Some of you will be aware of my fascination with lectionaries. (Google the word “lectionaries” — I’m on top!) Alongside that interest, I put together some annual reading plans for going through the full NRSV Bible with Apocrypha a couple of years ago. I’ve just added another plan to that page, at the request of a reader.
The new plan combines the Old Testament and all the NRSV Apocrypha (yielding essentially a conflation of the Hebrew, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox canons) for one set of readings, with a second reading from the New Testament. To maintain parity between the lengths of the two readings, on average three chapters from the OT and two chapters from the NT, it was necessary to arrange the schedule so that the NT is read three times in full throughout the year, and the OT (with all the NRSV’s “Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha”) once in full per annum.
At first I thought, well, that’s alot of reading. Then the amount of junk reading that we (at the very least, me, myself, and I!) engage in daily came to mind. Suddenly six generally short chapters, nowhere near the length of chapter from a modern novel, from Scripture seemed a very small thing.
Another plan I’m working on will be much more demanding. Extracting the readings of the Psalms from the plan, the rest of the books will remain, and I’ll likely end up with the thrice-annual NT reading again, and slightly longer OT readings than the above-mentioned new reading plan. The Psalms will be read in total once weekly (or twice weekly during the Great Fast, that is, Lent) according to the traditional arrangement of kathismata used by Eastern Orthodox monasteries at Vespers and Matins (and the Royal Hours during the Great Fast). As the cycle of Psalms changes over the course of the year, this plan will be quite complicated. The amount of reading will be much greater, as well. I thought it would be a good thing for those like myself who are interested in having a reading plan such as that which can be tied to our Eastern Orthodox liturgical year. The Eastern Orthodox lectionary, the course of which was established by the 8th century, is itself quite a bit more limited, though it covers most of the NT during the course of the year and contains a number of long readings from the Old Testament during the Great Fast. Nonetheless, it is not a continuous reading plan, nor is a reading plan equivalent to a lectionary. This plan will be simply a private devotional aid for those to whom it will be useful. When this very complicated plan is finished, I’ll post a notice.