40: Lent readings


A series of readings for Lent 2015, reflecting on significant times in the Bible’s narrative:
40 days of rain in Genesis;
Moses’ 40 days on the mountain with God;
40 years of testing for Israel in the desert;
Solomon’s 40 glorious years to reign in Israel;
Nineveh’s 40 days to repent;
Jesus’ 40 days of testing in the wilderness;
and finally the 40 days of Jesus’ resurrection before his final ascension into glory.

These periods were often times of trial, temptation and preparation. I hope that reading and reflecting on them through this season of Lent will help us to reflect on our own trials and temptations, as we prepare once again to celebrate Christ’s great triumph over death this Easter. My plan is simply to make time each day to read, reflect and pray through these readings. I hope you will join me.

Click here for the printable pdf.

Why aren’t there 40 readings?
40 is the thematic link, not the number of readings. Traditionally, the forty days of Lent includes the period from Ash Wednesday until the day before Easter Sunday, but it excludes Sundays since these are always ‘feast days’ rather than ‘fast days’ because every Sunday is a mini-celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Some of the Sunday readings reflect that idea of feasting and celebration.

Here are a couple of questions you might like to think about as you read:

What is the purpose of this time of waiting, testing or preparation?
How does this time reflect the experiences of the Christian life as we wait for the final resurrection?


Week 1 Forty days of flood

Feb 18 Genesis 6:1-8
Feb 19 Genesis 6:9–7:5
Feb 20 Genesis 7:6-23
Feb 21 Genesis 7:24–8:14
Feb 22 Genesis 8:15-22

Week 2 Forty days on the mountain

Feb 23 Exodus 24:1-18
Feb 24 Exodus 32:1-14
Feb 25 Exodus 32:15-35
Feb 26 Exodus 33:1-11
Feb 27 Exodus 33:12-23
Feb 28 Exodus 34:1-16
March 1 Exodus 34:17-35

Week 3 Forty years in the wilderness

March 2 Numbers 13:1, 16-33
March 3 Numbers 14:1-19
March 4 Numbers 14:20-45
March 5 Numbers 20:1-13
March 6 Numbers 20:14-29
March 7 Numbers 21:1-9
March 8 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Week 4 Forty years of the kingdom

March 9 1 Kings 3:1-15
March 10 1 Kings 6:1-13
March 11 1 Kings 8:1-21
March 12 1 Kings 9:1-9
March 13 1 Kings 10:1-13
March 14 1 Kings 11:1-13, 41-43
March 15 Psalm 72

Week 5 Forty days to repent
March 16 Jonah 1:1-6
March 17 Jonah 1:7-16
March 18 Jonah 1:17-2:10
March 19 Jonah 3:1-10
March 20 Jonah 4:1-11
March 21 Luke 11:29-32
March 22 Luke 15:1-7

Week 6 Forty days in the wilderness
March 23 Luke 4:1-4
March 24 Luke 4:5-8
March 25 Luke 4:9-13
March 26 Hebrews 2:5-18
March 27 Hebrews 3:7-19
March 28 Hebrews 4:14-5:10
March 29 James 1:12-18

Week 7 Forty days of resurrection

March 30 Luke 24:1-12
March 31 Luke 24:13-35
April 1 Luke 24:36-49
April 2 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
April 3 1 Corinthians 15: 12-34
April 4 1 Corinthians 15: 35-49
April 5 1 Corinthians 15:50-58