08 January 2013

Planning to read the whole Bible this year

The beginning of the new year, despite my annoyance with how cliché New Year's resolutions are, seems like a good time to begin fulfilling my desire to read through the whole Bible again. I've read it through in the past and have continued to read/hear parts of the Bible regularly, but it has been a long time since I've been systematic about it. I feel thus like I've been losing some of my Bible knowledge, which from the perspective of being a Christian is sad. Furthermore, as a Biblical scholar and one who wants to do biblical theology well, it's actually a significant hinderance. Thus it feels like it's time to pick up my English Bible and start spending more time with it.

But how? Once upon a time I had a New Living Translation Two-Year Bible, and that worked well. I really appreciated that each day had a reading from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. But I have since misplaced it (I remember lending it out?), and I also wonder if I don't prefer the slightly more haphazard reading plan style from my earlier years (start at the beginning, read a few chapters most days and stop when I'm finished). The current plan is a mixture of both. I did some googling and found an outline of a classic Bible reading plan, which starts in Genesis and Luke 5 with a Psalm or Proverb along side of that. I've put bookmarks/papers in three parts of my Bible. Written on the bookmarks is how much I should have read by day 7, 14, 21, 28 so that I can finish in a year. Every day I try to read at least one chapter and some days more, and I can choose from NT, OT and/or Psalms.

Already I've noticed that I've appreciated reading it. If you'd asked me whether Luke had a version of the beautitudes, I would have probably have said yes - but I hadn't realized how different they were (e.g., Luke 6:21 - "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now for you will laugh."). Even more different is the present of woes/curses following the blessings. 
I'd also forgotten the story of Abram rescuing Lot and helping out the king of Sodom, as found in Gen 14. Abram is such a familiar figure that I was surprised that I was capable of forgetting parts of his story. I had remembered the visit of the high priest Melchizidek but had forgotten in which context it occurred, not entirely surprisingly as his presence in this story does seem a bit random. 

Hopefully I'll post more things that surprise me as I continue to read and fall in love more with the Bible.

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