Friday, April 29, 2011

A huge check mark

Even though I listed it in the 11 things I wanted to accomplish in 101 days, one of my goals has been almost two and a half years in the making.  This morning I finished reading the Bible.  The whole thing.  And this is a study Bible so I read all (well, not quite all, but almost all) the notes, too.

Lots and lots and lots and lots of pages with lots and lots
and lots of little words.  I'm sorry I gave you a hot coffee bath back in 2010.

For those who are interested, I actually started reading the New Testament back around January of 2009.  It took almost a year to finish because at that point I was taking fairly detailed notes as I read.  I started the Old Testament in Dec. of 2009 or Jan. of 2010, and I finished this morning.  I read a few pages every morning- text and notes- which took me about 20 minutes, and I would spend 10 or so minutes in prayer and reflection after that.  Kind of skimpy, but it's easy to transition from prayer and reflection to sleep at 5:15am.

The second half of this goal is to put together a "guide to the Old Testament" presentation for my church small group.  There's so much information and so many stories, it's easy to let it all blend together, and I thought teaching it would help me solidify things in my mind.  I've mentally set aside a couple days at the end of our vacation to work on this.

A few quick thoughts about the whole thing:

  1. You should read it, too.  Believers, you already know that.  However, I think it would be a good project for non-believers, too.  So much of Western civilization is based on the stories and concepts contained in its pages, that even if you read it from a purely academic perspective, you would learn a lot.  It's not much of an exaggeration to say that everything we say comes either from the Bible or Shakespeare.  
  2. The Old Testament is actually really interesting, and I was afraid it was not going to be.  My favorite parts were the Joseph story, the David story, and Ruth.  The only parts I felt got a little boring were the lists of names in Chronicles, the three descriptions of the temple, and some of the psalms and minor prophets.  Although everyone else loves Song of Solomon, it kind of made me feel embarrassed- like an 8th grader in health class. 
  3. It made me feel connected to the past.  These are words that people have been reading for thousands of years in incredibly diverse places and situations.  This was especially true when I was reading the book of Isaiah.  There's a lot of messianic prophesy in Isaiah, and Jesus quotes from the book often during his ministry.  It's like wow, this is so old and so important that Jesus studied it as a child.  It still blows my mind. 
  4. I'm planning to start reading through the New Testament again, and after that I'd like to read a Jewish translation of the OT.  The books are in a different order, and obviously the commentary would be different.  I think it would be a good way to motivate myself to take on the challenge again.

Well, that's the last you'll hear from me for awhile.  My flight leaves super early tomorrow, but Daniel will be guest posting some throughout the week.  I have no idea what he's going to blog about.  Probably courage wolf.  See you on the other side!