Scripture reading

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A scripture reading is a reading from the Bible in the context of the liturgy , especially during church services .

A Christian worship service contains at least one scriptural reading as an essential part. It is presented by the lecturer , a deacon or the worship service leader. Scripture readings establish the relation of the present celebration to the past and future work of God (see anamnesis ) and interpret the life of the believers. At least in the services on Sundays, solemnities and feasts , the last reading of the scriptures is usually followed by an interpretation, the sermon or homily .

For the selection of scriptural readings ( pericopes ) there are fixed regulations and liturgical books in many Christian denominations . Lectionaries often have a fixed cycle, for example three or six years. If the written readings are carried out continuously, one speaks of a web reading .


In the early Church , the Gospels and Apostles' letters were read continuously during services.

In the Middle Ages , the readings (an epistle and the Gospel ) for the respective Sundays and holidays were set in binding pericopes . In the Western Church, scripture reading was given in Latin : spoken in the Missa lecta , in all other forms of worship it was sung according to fixed melody models ( lesson tones ). Gregorian melodies were composed for individual gospel readings in the late Middle Ages . There were polyphonic introductions and some polyphonic settings of important scriptures.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church initially adopted the reading regulations of the Catholic Church , but also for the readings by introducing the vernacular. In addition, the Lutheran Church returned to simple lesson tones.

Towards the end of the 16th century, vernacular, polyphonic settings of central sections of the pericope texts appeared ( Gospel verses ). While most of the scriptures were read in the lesson tone, words of the Lord or a central message were then played as figural music.

The figural music was later outsourced from the reading.

In the Sunday services of the major Christian churches, three pericopes are recited and a response psalm is sung:

During Easter , the pericope of the first reading also comes from the New Testament .

The liturgy also provides for more readings on solemn feasts, especially during the Easter Triduum . In the Orthodox churches, twelve passages of the Gospel are recited on the evening of Maundy Thursday . The celebration of Easter Vigil in the Roman Catholic Church provides for up to twelve longer readings, mainly from the Old Testament.

In the Evangelical Church in Germany , the current pericope order has existed since 2018.

In the Catholic Church there is the reading order . It applies to all parishes in which Holy Mass is celebrated according to the Roman rite and thus practically to all Catholic parishes in Germany. The Eastern Catholic Churches and the smaller rites of the Latin tradition such as the Ambrosian Rite have their own regulations for reading scriptures; The Roman Rite in its extraordinary form ( Tridentine Mass ) uses the reading order, which was generally in use until 1970 and has a one-year cycle.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ 4th session of the 12th general synod of the VELKD ended. Evangelical Church in Germany, November 11, 2017, accessed on July 24, 2020 .