Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bible Alone 30 day challenge - recap

It seems it was just Christmas and now it's February first. January was a long month but, at the same time, it flew by! It feels like I just started my Bible only challenge but it's already over. When I posted last week, I mentioned that I was hoping to read through the end of Nehemiah. Once again, I underestimated myself!

During the 31 days of January, I read:

Judges 12-21
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalm 1-13

I could have read more. I found myself mainly reading first thing in the morning and again right before bedtime. Occasionally I would sit down in the middle of the day and read a few chapters or read a bit while waiting for a pot of water to boil. I didn't read the Bible for as many hours as I would normally spend reading other books, but spent more time each day in the Bible than I usually do. It's a matter of balance, I think.

To be very frank, I learned a lot about myself during this challenge. Reading the Bible is not exciting to me, though I do enjoy it. When I read other books for the first time, I find myself excited to sit down and see what happens next. I've read the Bible completely through at least three times and have read a few of the books (Psalms, Proverbs, Genesis, the Gospels) numerous times over my life. I was born into a Christian family and thus have heard many of the Bible stories many times. For the most part, I know what's going to happen next. The familiarity strips away some of the eagerness of reading.

On the other hand, each time I read through the Bible, I learn new things. I become aware of holes in my Biblical education, of biases that are taught in children's classes or facts that are left out. For instance, do you know how Esther came to be queen? She pleased the king, and it wasn't simply because of how she looked! How PG-13! Just last week I finally caught on to the fact that the Jews (in the book of Esther) were saved not because they weren't hunted by non-Jews. No, they were hunted but because of Esther pleading with the king were allowed to defend themselves and killed thousands and thousands of people in one day! That was not taught in my Primary School class.

Now that I'm older and taking the time to search, I love tracing themes throughout the Bible and seeing how the Old Testament and New Testament are tied together. You can't reject the Old Testament by saying we're no longer bound by it or to it. There's so much in the Old Testament that is still relevant, that is still crucial to our understanding of God. So much of what is taught in the New Testament is also taught in the Old! Unless we take the time to read both, we don't see the complete picture.

Overall, I came away from this challenge with a greater appreciation of the Bible. I've found that I can spend 30 minutes reading the Old Testament stories and not get bored. While it's not exciting per se, it's interesting and important and relevant. I really enjoy spending time with God first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to bed. I'm looking forward to spending more time in God's Word.

12 comments:

Deanna said...

Congratulations on your studies. I, too, find the familiar-but-new nature of the scriptures compelling.

make.share.give said...

I did not know that about Esther, hmm.
A few years ago, I started marking the date in my Bible when I finish a book. I love re-reading- each time I'm at a different stage in my life ready to hear different things.
So what did you read today?

DanniellaAnn said...

yeah, I just recently learned how Esther became queen. Yikes! But I did know about the Jews being able to defend themselves.
I can agree with you about the reading the Bible, it's not as "exciting" as reading a new book, and even though I learn new things too, I have to force myself to sit down and read it sometimes when there are "better" things to read.
I've been trying to teach Hannah the WHOLE stories from the bible, such as the part where David cuts off Goliaths head and then takes it around showing people... Of course this has resulted in some very hilarious story reinactments with Daddy..

Vivian Masterson said...

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you something in the scriptures that you don't already know. There's so many little revelations and treasures of wisdom in one scripture that if you want to see them you can. Then you will run to the Bilbe to see what new thing the Holy Spirit is going to show you out of the same old scriptures. lol "You have not because you ask not." lol Then sometimes He'll have you stuck on a scripture and you keep reading it but the Holy Spirit is going to talk to you about it thru some preacher on TV or radio. It's awesome studying with the Holy Spirits guidance. God will enlighten your understanding and open you spiritual eyes. Wow, you haven't read anything yet, Cassandra! God Bless you in your new venture, Girly. I'm a Homemaker as well. Hi.

Kathryn D. Duke said...

Hey Cassandra...
I just love reading the Old Testament...not sure why. Maybe because the NT is taught so often and of course Jesus's teachings are there. BUt, you know what, I see Jesus all through the OT and find it kinda "sweet" that the Father gives me tid bits while reading!!
Enjoy your blog...thanks for sharing.

BLessisngs, Kathy

Missie said...

I am still struggling to get through the whole Bible...I am close but I am struggling through the Old Testament. I do learn something new every time though...so that does help me have a fresh perspective. I have also found that working on bible study with a group brings amazing new thoughts I would never have had on my own

Cherie said...

I just finished re-reading Esther a few weeks ago. And what I found interesting was that when it came time for her to go in unto the king, "she required nothing but what Hegai the king's chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed." Made me wonder what the other girls required, and of course what Hegai appointed.
I also thought more about her approach to the king regarding the plight of the Jews. She didn't just blurt it all out, she was prepared and I'm sure followed spiritual promptings which came as a result of her fasting.
One of my favorite Biblical books.

Hoe said...

Yes, true. Every time when I read the Bible, I kicked myself for missing out something. Sometimes a sentence has no meaning until we have certain experience in life.

fly44d said...

The real world is so much more than the narrow confines of the bible. Try reading Lawrence M. Krauss's A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing. Very short and easy read. Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne is also excellent and well written. Just saying.

Linda in Calif. said...

I reading about 3 chapter per day, until I read through the whole bible. I too am learning a lot. Surprises me as I've read some of the stories so many, many times. I learned in Genesis that I don't really know God the way I thought I did. Nice to read your thoughts on your blog.

Kat said...

I've loved the Lord for years and have studied his word over the years, but am awful about reading through the entire text of scripture. Reading your bible alone challenge is encouraging. Glad I decided to check out a few other blogs today :) Blessings to you and your family.

JazznJenna said...

I enjoyed reading about your love for reading the Bible. I'm a very slow reader (my day filled with mommy responsibilities rarely leaves me enough brain power to concentrate on books), but have been studying the scriptures daily as well. One of my goals this year is to read the Old or New Testament completely, and then next year I will read the other part. As a member of the Mormon church, I love all of the blessings that learning and loving and living Jesus Christ's gospel brings to my family and me! Thanks for sharing your experience and providing me a little more motivation to keep my pages turning : )!