1662 Book of Common Prayer Lectionary Omissions

I have been using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer’s morning and evening prayer services for personal devotions for some time now. (I particularly recommend the 1662 BCP International Edition.) I have found these services to be a great benefit to myself in maintaining my own habits of prayer and Bible reading. Last year I did veer from them in one respect, though: instead of following the 1662 lectionary readings I would substitute the morning and evening prayer readings from Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Bible reading plan. I did this because I was bothered by how the 1662 lectionary omits large parts of the Old Testament and most of the book of Revelation, while including over a hundred chapters from the Apocrypha. I wanted my Bible reading plan to take me through the entirety of the Scriptures.

It may seem odd for a Bible reading plan to omit parts of the Bible. But the omissions make more sense when you realize that these readings originally took place not in the context of personal devotions but in the context of public worship. Morning and evening prayer were public services offered in the church twice daily, in the morning and evening. Within these services the lessons were read, not preached. The lessons, therefore, needed to be sufficiently clear and edifying to the congregation simply upon being publicly read and without any explanation from the minister. Passages which were difficult to understand or contained technical material (e.g., genealogies) or “redundant” material (e.g., 1–2 Kings and 1–2 Chronicles cover many of the same events) were therefore left out. After all, morning and evening prayer services were not intended to be the only context in which ministers or congregants would encounter Scripture. The private study and reading of Scripture was enjoined on clergy and congregants by the first homily in the Book of Homilies.

This reasoning makes sense, though we might quibble with a decision here or there. The 2019 ACNA lectionary agreed with the underlying motivation but made different decisions on what to include and exclude, largely based on how nowadays the services of morning and evening prayer—along with the lectionary readings—largely take place in the context of personal devotions rather than public worship.

Not being Anglican, I have no obligation to follow either the 1662 lectionary or the 2019 ACNA lectionary (or morning and evening prayer services for that matter), and so I feel free to mix things up a bit. I did the 2019 ACNA lectionary a couple years ago. Last year I did the M’Cheyne plan (which I had also done in previous years). This year I wanted to give the 1662 lectionary a try.

With that said, I do still want to read through the entirety of the Scriptures in 2022, so I have made a list of omissions. I am creating a pinned note on my iPhone that has these listed out just as they are below, and I will put an “x” by each chapter as I read through it on my own time. By my count there are roughly 204 chapters omitted in the Old and New Testaments, so if you read through 4 of these chapters a week, you’ll get through all of the omissions in a year. Note, however, that a number of these chapters can be combined together and more or less “skimmed,” such as the first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles which almost entirely consist of genealogies, or Joshua 11–21, which consist largely of land allotments (both of which I have decided to group together in the list below). I will also note here (as I again note below) that Esther 10 is a mere 3 verses which serve as the conclusion to the book of Esther, so I would highly recommend simply appending it to Esther 9 when you come to it in the lectionary.

A portion of Scripture only qualifies as an omission if it is missing from the lectionary and is also not found in the proper lessons for holy days or in the epistle and gospel readings. Some portions of Scripture are omitted in the lectionary but are still read as proper lessons or are appointed as an epistle or gospel reading—these I have not listed below.

I hope others may find this useful. If you notice any mistakes, let me know and I will make corrections.

Without further ado, here is the list of omissions from the 1662 BCP lectionary:

  • Genesis: 10, 11:10–32, 36
  • Exodus: 6:14–30, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40
  • Leviticus: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27
  • Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 18, 19, 26, 28, 29, 33, 34
  • Deuteronomy: 23
  • Joshua: 11–21, 22
  • 1 Chronciles: 1–9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
  • 2 Chronicles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36
  • Ezra: 2, 8, 10
  • Nehemiah: 3, 7, 11, 12
  • Esther: 10 (only 3 verses—simply add this to ch. 9 when it comes in the lectionary)
  • Proverbs: 30
  • Ezekiel: 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48
  • Revelation: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7:1, 7:13–17, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12:1–6, 12:13–17, 13, 14:6-20, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Notes on First Principles

I am slowly working through Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae. As I do so, I will share quotes that I find intriguing and may want to reference later. I am reading this Latin edition and using Alfred J. Freddoso’s new English translation as needed.

In I, Q1, A6, Aquinas addresses the question of whether sacred doctrine is wisdom–utrum sit sapientia. Thomas affirms, but my interest is less in that as in the statements he makes regarding first principles:

Continue reading Notes on First Principles