A few years ago, I decided to read the entire Bible in one year. I was surprised at some of the insights I was able to get out of it.
The advantage was that you get what the Bible is saying in context: not individual texts lifted out like some sort of blessing box verse, but the whole sweep of the Bible’s narrative while it’s fresh in your mind. You get much more of a feel for what it is telling us. It was, and continues to be, a life changing experience.
I’ve slowed down a little, but continue to read it daily: It has been so profitable and encouraging I just can’t stop.
What stuck out after taking big gulps of the Bible? One thing that was striking was my view of God in the Old Testament:
– God is fair, and God is Love. If He’s mad, it’s because people are unfair or unloving.
– That people matter. They really do.
– That the moral law is not something we made up, but is as real and objective as mathematics. That it has a Source. Good really is good, and evil is, well, evil.
– That God is a covenant making God. He makes promises to His people, and that He is faithful.
– That He always has shown grace, even in the Old Testament.
I was also able to see how well the Old Testament meshes in with the New. How many of the promises made to Israel find their consummation in Christ, and how the promises made to the nation of Israel now open up to include anyone – Jew and Gentile – who will trust in Israel’s Redeemer.
– The New Testament, besides the gospel narratives (the actual teachings, work, and resurrection of Christ) shows us, especially in St Paul’s writings, the logic of redemption, and how it all fits together.
– That God is relational: the individual’s decision to trust God is crucial.
– That even Christians are still human and can get it wrong. Much of the New Testament contains letters written to correct imbalances that were showing up in the young churches.
– That there is an end to History. That death really has been defeated, and that we were made for happy endings because there is one.
– That despair is not an option. That there really is hope and meaning for life.
Just a few thoughts. If you haven’t Read the whole Bible, I’d encourage you to do it. Read the New Testament first, and Psalms and Proverbs. Don’t let some parts (the geneologies in Chronicles and some of the more nit picky rules in Exodus and Leviticus come to mind) bog you down. Set aside a little time, every day, and read. It takes a while to develop the habit, but it’s really worth the trip.