And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” And so concludes the book of Malachi, last book of the Old Testament and I turned my page with a flourish thus concluding our church’s Bible in one year project.
We started on January 15 2009 and concluded on January 14 2010, we began with the New Testament and then went on to the Old. No doubt a few stragglers will be limping in to the finish line throughout the week and possibly the month, but what a joy to conclude this project. A few lessons learnt :
- For many it was an eye opener to read through whole books of the Bible. Our charismatic evangelical culture has got us used to reading snippets and verses slapped together to substantiate our pet theories; often in flagrant disregard of the prevailing context and circumstance. Sure a verse from Jeremiah is more palatable reading than chewing through chapter after chapter of morose, doom predictions, but sticking with it means seeking truth rather than titillation.
- Theology is simple, but not simplistic; and there are complex issues we have to wrestle with, and in some cases, we must simply say as Ezekiel did ‘only you know Lord’.
- The Bible is rich and extremely varied. A project such as this forces you to read everything, to dust out those books we may not otherwise touch for years. How many times do you read Micah in a year, or Nahum or Amos? Sometimes it is good to get our noses out of Ephesians and John.
- We realized how little we actually read the Bible. The Bible in a year project requires reading of only a few chapters a day, but even then many found it hard to keep up. It dealt a deadly blow to our illusion that we do a lot of Bible reading because we’ve been around for years and now know all the buzz words.
- It is mind boggling and awe inspiring to think that God actually took the trouble to tell us all this stuff, to give us so much material to work on, to work with and to serve as basis and substance of our relationship with Him. In that it is a sterling demonstration of the love of God for His people.
And now it’s done, this year will be spent on an exhaustive study of the New Testament. Shalom.