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A Narrative Reading Plan of the Holy Bible

October 17, 2011

Yesterday, in my sermon, I spoke about spiritual stewardship and nurturing your relationship with God by spending time with God in prayer, but also in reading God’s Word, the Bible.  Any relationship takes work.  Reading Holy Scripture helps us to nurture our relationship with God, grow closer to God, and learn more about God and ourselves.  This being the 400th anniversary year of the King James Bible – the first complete Bible to be translated into English and thus the vernacular of English speaking peoples, thereby putting the Holy Scriptures firmly into the hands of the laity and not solely in the hands of the learned clerical class – I wanted to encourage you to spend some time in God’s Holy Word this coming year.

There are a few ways to do that.  As always, I promote the use of the Daily Office, where, if you follow the 2-year lectionary cycle, will have you reading the vast majority of the Bible while praying Morning and Evening Prayer.

A second way is to follow a “Read the Bible in 1 Year” plan.  These are difficult to follow and keep up with, and many who start them get discouraged along the way.  Still, it is a laudable and worthy goal and should you wish to try it, I can point you to some good plans.

Finally, there’s this way.  I developed a while ago a “Narrative Reading Plan” for the Bible, which will take you through a large chunk of the scriptures.  Its operating principle is that the Bible tells one story: the story of God’s saving acts through history with God’s people.  Anything that didn’t further the narrative arc of that story, I crossed out of my reading plan.  It doesn’t mean it’s not important, it just means it wasn’t important for this kind of a first read-thru.  So, for example, when a reader gets to the Book of Leviticus – the place where most of the “Read the Bible in 1 Year” plans go to die – I ask the reader to read a representative chapter, so that the reader can get a taste of the Law, what it sounds like, and some of the things it says.  But then I direct the reader to move on to Numbers.  You don’t need to read all of the Law on your first read-thru, particularly if what we’re trying to do is follow the story.  It is important to grasp the nature of the Law and its major place in history, but not important to get into its minutia just yet.  That can be reserved for a second read thru.  The same goes for lists of “begats,” lists of conquered territories in Joshua and Judges, and so on.

So, my Bible Challenge to you is to read more of the Bible this year than you did last year.  For some of you, that might mean reading the whole thing.  For others of you, that might mean reading Genesis 1:1.  For most of you, that means following something like the Narrative Reading Plan of the Holy Bible, which doesn’t have a time limit, only a goal of finishing.  Click the link below to get started!

Narrative Reading Plan for the Bible

Fr. Ryan+

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