Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My Daily Catholic Bible

It may seem odd, but I wanted to put in a plug for something I don't use myself.

In late 2007, I bought a copy of My Daily Catholic Bible: 20-minute Daily Readings. (Available from Amazon.) This is a fairly nice-looking paperback Bible--easy-to-read print in two columns per page, well-laid out, on decent paper. Each day (except Leap Day) has a short quote from a saint or other holy person, a reading from the Old Testament, then a reading from the New Testament. The Old Testament readings are in order, right through, but the New Testament books have been rearranged, presumably to spread the Gospels out through the year. (I say presumably, because the editor's introduction does not explain his method of dividing the texts up, except to say that it is similar to the method used in Carmen Rojas' How to Read the Bible Every Day.) There is no commentary or notes on the Scripture. The translation used is the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, so all of the OT books are there. All in all, it is a good choice for anyone wanting a daily Bible.

I bought mine because I wanted to foster a daily Scripture-reading habit and thought that having each day's portion already laid out for me would be easier than the various "read-the-Bible-in-a-year" plans I've seen online. (Easier than anything other than the uber-simple, "read four chapters a day" advice, that is.) And it is easy and convenient, if you want to do it this way. What I discovered, though, is that I don't like reading the Bible in this way. I like reading all of a Bible book I'm interested in--either straight through or in big chunks--and, if I'm really interested, going back and re-reading that book soon after. I don't like pre-planned menus, where I can only have so much OT and so much NT today and so much tomorrow. With the daily Bible, I found myself reading ahead, on either the OT or NT reading, but not usually both, so I had trouble remembering where I was. I felt lazy when I eventually gave up on it last summer, but now I've admitted the method just doesn't work for me, I don't mind my failure to last the whole year.

I'm happily back to my undisciplined, "read as my mood and interest take me" method. What I'm not happy about is the days with no Scripture reading I intersperse with the Scripture reading days. I'm having some good effect with, on some of those days, either reading a few psalms in a prayerful sort of way or saying prayers (mostly psalms and canticles) from the Divine Office at the Universalis site. Using the Psalms in this way, besides being a lovely way to pray, ensures some Scripture each day, but each psalm feels complete in itself, so I'm not caught up in the "must read more, more" mood.

For people who prefer the daily dose to the fits and starts--or feast and famine--method of Bible reading and for people who are so short on time they have trouble fitting scripture in any other way, I recommend My Daily Catholic Bible. The daily readings really can be done in twenty minutes or less. And one upside of having both a NT and an OT reading each day is that seriously time-constrained people could read the NT portion in the morning and the OT in the evening, or vice versa.


Paiva said...

I've been thinking I ought to add an NT reading every day, if only to help me get through Chronicles. (Is it okay to say you've read the whole Bible if in truth you only ski-i--i--i-i-immed those lists of names?)

Suzanne said...

I hope so, otherwise I couldn't say I've done it. :-)