A Catholic perspective on the world and all the good things therein, especially books and food. Literature cum chocolate is the order of the day at The Crockery.

Location: A Collegetown, Undisclosed Location, United States

No longer a graduate student, Teresa is now a professional know-it-all.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Now Taking Bets. . .

. . . as to how long I'll manage to keep up this year's Bible reading program. In the past, I've sometimes read through the Bible in a year, using either an out-of-print Tyndale House NRSV or this Bible. The latter Bible, published by Our Sunday Visitor, seemed ideal until it fell apart. Alas, I had to round file it. (This made a convenient excuse for never having finished it.)

This year I'm not doing a "Bible in a year" program. Instead, I subscribed to the Fellowship of St. James' Daily Devotional Guide. This is, intriguingly, not a book but a little journal which contains prayers, commentary, and a list of scriptures to read for given days. (You have to supply your own Bible!) As one might expect from the publishers of Touchstone, the guide follows the liturgical year, the selected readings being loosely based on the lectionary from the Book of Common Prayer. What makes it unique is that the Collect for each week is drawn from a wide range of liturgical traditions.

My first impressions about the Daily Devotional Guide are as follows:

1) That's a lot of Bible! The guide is advertised as a being a manageable two year program, but if you read the fine print, you'll discover that in the course of two years, you'll actually have read the New Testament twice.

2) That's a lot of Psalms! The guide is designed for morning and evening prayer, which means there are morning and evening psalms assigned for each day. You might think that this means that you read two psalms a day. And sometimes, it does mean that. But smaller psalms are assigned in groups of two or three, which means that on some days you could end up reading four or five psalms.

3) Reading the KJV out loud is HARD! Technically, this is not the fault of the Fellowship of St. James. As I mentioned above, you have to supply your own Bible. It just happened that the only small, conveniently-bound travel Bible I have is a King James Bible. So that's what we started with when we started reading the Bible on January 1st, and for some reason, we've kept doing it. (Perhaps because this particular Bible is a good size for leaving at a bedside.) And here's the curious thing: I'm pretty sure I've read most of the KJV in the past. I thought I was familiar with the style. Yet, somehow, I had no idea just how weird the language was until I began to read it out loud. Sentences that would make sense when read silently are revealed in their full syntactical strangeness when one has to pronounce them. Try it for yourself sometime.

4) One year or two, it's still hard to remember to make time for daily devotions. It helps that LeopoldTulip is doing the reading with me, so that there's a double chance that one of us will remember and say "Hey, we need to read the Bible!" Still, it's the sort of task that gets put off until we're ready for bed and exhausted. (Could that be the real reason why I have so much trouble reading the day's text correctly?) I predict that our perfect track record will be spotted with missed days by, say, February. Let's start the pool now!


Anonymous nanhuff said...

That looks pretty interesting; I may consider it also. You don't have to start at any certain time, do you? The web site looks interesting too. Will have to spend some time on it. Thanks!

9:00 PM  
Blogger Teresa H.T. said...

You don't have to start at any certain time, do you?

You don't really have to start at a set time. However, it's only fair to say that the "continuous reading" selection for each day starts with Genesis on January 1. I could see that it might be awkward to start those readings in the middle of the year, but for the rest of the readings, it doesn't matter.

7:25 PM  

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