In early October as we prepared this edition of The Moravian for publication, nearly 500 cases of 2013 Moravian Daily Texts arrived at our offices in Bethlehem, Pa. Cracking open that first box represented the culmination of an 18-month process that began in Germany in April of 2011 with the selection of the 2013 watchwords.
Over the course of five days, the IBOC shipped more than 11,000 copies to Moravians and non-Moravians all over the world and orders continue to arrive. While the “standard” paperback edition continues to be our most popular version, we shipped plenty of hardcover, large print and journal editions, too. And a digital edition of the 2013 Daily Texts for the Amazon Kindle will be available through Amazon.com.
To help those new to the Daily Texts (or as a refresher for those who’ve been using it for years), we offer this guide for using the Daily Texts.
Using 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 Herrnhut, 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.
Printed in over 51 different languages and dialects and with an annual press run of more than a million, the Daily Texts may be the most widely used and read devotional guide in the world, next to the Bible itself. The IBOC offers the Texts in German and Spanish for customers in the U.S. and Canada.
For the North American edition, the German texts are translated into English by Erdmute Frank. We then combine the texts with the weekly watchwords and daily Bible study information before sending to our writers.
The Interprovincial Board of Communication (IBOC) staff assign writers of varying ages, both lay and clergy, and from the Northern and Southern Province to select hymns and write prayers for each day. Writers are responsible for one month of Daily Texts. We are blessed with talented contributors; each year’s contributions reflect the creativity, diversity and spirituality of today’s Moravian Church.
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.
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.
To learn more about the Moravian Daily Texts, click here.
From the November 2012 Moravian Magazine