Reading the Old Testament


I mentioned yesterday that I spent all day Saturday nursing myself back to health.  I took my vitamins and drank enough water to drown a herd of elephants.

My favorite sick-time activities are watching movies and sleeping.  The television offered me nothing worth watching.  Yes, the Olympics were on, but after 12 days of it I just wasn’t interested anymore.  Besides, it was so foggy in Canada that were it not for the occasional ghostly skier speeding past and NBC’s Olympic logo in the corner, my t.v. screen was completely white.

I didn’t want to go through the hassle of watching a DVD: get out of bed, look through the DVDs, make a decision (do I feel like laughing? crying? or going on an adventure?), change the channel, turn on player, insert disk, find remote, resettle myself under the covers.  It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

With nothing to watch, I decided to catch up on my Old Testament reading schedule.  I had fallen about 10 days behind!  I had to read about 20 chapters of Leviticus to catch up.  *sarcasm*  I’m so glad I did, too, because March 1 started with Numbers 1, and Numbers is just so much more exciting than Leviticus.  */sarcasm*  I know the action picks up somewhere around chapter 11, but right now I’m force-reading.

Is anyone else feeling the same way with your reading plan this time of year? If so, then you’ll appreciate these words from An Old Testament Theology by Waltke:

Most Bible readers make at least one attempt in their lives to read the Bible cover to cover. The enterprise is surprisingly successful at the beginning as they are engaged by the irruption of God’s kingdom in overcoming the primordial darkness, the Fall, the Flood, a hostile and powerful pharaoh, the Red Sea, and a terrible wilderness. In these stories the author proves himself as having a flair for the dramatic. From the creation to the destruction of the Egyptian army at the Red Sea and Israel’s survival in the wilderness, the author enthralls his readers with action and conflict. The readers are carried along by the smooth-flowing narrative to the feet of Mount Sinai but are then unexpectedly dumped into an incomprehensible heap of case laws and curtain measurements. It is like reading Moby Dick, a thrilling narrative interrupted by a taxonomy of whale species.

I read that this morning and laughed out loud.  Let’s press on! Keep reading! I’ve heard it gets better. 😉

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12 thoughts on “Reading the Old Testament

  1. Thank you for this encouragement, because I’ve found myself behind as well. It gets discouraging to get so far behind. I am trying to read the Bible through in a more deliberate way this year rather than just reading to mark chapters off a plan sheet, if that makes any sense!

    Glad you are feeling better!

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    1. Makes total sense! I’m trying to read the Waltke book in pace with the OT readings for the same reason. It’s forcing me to think and consider things I haven’t before when reading the OT. There’s so much more to it than being a collection of stories.

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  2. I’m also reading along this pattern so know that you’re not alone 😉 Another great book I’ve found to read alongside these is Dever’s, “The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made.” Happy Reading! 😀

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  3. I’m glad you’re feeling better too! Last week I was looking up some verses on fear and God led me to Lev. 26. I had planned on just reading the verse then moving on to something “more signifigant” in the NT. But instead, I was totally drawn in and ministered to by that chapter. Have you read Nancy Ganz’s commentary on Lev? We’ve only gone through Gennesis and Exodus.

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  4. I can relate. This is especially likely if you start on January 1, crying out, “This is the year!”

    I found I am more likely to continue when I read ‘The Daily Bible in Chronological Order.’ (I blogged on it back in March 2009) All those laws and curtain measurements are still there, though, and a cursory reading is not going to really dig into the symbolism. But a read-through will give you the Great Big Picture.

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    1. I don’t mind reading the curtain measurements — those parts do remind me just how holy God is, how particular he is, how detail-oriented he is. Those parts made me consider how willy-nilly, Nadab & Abihu-ish I tend to be about worship and personal holiness.

      Maybe I’ll try a chronological plan next year.

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  5. I hope you are feeling better. I started reading through the Bible 3 months before Raine was born. She’s almost 3. I am in 2 Chronicles, though I have read through Matthew and Hebrews… I think some of Mark.

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  6. I laughed out loud as well! A thrilling narrative interupted by taxonomy, indeed?

    Side note: Is Moby Dick a thrilling narrative? Just curious…

    I too had to catch up on my Leviticus reading and am now in Numbers. I keep reminding myself that all these seemingly nitpicky laws reveal the holiness of God and my inability to approach Him! The suggestion to read Dever’s work side by side is a good one; I gave both his OT and NT books to my husband for Christmas!

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    1. *I keep reminding myself that all these seemingly nitpicky laws reveal the holiness of God and my inability to approach Him!

      *You are so right!

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