I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world. --Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 28, 29. {ChS 112.2}

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Suggestions on How To Read the Old Testament in Four Months

I have a very busy dear friend, new to the faith, who wants to read the Old Testament through in the next four months prior to heading off to ARME Bible Camp.

Here are some suggestions on how she (and you, perhaps) can achieve this reading of the OT in less than a year (gleaned from the Internet, of course).  You will not be doing much "in depth" study but it will be a survey of the panarama that is God's Holy Word, an introduction that can be built upon later when the actual bible study (read: digging for Gold) begins.  My friend has already devoured the New Testament.  The Old Testament and most of what is in it are preparations-- or and types and examples of – the things fulfilled and waiting to be fulfilled in the New Testament, so for her, reading the Old Testament will be done "in the light of" the New Testament, if you will.  For example, it really makes a difference that she has read  John 1:1-5 before reading Gen. 1:1-31.  It helps to understand the Old Testament role of the entity that we later came to know as Jesus and how the entire physical universe was made by Him and for Him.

So, here are those suggestions on how to read the Old Testament in 4 months:

  • Put aside a specific time to do the reading.  Don't diverge from that.  Write it down as an appointment in your daytimer.  Personally, I find that early morning (the 'still of the day' in our house) is a good time, but some people like to read the OT in the evening (particularly if they are also reading the NT and want to read the OT 'in the light of' of the New Testament).
  • Read the Old Testament in the same place every day.  Being able to concentrate without interruptions and distractions is an important part of accomplishing the reading goals you might have.  Getting away from the Computer is not a bad thing (lest you be tempted to check your email or Facebook :) )
  • Have your printed reading schedule on a clipboard with blank pages for notes under the schedule.  Check off what you have read as you go (don't forget to do this: when you have a high pace you might end up re-reading books and verses and getting behind schedule because of that).
  • Have your Concordance, dictionary, etc. close-by in your special reading spot.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to be with you as you read, to provide understanding and discernment.  
  • Reading out loud can be helpful if you are having difficulty keeping on track (find yourself reading the same sentence over and over)
  • Listen to the Bible read aloud (such as the KJV by actor Max McLean at Bible Gateway)  This might be most useful if you follow along in your Bible as Max reads.  If you miss a day of reading, this might be one way to catch up gracefully.
  • Form a group with others who want to read the Old Testament with a similar completion goal. As long as there are two of you present, Jesus is present, and you can take turns reading aloud.  The Old Testament is steeped in the culture of the time, and reading it in a non-contemporary English version can be a challenge on its own.  You might want to refer to the Bible Commentaries or Patriarchs and Prophets and Prophets and Kings after you have done your daily readings.
  • Read from a Children's or Youth's Bible for a clearer, more expressive story. Read from more than one version of the Bible.
  • You might want to build in some movies or plays or music tracks ("The Ten Commandments" or "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", for example).  While there might be some of the culture of the time depicted in a useful way, there will also be a lot of discrepancy that you will notice if you have read the corresponding Bible stories.
  • Start today.  If you read 15 pages of the Old Testament through each day you will complete it in 4 months.  If you read for 30 minutes a day (about 200 words a minute) you will complete the reading of the Old Testament in under 4 months.  Pray for guidance and perseverence!  Pray for more time for study and reflection!  May God bless you in your reading!

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