Among the many funny words that Anglicans are known to throw around is the word “lectionary.” Fortunately, this is easily translated into ordinary language: “a Bible-reading plan.”
There are a lot of lectionaries out there these days. The Roman Catholics have their own, both for the Liturgy of the Hours and for Eucharist services. Virtually every edition of the Book of Common Prayer comes with its own lectionaries (again both for the Office and for weekly Eucharist services). Many “read the Bible in a year” plans are also out there, available either for purchase in a ready-made devotional book, or as free iphone apps or just on websites. I compiled a small list of samples here.
It’s overwhelming to think about all these options, so it’s easier to boil them down into two categories: liturgical and non-liturgical. Liturgical lectionaries are tied to the Church calendar, non-liturgical lectionaries focus on getting through the whole Bible in (usually) one year. They serve two very different purposes, the former to support a shared life of prayer throughout the Church (as evidenced by Adam’s recent post, which many of us who’re doing the Office also read), and the latter to study the Bible in a more comprehensive fashion. Both of these are valid purposes, and depending on one’s own spiritual condition, one may be more useful than the other. After all, while “reading the Bible” is important for every Christian’s growth and maturity, how we go about doing it makes a huge impact on how we grow.
Recently, I have been working on developing a lectionary which both covers the entire Bible and is sensitive to the mood of the seasons and holidays of the Church. It’s rigorous and comprehensive, but still keeps connected to the shared life of the Church through the calendar. If you’re interested, I’ve posted more information here. As it is finalized, we’ll look into making it available online for those who are interested in making use of it!