So, my New Year’s Resolution this year is to read the Bible through in 2012. The idea came from an article I read recently in The Living Church which suggested that this could be done fairly easily by reading one Psalm, three chapters from the Old Testament, and one from the New each day.
My reason for doing this is not because I think there is something meritorious in having read the Bible from cover to cover. I have not done so in many years and have often cautioned students not to worry about doing that since a good bit of the Bible is repititious and much of it not particularly edifying anyway! Besides, having started off with good intentions and bogging down somewhere in the middle of Leviticus can be a turn-off to serious Bible study for the best of us!
No, my point is to engage each book of the Bible as a whole and on its own terms and to allow the author(s) to speak in their own voice. Reading lectionary selections — as I have done for forty years praying the Daily Office — makes this harder to do and, even while following the lectionary carefully, entails a certain skipping around from season to season and there are interruptions for holy day lections, etc.
I intend to use the New Oxford Annotated Edition of the New Revised Standard Verson and to include the introductory material and footnotes in my reading. I will begin with the Psalm, since these hymns are also prayers worthy of entering the Divine Presence, proceed with three chapters of the Hebrew Scripture and one of the Christian Testament.
Then, I’ll follow with a brief period of prayer and silence, making this whole endeavor into a kind of lectio divina exercise. I expect I’ll miss praying the Daily Office this year but, with forty years behind me, I expect I’ll survive a year off!
I won’t promise to blog about this every day (for which my vast audience of readers will be gateful!) but comments arising from this process may appear here from time to time. Wish me luck. My past experiences with New Year’s Resolutions have not been pretty.
But this one intrigues me…