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On September 10, 2017, we began something new at Vermont Lutheran; we will be following the Narrative Lectionary for our Scripture guide for weekly readings.

What is the narrative lectionary?

Video: Understanding the Narrative Lectionary: Walk Through the Four Year Reading Cycle

The Narrative Lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. On the Sundays from September through May each year the texts follow the sweep of the biblical story, from Creation through the early Christian church.

The texts show the breadth and variety of voices within Scripture. They invite people to hear the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the prophets, Jesus, and Paul. Listening to the many different voices within Scripture enriches preaching and the life of faith.

What do I need to get started?

It's free. You don't have to pay a nickel for any of the following resources. (Thanks, Luther Seminary!)

Here's what you need to get started:

  1. Consult Readings for 2018-19 (Matthew - Year 1) (rev. 4/30/18).

  2. Visit for text commentaries on the coming week's texts. Bookmark it.

  3. Listen to "I Love to Tell the Story," the narrative lectionary podcast (or subscribe via iTunes).

  4. Connect with others on Facebook by joining the Narrative Lectionary group.
    (Follow the link and click on "Join the group" in the upper right corner to gain access.)

  5. Download prayers and music suggestions for Year 1: 2018-19 Worship Resources (rev. 5/30/18).

  6. Subscribe to the Narrative Lectionary Readings Google calendar (download ics file) (rev. 9/24/2018)

That's it! And, of course, if you want more details about the how and why, read the FAQ below. 

What are the readings?

The texts include the major episodes in Scripture. They are arranged in a narrative sequence to help people see Scripture as a story that has coherence and a dynamic movement.:

  • From September to mid-December the preaching texts begin with the early chapters of Genesis, move through the stories of Israel’s early history, the exodus, the kings, prophets, exile and return.

  • From Christmas to Easter there is sustained reading of one of the four gospels

  • From Easter to Pentecost the texts are chosen from Acts and Paul’s letters.

Download the four-year overview (rev. 9/11/18) or one of the following schedules:

Access this week’s commentary and podcast at

Why these readings?

Texts were selected that lead well to the proclamation of what God is doing. The stories tell of hope and disappointment, suffering and redemption. In all these varied contexts, we find God dealing with the complexities of human life. Stories from the gospels differ each year, avoiding repetition and highlighting what is distinctive about each gospel’s telling of the story of Jesus.

The Church Year helped to shape the flow of the Narrative Lectionary. Old Testament readings move through the story of God’s dealings with Israel and culminate in Advent with the prophets who speak of longing and hope. Readings from the gospels fit the movement from Christmas and Epiphany to the Transfiguration, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week and Easter. Selections from the book of Acts and Paul’s letters trace the outward movement of the resurrection message, culminating on Pentecost with readings focusing on the Spirit.

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