Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bible Study

My goals it to read the Bible in a year, hopefully less. I must admit that I have never read the Bible the whole way through, despite the fact that I am a Christian and it’s my instruction manual for life, after life, and everything in between. I have read certain books, know certain verses, but I have never sat down and read it all the way through, every word. I’m following this site:

I need a visual to look at and check off to keep me on track.

What I found was that once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop at the daily assignment. With a little-and I mean little-more understanding of the Bible from previous study, I’ve been able to understand more, and that makes it much easier to keep going.

So far, I’ve made it through Genesis, Job, and Exodus. Most of the the site I’m following recommends the Bible be read in order, but not all of it. Here are my thoughts so far:
Disclaimer: I am not a Biblical scholar. I’m not even all that smart. Take my musings with a grain of salt. They’re just the thoughts of an infant Christian trying to learn how to grow.

Genesis and Job: God is big. He is powerful. This is obvious, but that’s what really struck me about these two books. God can do anything. He accepts imperfect people. He makes covenants with them and holds up His end. Sometimes in the selfish pursuit of my own life, I don’t remember that I serve a God who made everything, can move mountains, is faithful to His people, and never changes. It’s too easy for me to get busy and just throw God my leftovers at the end of the day or when I have time. That’s not really what God’s about, and I need to live in awe of His majesty all the time. Also, God doesn’t answer to me. He does what He does and I should do what He says. That’s pretty much the bottom line.

Exodus: Reading the rules God gave the Jewish people was tedious. I hit a point where I wondered about the relevance of this chapter to believers in Christ who are free to live in His grace without having to build a tabernacle or sacrifice animals. But when I hit the half-way point and really thought about having to make these offerings and follow these rituals to the letter, it hit me that one benefit is that the Jewish probably almost always had to be thinking about God. When you make these offerings, follow these rules, live that close to God (literally He appears in a cloud or a fire or gives you stones with rules on them) it seems like daily life would be simpler in a harder way: sure, you have to make these sacrifices and follow small details, but how can you not be living for a higher purpose? Obviously, the rules and regulations didn’t always work, and I am hugely grateful to live in grace. But it made me wonder what “rituals” are beneficial to stay Christ-focused? How can I make every day about living for Christ, and what tools can I have on hand to get me re-centered when grad school, exhaustion, lack of time, going through the motions, and just being an easily distracted person take over my life? There were definite lessons from Exodus, ones I didn’t really expect.

Next, Leviticus. Always a hard chapter anytime I’ve ever tried to get through it, so pray for me please.

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