Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reading through the Old Testament

I've preached approximately 800 sermons and in all of them I either mentioned or explored a Scripture passage; I've taken seminary classes on the Bible; I have at least forty commentaries on the Bible in my office; I read the Bible almost every day in my personal devotions; I've taught Bible Studies; I've read through the Bible cover to cover at least twice. And I still find myself learning more about the Bible when I read it.

As I made some New Year's Resolutions for 2011 I decided to read through the Old Testament this year.

I've done this before. In 2006 I read the Bible cover to cover; in 2007 I read the Old Testament; in 2008 I read the New Testament. I tried to read Calvin's Institutes in 2009, but lost interest halfway through. In 2010 I was too busy starting a new church to thing about a reading plan.

I'm not any less busy this year, but just as needy to grow in my own personal relationship with God.

I know that the Old Testament is scary to some people. At times God acts in confusing ways; the people of Israel often went on killing sprees; the laws in Exodus and Leviticus seem out-of-place for life in 2011.

But still—my spirit has already been refreshed in 2011 through what I've read.

Just this morning I read chapters 15-18 of Genesis. I was touched by the compassion that God showed Hagaar. I resonated with the questions that Abram had for God about if and when his wife Sarai was going to have a baby. I discovered—even though I've read this story countless times—that it was 25 years between the time that God promised Abram a son and Sarah bore Isaac. Even though God had made a promise, the promise too a while to happen. This gives me a deepened appreciation for patience.

All of this—in just four chapters of Genesis!!

If you—this blog reader—would like to read through the Old Testament, send me an E-mail. The address can be found via our church's web site— The reading plan I'm following involves reading two or three chapters a day. I'm sure I'll get behind—but I'll just look for times to get caught up. If I get too far behind, I'll just skip ahead to the place of the current plan.

If you join me in reading the Old Testament I would love to have conversation via E-mail about what we are reading. Reading the Bible is always done better in community.

The Scriptures are a treasure that teach us about God, humanity, the world, and ourselves. I'm excited to learn more through reading the Old Testament in 2011. Why don't you join me?

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