How to Use The Daily Texts
The Daily Texts is a daily devotional guide published yearly since 1731. It is the oldest such guide in continuous use. Begun in Germany as a daily oral tradition, it soon became a regularly printed set of texts for each day of the year.
The texts are chosen yearly in Germany for use in all editions of the Daily Texts throughout the world. The Old Testament text is chosen by lot from a collection of about 2,000 appropriate texts. The New Testament text is then selected to expand on the Old Testament text, to give some point of Christian doctrine or to match with the special celebrations of the church year. In the American edition, appropriate hymn verses and prayers are added for each day and chosen by designated writers of varying ages, both lay and clergy, for each month.
The strength of the Daily Texts lies in presenting the Scripture unhindered by commentary or illustration. The texts are left to stand alone and to speak to each reader in his or her life. This also allows the Daily Texts to be adaptable to different patterns of devotion and study.
Printed in over 51 different languages and dialects and with an annual press run of nearly one and a half million, the Daily Texts is probably the most widely used and read devotional guide in the world, next to the Bible itself.
Contents For Each Day
1. SCRIPTURE LESSONS
: At the top of each page for ongoing study. Not related to the printed texts. Monday through Saturday are part of a plan to read through the Psalms in one year and the rest of the Bible in two. Sundays and special days are the assigned lessons for that day of the church year from the Moravian Revised Common Lectionary, also common to many denominations.2. WATCHWORD FOR THE DAY:
From the Old Testament, the first printed text. It is to be a “watchword” to accompany you throughout the day. Usually a promise, encouragement, admonition, or comfort.3. HYMN VERSES
: Broken down by meter and usually related to the watchword or theme for the day. It is a devotional response or commentary on the text. Can be used for prayers.4. DOCTRINAL TEXT:
From the New Testament. Usually contains some point of Christian doctrine to expand on the watchword.5. PRAYER
: A response to God of praise, confession, thanksgiving, or intercession in light of the texts and hymn verses.
Every Sunday and some church holidays, the Daily Texts page will include the WATCHWORD FOR THE WEEK/HOLIDAY
. Like the daily watchword, the weekly/holiday text is to accompany the reader throughout the week or holiday and is related to the events of the church year. These differ every year based upon the lectionary cycle.
The printed texts, hymn verses, and prayers are the heart of the devotional guide. Their purpose is to help the reader get more closely in touch with God and to meditate upon the Word of God.
- Feel the encouragement found in the texts.
- Hear any word or correction for your life.
- Ponder the great message of faith.
- Meditate upon the hymn verses and prayers.
- Feel God’s presence surrounding you in faith.
- In silence, hear God’s word speaking to you.
These texts can be the center of a daily spiritual diary where you keep a journal of your daily meditations and their meaning in your life.
Private devotion and prayer are the times that we converse and respond to God and allow God to speak to us in life. These times should include:
- Adoration: Praising God’s great love and concern for you and for all people.
- Confession: Looking within yourself, finding where you need to confess sins and shortcomings.
- Thanksgiving: Thanks, not just for daily bread and support, but for all God’s gifts through Jesus Christ.
- Supplication and Intercession: Coming to God with concerns, cares, and burdens for yourself, for others, and for the world we live in.
The Texts and Bible Study
The assigned lessons at the top of every page can be a valuable method for daily Bible study. With the exception of Sundays and holidays, they follow a daily pattern of study. The main study passage for the day is the second one listed. Over the period of several weeks or months, these lessons will provide an organized plan of study of an entire book or an important portion of one. The first passage listed is a lesson that is related in theme or content to the main lesson. By following this Bible reading plan, in a year you will have read about half of the books within the Bible.
There are many resource books available to assist in the study of these passages. Bible study notebooks, books on ways to study different types of biblical literature, Bible dictionaries, and commentaries will all add to your knowledge of the Bible and its meaning in your life.
Some questions that you can ask while studying the Bible might be:
- What is the central message of this passage?
- Is there a promise from God to me here?
- Is there a command for my life with God?
- Is there an important statement of faith?
- If I took this passage seriously, what would it mean for my life?