Reading Plan: Don't Give Up Just Yet!
Right now our Bible reading plan is taking us through the books of the law. You may be discouraged and want to give up. Don't stop now though! There are riches to be found here
For years I tried Bible reading plans where I would go strong through Genesis and the first half of Exodus, only to get tripped up and fall off the wagon in the books of the law (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). Can you relate? Perhaps you loved those first few videos and chapters but lately it's been harder to find time? Or perhaps you find yourself confused by all the laws and what they mean?
Right now in our Read Scripture Bible reading plan we've just wrapped up Numbers and are headed to Deuteronomy. I really do believe that doing this plan together will lead fruit throughout the year so here are a few tips to keep in mind as we go.
There Really Is Gold In These Texts: In the books of the law you may need to dig a little more but there truly is gold there. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we learn that "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." Yes, even the law! In these books we find ourselves taught and instructed about how holy God is, and what God's moral law is. We find our sins confronted and corrected. And we find ourselves trained to better reflect God's character.
There Is More Jesus In These Texts: We regularly teach at our church that all Scripture points to Jesus, even these sections. Jesus himself taught his disciples that the law was pointing to him ("beginning with Moses..." Luke 24:27). How is this true? Look for a few key hints:
- How does this text point to God's holiness?
- How does this text point out sin's grave consequences?
- How does this speak to the necessity of sacrifice for sin?
- How does trying to keep this law show us our need for a Savior?
Read for the Big Picture: If you're normally used to reading the New Testament where ever line is often packed with many concepts, the law feels different. Instead, read bigger chunks of the Bible then step back and ask, "Okay what's the overall point of that law or ritual?" There may even be some days where you get understand very little, and that's okay. But as you persevere and keep reading things will begin to make more and more sense.
Watch (or Rewatch!) The Videos: If you find yourself stuck watch or rewatch the overview video for that book of the Bible. Even if you miss a few days jump back in by watching the most recent video. It'll go a long way to getting you up to speed.
Grab a Trusty Study Bible: If you are still stuck consider investing in a study Bible. My personal favorite is the ESV Study Bible. Remember that those notes aren't infallible Scripture (only Scripture is Scripture!) but they can be a big help in explaining some of these detailed laws.
Phone a Friend: Still stuck or confused? Then ask a friend. It's a great help to read alongside other people. At the very least you'll have a spirited conversation about the Bible that will lead you to study just a bit more.
Always Start and End with Prayer: One thing I love about the Read Scripture plan is that it encourages to quiet your heart and ask for God's help before you dig in, then gives you a Psalm to read and respond to.
So don't stop now! Deuteronomy is a summary of the law so far and in many ways functions as the constitution of Israel. Everything that comes after these books of the law will refer back to them. So put in the work now and reap the benefits as you read the rest of the Old Testament.