In his book Privilege the Text, Abraham Kuruvilla cites the practice of ancient synagogues in teaching through Scripture passages in a continuing fashion (lectio continua), “each subsequent reading taking up from where the previous reading had left off. This was the oldest approach to readings of the canonical text, and it was the standard practice on non-festival Sabbaths in Jewish synagogues. In all likelihood, this protocol of continuous reading was bequeathed to the church; this mode of contact with Scripture appears to be the norm for most of early church history.”

Why is this practice—exemplified today by preaching through biblical books (or sections of books)—a worthy model for today’s church? Kuruvilla describes it as “particularly effective for maintaining the continuity of the subject matter from week to week, and for respecting its trajectory” because “individual periscopes find their proper position in the context of the rest of the book and the canon, for there is an integrity to the whole that must not be fragmented.”

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