading with daily devotions from the Upper Room. It seems to me that a little structure in my daily devotional life might be necessary. Chaos and unexpected events can too easily, and too often, pull me away from maintaining regular spiritual meditations each day.

I am still undecided on which lectionary to use. There are two. I might use traditional 2-year daily readings taken from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). Apparently, there is also a new daily lectionary based on the 3-year cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) called the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings (overview). This was established by the Consultation on Common Text (CCT) in 2005. The Canadian Bible Society also puts out a daily reading plan (non-lectionary) and it leads one through the entire bible in a year. However, this might be a bit too heavy for me given my busy schedule these days.

Does anyone have any recommendations for daily lectionary reading?

12 thoughts on “Bible-reading plan from the daily lectionary

  1. “Mainline academic scholarship is being defined by a spirit of secular humanism and has abandoned a belief in an exclusive faith in Christ. Is there a way out? I don’t know. The implications is that the church has lost its sense of mission and evangelism, which was still strong before the ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches. Everything seemed to go downhill from then on.”

    You hit the nail on the head Kevin. I surmise this is a big part of the reasoning behind the increasing popularity of non-denominational churches.


  2. Kevin, I am finding the Smyth & Helwys commentary series very helpful, perhaps not so much for devotions but great for thelogical students and pastors. I started with M. Reddish’s commentary on Revelation (2001) and have since read a couple more. Its format is great with a lot of side-bars (extra info on topics) and pictures that make the historical contexts come alive. For my devotions, I just read the Bible and trust that the Spirit speaks to me. After that on occasions I read the Bible with just one commentary (post-devotional but not critical study). For serious Bible study, I will use all critical tools like lexicons, commentaries, online materials, and some blogs are helpful too.


  3. Tony, thanks for sharing about your routine in daily devotions. I’m always interested in hearing how others do their’s.

    How are you enjoying the Smyth & Helwys Commentary series with your devotions? It might be somewhat heavy for me for daily devotions. I am not at all familiar with this new series but just from browsing through several of its reviews, I get the impression that it is more accessible to readers who are not as technical.


  4. L.Wells, I have heard from others that the original Interpreter’s Bible Commentary (IBC) was really good but the NIBC was a disappointment. But I’ll have to take a closer look at the NISB. There doesn’t really seem to be a good NRSV Study Bible that expresses a conservative theological outlook. Thus far, it seems to be that HarperCollins SB may be the only one that is acceptable.

    Mainline academic scholarship is being defined by a spirit of secular humanism and has abandoned a belief in an exclusive faith in Christ. Is there a way out? I don’t know. The implications is that the church has lost its sense of mission and evangelism, which was still strong before the ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches. Everything seemed to go downhill from then on.


  5. Dear Kevin, I am not sure whether I have used a daily lectionary before for my devotions. Interesting to note your comments and others. I always find reading a few Psalms at the start of my morning devotions useful, then a few chapters on the NT for meditation. If time permits, I will read a couple more passages from the OT. As part of my devotions nowadays after my early morning devotion time (usually mid-day or late evening), I study a book of the Bible meditatively and devotionally with help of a recent commentary. I am now reading Ezekiel alongside Margaret Odell’s Ezekiel commentary in the Smyth & Helwys Commentary series.


  6. Gary and Kevin, thanks for your suggestions.

    Kevin, I do have a copy of the New Interpreter’s Study Bible, I waited years for its release because I was a big fan of the original Interpreter’s Bible commentary set from the 1950’s.

    While some of it is good, it is, in my estimation the worst of the critical bibles. In one instance that readily comes to mind, the notes on John 14:6 in part contain the following:

    “….Yet John 14:6 is often interpreted in ways that misuse its central theological claim. What John intends as particularism, many contemporary Christians interpret as exclusiveness. John 14:6 celebrates how Jesus reveals God for those in THIS PARTICULAR FAITH COMMUNITY and is not a statement about the relative worth of the world’s religions. John is concerned with helping Christians recognize and name THEIR God and the distinctiveness of THEIR identity as A PEOPLE of faith.” (emphasis mine)

    I find this commentary leaping off the page with a spirit of implication that Jesus is equivalent to the “prophets, sages, and gurus” of all other world religions.

    Now I am ecumenical in the sense of uniting all Christian denominations and traditions by way of the beliefs we hold in common, but this smacks of the hard left leaning version of ecumenism that would sell the Christian faith out in the name of secular humanism, by way of diluting the very Blood of Christ itself.

    If the rest of the world (out side “this particular faith community”) could be saved by some other means, does this not imply that Jesus’ sacrifice is not necessary?

    I do not intend to sound intolerant of people of other faiths, but I will always defend the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus as the means of the world’s reconciliation to the Father. To offer other alternatives is to compromise this belief, and to speak irreverantly (if not flat out blasphemously) of the Son of God and the sacrifice he made for the WHOLE WORLD.

    Forgive me for yet another tirade, but I simply become annoyed when I think of men and women who hold such a low view of scripture teaching these selfsame scriptures in our seminaries.

    This being said, there are some good things to be found in the New Interpreter’s Study Bible, but be prepared to deal with things such as the aforementioned as well. Personally, of the critical Bibles I use, I prefer the HarperCollins because it mostly focuses on textual issues. Although, even within its covers you will also find a low view of scripture now and then, but mostly in book introductions. I don’t mind higher criticism, but boy does it seem to have spun out of control since the “liberal theology” of the 1950’s that I was much more comfortable with.

    Gary, you said you once taught a lectionary based bible study. I’ve been considering the same thing, but like you, I feel the lectionary leaves too many scriptures out to base a study on it.


  7. Gary, I don’t have experience with the Harper (HSB) either but I was under the impression that the HarperCollins (HCSB) was more suited for the evangelical mainline but I could be wrong. The last sermon I preached was not based on the lectionary and it went over really well because it dealt with issues that the lectionary reading doesn’t necessarily address that particular week (ie, youth). Some say non-lectionary sermons too often allows the preacher to pick his/her flavor of the week but I disagree because there are times when the congregation needs to address certain issues. The lectionary as a tool is meant to serve us. We are not to serve the lectionary, which can happen too often than not.


  8. L. Wells, I have found that the readings from daily lectionary actually help me prepare for the Sunday text that I will be preaching on. The link I added is only an overview but it’s not the actual lectionary. I have not yet seen the daily lectionary based on the RCL online (maybe because it’s so new). The more I think about it, the more I’m thinking that maybe I should use both. The Daily RCL for sermon prep, and the BCP lectionary for personal devotions. I’m also waiting for the ESV Study Bible. I’d like to see what’s inside. Have you checked out the New Interpreter’s Study Bible (NISB)? I don’t have one but I’ve been considering getting one.


  9. l.wells, I was going to suggest the Harper until I got to the bottom and saw you were already aware of it. I don’t have personal experience with it, but have heard it’s much more “evangelical” in nature than the usual critical NRSV commentaries. I’m not as tied to the NRSV so I don’t have any real reason to pursue the Harper myself.

    Kevin, I think it’s great to get that structure into your Bible reading, and I think just about any lectionary will give you that, even the “daily reading” Bibles.

    But I used to teach a lectionary-based Bible study at my church some years ago, and became frustrated by the fact that it seemed to avoid many more difficult, or controversial, passages.


  10. This has been something on my mind for a while now too Kevin. I’ve been doing a chronological through the bible in a year, which will come to a close near the end of August. I’ve been trying to decide whether to persist in this same plan (though it is tough to reflect upon or even study this much scripture in a day once you take care of the responsibilities of life), or to focus on the new testament for a time, or to follow the daily readings in the BCP as you mentioned.

    I’ve really wanted to spend more time in the daily office and readings of the BCP, and have tried at various points, but it was too difficult to manage while following the plan I’ve been using. The one you mentioned based on the RCL is very intriguing and may be what I’m looking for. I will be checking out the link you posted to it, thank you for doing so.

    I’m also looking for a good study bible, preferrably in the NRSV, but am open to any suggestions. What I’m looking for is something pragmatic and devotional in orientation, as I have grown weary of using critical Bibles such as HarperCollins and Oxford almost exclusively for some time now. I remember years ago the Life Application Study Bible was available in the NRSV, but no more is this an option. Any suggestions anyone may have are welcome. If I can’t find something I like, I may just go back to using a plain reference Bible or even a reader’s text until the ESV Study Bible releases in October. I’ve also seen (but only online) an NRSV called the Harper Study Bible, does anyone here have any knowledge of this work to share?


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