A reader (thanks Dana!) wrote to me thanking me for the recent reading plans that Esteban and I have put together (mentioned here, here, and here), and asked if I could reformat them and present them as PDF files that preserve the formatting, to fit on as few pages as possible. So, I’ve created separate files for the 2009 NRSV Reading Plan, the 2009 NETS Reading Plan, and the 2009 Psalms Reading Plan. The files are also all linked to on the updated 2009 Eastern Orthodox Bible Reading Plan page. The first two, which include both the Old Testament and New Testament readings, both can be printed on two sheets of paper, double-sided. The Psalms file will fit on one sheet, double-sided. So, it will take only three folded sheets of paper tucked into your Bible, which certainly won’t damage the binding, to have a handy printed schedule of this set of plans, if one wants to follow them.
I thought I’d take a moment to describe the reason that I’ve called these “Eastern Orthodox Bible Reading Plans” rather than just something more generic. Firstly, the Psalms reading plan is the traditional Eastern Orthodox schedule for reading the Psalms in monasteries. Secondly, the adapted Optina plan for reading the New Testament is directly from Orthodox traditional reading practices, though slightly adapted. Thirdly, when I orginally set up a reading plan including all the books in the NRSV, it was specifically because the deuterocanonical or apocryphal books are all, to one degree or another, included in the Orthodox canon, yet no other annual reading plan included all those books. That plan was thus an attempt to provide pious Orthodox readers with a schedule that would appropriately reflect the Tradition of the Orthodox Church.
The above-mentioned readings are in no way intended to replace the liturgical cycle of readings in the Orthodox Church. Readers of the above plans are encouraged also to read the specified passages for each day of the Church calendar. All of this may seem like too much reading, but when we consider how much television we watch, how much music we listen to, how much news we read, and how much time we simply waste on the internet, the amount of Bible reading involved in this plan and in the liturgical readings of the Church are by no means oppressive or unrealistic. But if a reader is overwhelmed, read the Church’s daily liturgical readings, and abandon the above plan until you have time for it.
If you have any suggestions on improvements for the plans or the formatting of the files, please contact me.