Forming Faith Blog

Through the Bible (Narrative Lectionary)


Free Resource: What is the Narrative Lectionary? (FAQ)

Reading the BibleYou might have heard of the Narrative Lectionary, or perhaps you are concerned about the biblical literacy of your congregation. Either way, here’s a brief breakdown with links to more information.

What is the Narrative Lectionary?

A lectionary is a set calendar of Bible readings used in a worship service. The most common lectionary used is the Revised Common Lectionary, which has three to four Bible passages per Sunday (or festival day): Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament, and Gospel. The Narrative Lectionary, on the other hand, only uses one main Bible passage per Sunday/festival, along with a shorter “accompanying text.” What makes the this unique is that the Bible passages are arranged to allow congregations to hear the whole story (narrative) of God and God’s people found throughout Scripture, in order.

Why use the Narrative Lectionary?

The Narrative Lectionary is a tool, and like any tool, its usefulness is dependent on how it is used. However, properly used, this lectionary can increase biblical literacy in the congregations who use it by:

  • Telling stories about the main characters from throughout Scripture and
  • Connecting the individual stories to each other chronologically within the Bible’s grand narrative.

This clearly can and is being done in multiple other ways, but this lectionary:

  • Focuses this within the worship service (the largest regular faith formation event in congregations),
  • Provides a ready-made calendar of readings,
  • Includes a series of educational and other resources that help integrate all faith formation ministries throughout the congregation, and
  • Includes a community of other faith formation leaders for support.
How do you get ready?

The exact process for making a change to the Narrative Lectionary varies from congregation to congregation. In some, the pastor can swap the lectionary whenever she or he chooses. However, in most, the person who is excited about this new lectionary needs to convince others (church council or equivalent, committees, worship leadership, etc.) about all of the benefits for using this. This week’s free resource is a three page “frequently asked questions” document that can be distributed to those in need of information on this lectionary. You can also access the same document on our What is the Narrative Lectionary? page.

Spirit & Truth Publishing creates the Living the Word series of faith formation products with resources for kids, youth, adults, and cross+gen ministry that relate to the Narrative Lectionary. You download the Narrative Lectionary Scope & Sequence and Reading List, our Planning Tool, and you can access our online daily lectionary all for free.

-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)


2018-2019 (NL Year 1) faith formation materials are now available for purchase. Fall lessons can be downloaded right away! You can download the 2018-2019 Planning Tool and Scope & Sequence to start your planning for the next program year!

For more great ideas on how to engage participants of all ages in the story of God’s love, check out our Living the Word series for elementary students, youth, adults, and intergenerational settings!

Image Copyright: mikdam / 123RF Stock Photo

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