NOTES FOR NEW TESTAMENT BIBLE READING SCHEDULE
This schedule of suggested daily readings is based on what we call the '260 formula'. There is a total of 260 chapters in the New Testament and there are 260 weekdays in the year - so, by reading just one chapter each day systematically we can familiarise ourselves with the entire New Testament in the space of twelve months.
By repeating the process each year we gradually become more familiar with the New Testament and with the life, words and works of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Apostles and the early Church. Also, by looking up the Old Testament references that occur in the notes to New Testament chapters and verses we can gradually become familiar with the Old Testament and thereby understand its proper relationship to the New Testament - thus becoming familiar with the whole of Sacred Scripture.
Confining ourselves to a discipline of weekday reading leaves the weekend clear to study the prescribed liturgical readings for each Sunday of the year.
The schedule for weekly readings for 2011/2012 starting November 2011 can be found HERE
Also, if you need to construct your own table starting at a date of your choice, a blank table format is available HERE
To ensure that you are reading a correct translation, from original sources, it is necessary to use a reliable, authentic and traditional copy of the Bible - preferably one with footnotes and (if possible) a catechetical commentary. A correct translation leads to correct interpretation which in turn leads to a correct understanding of the words we are reading. We recommend the Douay-Rheims Bible (obtainable from Baronius Press in London - www.baroniuspress.com - or from any good Catholic bookshop by quoting reference ISBN: 0-9545631-0-7).
As an aid to your reading we recommend a splendid book on the Bible called Understanding the Scriptures. Written by an American team of Catholics, it is beautifully presented, with glorious reproductions. It is extremely readable and has a useful Index. This book, which takes us right through the Bible with explanations and quotations from saints and scholars, can be obtained from St Anthony Communications, Saundersfoot, Wales SA69 9HL - www.saintant.com
We conclude these notes by quoting from the encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, written by Pope Benedict XV in 1920, on the reading of Sacred Scripture:
'Since the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, had bestowed the Scriptures on the human race for their instruction in Divine things, He also raised up in successive ages saintly and learned men whose task it should be to develop that treasure and so provide for the faithful plenteous 'consolation afforded by the Scriptures' (Rom.15,4).
Foremost among these teachers stands St.Jerome…..The responsibility of our Apostolic office impels us to set before you his wonderful example and so promote the study of Holy Scripture in accordance with the teachings of our predecessors, Leo XIII and Pius X……And none can fail to see what profit and sweet tranquillity must result in well-disposed souls from such devout reading of the Bible………Hence, as far as in us lies, we, venerable Brethren, shall, with St.Jerome as our guide, never desist from urging the faithful to read daily the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistles, so as to gather thence food for their souls……But what, in his view, is the goal of such study?
First, that from the Bible's pages we learn spiritual perfection……Secondly, it is from the Bible that we gather confirmations and illustrations of any particular doctrine we wish to defend……We confidently hope that his example will fire both clergy and laity with enthusiasm for the study of the Bible… …So convinced indeed was St.Jerome that familiarity with the Bible was the royal road to the knowledge and love of Christ that he did not hesitate to say 'Ignorance of the Bible means ignorance of Christ'. Jerome still calls to us. His voice rings out, telling us of the super-excellence of Holy Scripture, of its integral character and historical trustworthiness, telling us, too, of the pleasant fruits resulting from reading and meditating upon it. Our one desire for all the Church's children is that, being saturated with the Bible, they may arrive at the all-surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ.'
Finally - remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for 'we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying'. (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, 25).
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the
fire of Thy love. Send forth Thy spirit and they shall be created;
and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
O God, Who instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit,
grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen