A lectionary is a schedule of Bible readings. There are many such schedules. This one is unique in many beneficial ways.
The scriptures were carefully divided so that each week's portion is almost the same size. The average portion differs in length by only 4%. The most a portion will vary from the normal length is 20%. Consistency is an important part of habit; this consistency in the length of portions will therefore help turn your Bible study into a habit.
You will not be burdened with too much reading one week, and a tiny amount the next week.
Unlike most lectionaries, this one covers the COMPLETE Bible. In the Jewish system of Parshas, only the first five books of the Bible are covered. The rest of the old Testament is rarely referred to. Some small portion of it is included with each parsha under the heading of Haftorah. Most groups ignore the Haftorahs. Even if they scrupulously include them in their Bible reading practice, the bulk of the Bible is left uncovered.
Many lectionaries are designed to give specific readings for specific feasts, festivals, and holy days. Each group varies in these. Since this lectionary only asks half an hour per week, you can still do all your normally scheduled readings for the holy days.
There are three divisions in these Bible portions: the History section is by itself. Then the Prophets, Poems, and Wisdom books. Finally, the New Testament. By using these divisions, you are exposed to a diverse and interesting section of the Bible every week. If one part seems particularly boring, such as the genealogies, it will be compensated for in the other parts. If a prophecy seems hard to understand, the History or the Gospel section for the week will make up for it.
There is a greater benefit to this three-part division of each week's reading. Every part of the Bible is related to every other part. As you become familiar with the Bible, you will want to look for such relationships. You will often be surprised by the connections you find. It is important you do not read any part of the Bible in isolation. Every part of the Bible informs you about every other part. The three part division will get you accustomed to this manner of thinking.
By developing this habit of Bible reading, you also provide a foundation for your family, especially your children. Imagine, by the time your child is eighteen, they will have heard the Bible read out loud six times! This knowledge of what is actually IN the Bible will protect them from spiritual wolves. I personally recommend that children participate in these readings as soon as they are old enough to read. Speaking the Word of God is even more beneficial than hearing it!
You may think that children are too young to understand the Bible. You would be astonished at how much they understand. And where they do not understand, there is another benefit. The mere hearing of the words, has an effect. The Words of God sink into the brain. You may already know of miracles that have happened. Years later, a few words from Scripture will be recalled to one's mind. They come at the right time, with understanding. By laying a foundation of Scripture knowledge, you allow the understanding to come just as soon as it is ready. Even infants of two years old can benefit by hearing the Word read out loud!
If you find some of the words or names are hard to pronounce, do not fear. Find another person who is also following this reading schedule, and read it together. You will hear how they say the words, and they will teach you how to do the same. In turn, you will do the same for your children as they learn to read Holy Scripture.
Some may question the choice of a three year cycle. Three years is a long time. Traditionally, in Judaism and in the Catholic church, the Bible was read in a three year cycle. In modern times, other groups have chosen the same length of time. Three years was the time of discipleship to become an Essene. Later, it was the same length of time to be fully discipled into the Christian church. Three years is long enough to see that someone is committed to the course of study. Dividing it up over three years ensures it is not burdensome, and that the material can be covered in some depth.
Each week's reading only takes one half an hour to read out loud. Many sermons take much longer than that. Surely you can sit still for half an hour every week to hear the Word of God, without any commentary or interpretation?
If you have time, I highly recommend that you and your friends discuss the week's portion after reading it, not during. If you have any comments or questions on the material, write it down. That way everything can be done orderly, as the scripture says. (1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.)
At the end of the reading cycle, look back on your notes. You will be astonished at how many of your questions have been answered, just by finishing the reading! If questions still remain, do not fear. With practice and exercise comes strength. With study in this fashion, comes knowledge and wisdom. Repeat the cycle, with your questions in mind. Like the thawing of an iceberg, your mass of questions and doubts will melt into a living knowledge of the Living God.
Save your questions and notes. The questions you ask are the best way to see how you have progressed. The answers will be in your head; you don't need to record them. The first few times you go through Scripture, you may find your answers to your questions change. Do not worry. The answers will settle down as you get the complete picture, as you grasp the entirety of the Bible in your mind. Reviewing your own questions is the best way to encourage yourself; you will see instantly the progress you have made. Also, it is like looking in the mirror. You will see where you must focus your efforts to make further progress.
I wish you well!
To go to the Scripture Readings Lectionary, click here: The Lectionary: Scripture Reading Schedule