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Introduction and Background

The first lectionary is believed to date back to the 4th century.

The Revised Common Lectionary

The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is a three-year cycle of Scripture readings with four assigned readings each Sunday and festival day (usually Old Testament, Psalm, Letter, and Gospel). Churches throughout the world use the RCL. However, while the use of lectionaries goes back hundreds of years, the RCL itself was published in its current form in 1994, tracing its direct lineage from the Ordo Lectionum Missae (1969) created by the Roman Catholic Church. Although the RCL (in various forms) is very common in liturgical denominations, even there it is not universal. There are many churches and denominations who do not use a lectionary; instead the pastor or others select Bible readings themselves. What unites the Body of Christ is not the use of the same lectionary, but Christ through the Holy Spirit.[1]

Three Year plan (A, B, C)

  • Year A - Matthew | Genesis - Judges (Moses) | Isaiah
  • Year B - Mark | various | Davidic covenant and Wisdom literature
  • Year C - Luke | various | The Prophets
  • During all three years, the Gospel of John is read on key feast days and during the season of Easter.

How it works: https://www.notion.so/kmichel/RCL-Revised-Common-Lectionary-b33e8cbc4cc84753814c738e934dfa6c

Online Resources:

The Narrative Lectionary

What is the Narrative Lectionary?

The Narrative Lectionary is a set calendar of Scripture readings that can be used in worship. In comparison to some other lectionaries, the Narrative Lectionary narrows the number of readings per Sunday (and other festival days) to one main “preaching” or focus text, instead of three to four passages. Each Sunday also is assigned an “accompanying text,” or a short additional reading that is either from the Gospel for that year (if the focus text is not from a Gospel) or from the Psalms (if the focus text is from a Gospel).

The Narrative Lectionary starts in September with a story about creation and touches on the major stories, characters, and plot points in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) until mid-December (through the Third Sunday of Advent). At that point, the lectionary picks up one of the four Gospels (one Gospel each year for the four-year cycle) and moves through many of the main stories or passages of that Gospel in order (mostly) through the Sunday after Easter. From the Third Sunday of Easter through Pentecost Sunday, the readings are pulled from Acts and the Letters. The readings line up with the major church festivals (Christmas, Transfiguration Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost). The main lectionary is not a full twelve months long, but approximately 9 months, following a “typical” American school year.[2]

Other Resources




  1. “What Is the Narrative Lectionary?,” Spirit & Truth Publishing, accessed September 14, 2021, https://spiritandtruthpublishing.com/narrative-lectionary/.
  2. “What Is the Narrative Lectionary?,” Spirit & Truth Publishing, accessed September 14, 2021, https://spiritandtruthpublishing.com/narrative-lectionary/.