One common spiritual discipline that people take up for Lent is reading the Bible more intentionally than usual. If you’re the type who already is doing “the Bible in a year” or using a lectionary or Office of Readings, then this may be a distraction to you. But if you’re not a regular Bible-reader, or at least one who doesn’t read through whole books very often, here are some suggestions that I’ve used and enjoyed in the past couple years.
Below I have attached a chart for reading through four books of the Bible during Lent. I’ll just briefly introduce them first.
Jeremiah & Lamentations
These two books were written by the Prophet Jeremiah. They’re set in the years leading up to, during, and immediately after the conquest of Judah and destruction of Jerusalem. As a result these books are very heavy on the call to repentance, warnings of judgment, just generally pretty depressing. Excellent material for Lent!
The Gospel according to St. John
How about walking with Jesus through his entire earthly life during Lent? Something special about this reading plan is that you get to Jesus’ arrest on Palm Sunday, his trial and torture during Holy Week, his death on Good Friday, his burial on Saturday, and the resurrection on Easter Day! The week following Easter Day then finishes the book, so it’s a longer-reaching reading plan than the others. But the length of each reading is extremely short in comparison.
Of all of St. Paul’s letters, 1 Corinthians seems to address the most specific problems. Again, this is an appropriate fit for Lent, as we are actively addressing our sinfulness together. Because this is a shorter book, it actually finishes a week early, so it is supplemented with other New Testament readings during Holy Week leading up to Easter.
The story of Job is a story of immense suffering, pain, grief, humiliation,patience, and perseverance. Reading one chapter per day (while splitting a few of the longer ones into halves) gets you through the whole book during Lent. The restoration of Job at the very end of the book is a great match for the resurrection of Jesus that is celebrated on Easter, the day after!
So here you go…
If reading one of these is too simple, consider reading two or three. I actually did all four of these last year! Whatever you plan to do, make sure it’s a stretch from normal, but not so challenging that it swamps you. All things in moderation, as they say. Click the link: Lenten readings plans