The Daily Office + Part Two: Not A Bible Reading Plan

The Daily Office + Part Two: Not A Bible Reading Plan

Thomas McKenzie
second in a series on the Daily Office, the first being Patterns

When I was in college I got a Bible reading plan. It was a chart that I could use to read the entire Bible in one year. I only needed to read about three chapters a day. After I read a chapter, I would check it off on my chart.

On January 1st I read three chapters. I did the same on January 2nd. Then something happened, and I skipped reading on the 3rd. On the 4th, I went back and caught up by reading six chapters. Then something else happened, and I didn’t read on the 5th or 6th. On the 7th I read three chapters. Then I left the chart somewhere. The next year I did the same thing. You have no idea how many times I’ve read the first twelve chapters of Genesis.

I am terrible at following Bible reading plans. Anglicans have something that might sound like a Bible reading plan. It isn’t, so don’t be alarmed. It’s called the “Daily Office.” It’s a list of readings that are meant for every day of the year. Each day there’s one reading from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, one from a Gospel, and readings from the Psalms. The whole thing is designed on a two-year cycle. It’s based in the Church Calendar. If you were to read the Daily Office every day, you’d read parts of the Bible several times and much of it once over a two year period.

Here’s why the Daily Office isn’t a Bible reading plan. It’s meant to be read as part of Morning and Evening Prayer, and it’s especially appropriate for public worship. The Psalms in the Daily Office are like the songs in a church service. That’s why there are so many Psalms given for each day. If you try to use the Daily Office like a Bible reading plan, reading it every day and then trying to “catch up” on days you can’t read, you are missing the point. The Daily Office exists to help Anglicans worship, not to give us homework assignments.

If it’s not a Bible reading plan, then how can someone practically use the Daily Office? That’s the subject of Part Three.

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