Category Archives: Old Testament
Several people I know have taken up the pursuit of reading through the Bible in a year…chronologically.Most of the time people attend to this endeavor with little fanfare. Goals like this don’t need to be worn on the outside. Boasting in spiritual disciplines always feels a little slimy anyway. Plus, keeping it on the down-low leaves for some wiggle room in the event one falls behind. But this time of year people get to talking. Whether reading through the Bible chronologically or otherwise, when February and March hit, enthusiasm can fade, tedium can bulge, and stall out can loom.
Not because this is the season most of us throw in the towel on our first-of-the-year resolutions (be honest, how is that exercise resolve working for you). Rather, by February or March the reading plan generally lands the reader in Leviticus…then Numbers, a minimally compelling title…then Deuteronomy, which means “a copy of the law”. All three are often viewed as yawners, full of laws and regulations and meticulous details about clothes and buildings and diet and relationships and countless other apparently time trapped and culturally distant facts and figures. And then let’s go around again with Deuteronomy.
I know. It’s hard. It feels like hitting the wall in a road race and you’re only a mile in. You’re probably missing days and skimming to catch up. Audio Bible apps sound pretty good right now. Well, maybe I can bless you with this. Maybe not. I don’t know. But below are a few things I learned from smarter guys then me that have encouraged me in the past when I have come to Lev-umber-onomy (I had to do something to make them sound fun, right?). So put down the towel. Read through these points. Then pick up that Bible and press on. Who knows, you may even favor this section of Hebrew Scripture when all is said and done?
- These were the sacred writings of the Jewish people…and still are! Jesus read these Scriptures! In fact, He probably memorized them when he was younger than some of our kids. Isn’t there something in you that wants to read the same books as Jesus?
- The meticulous detail and legislation is not without rich and deep meaning. You don’t have to catch it all. That’s not the point of a Bible read through. But, like the narrative, slow down and zoom in a bit, and just soak in the remembrance that these words are meaning-full.
- This is a privileged peak into history. Google some of the stuff described on the pages. Learn a bit more about them. Try searching online for a timeline of world history. What else was going on in the world that may have hit the headlines? Maybe there was a reason God insisted on certain cloths and garments and diets and cleanliness?
- God has preserved His Bible for millennia on end. Primarily because it is His Word. It lives and breathes in a sense. As well, though, the Bible is just good literature. I know it doesn’t feel like it when you’re reading about how to arrange the camp and the retirement plan for priests. But you’re holding the bestselling book in history.
- Try looking for Jesus, Messiah. I don’t think He’s in every word or phrase on the page. But much of what you’ll read in Lev-umber-onomy points to Messiah, or at least captures characteristic glimpses of who the people of Israel would be looking for as God’s chosen One; the promised Redeemer.I’ll leave it there. I don’t want to take too much of your time. Off you go. You’ll make it…
Andrew Weeda is a graduate of Western Seminary. Read more of his writing at his blog, branchtown.
Western Seminary hosted this year’s ETS Northwest Regional meeting featuring John Walton and Tremper Longman discussing interpreting Genesis 1-2. Those videos are available now here.
Our ThM students have provided free access to many of the papers they have written over the last few years. If you haven’t had a chance to browse through those let us direct your attention here.
If you are a student at our Sacramento campus, or you live near Sacramento and you are considering seminary studies, we have some classes you may be interested in taking. For example, Dr. Art Azurida, the Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Portland campus, will be teaching a class titled “Maximizing the Church’s Redemptive Influence” and Jan Verbruggen, Professor of Old Testament Literature and Language, will be teaching a class titled “Theology of the Old Testament”.
For dates and times, as well as our extended list of classes, click here. If you have any further questions or you would like to sign up for a class please contact us at 800.250.7030.
For those of you who live in the Oakland-San Francisco-San Jose area we have some important news: Dr. Ron Allen, Senior Professor of Biblical Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, will be teaching a course titled “Exposition of Wisdom Literature” from July 28th through the 31st. If you have ever wanted to spend some time giving your attention to studying Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs with an expert this your opportunity so mark your calendar!
If you would like to sign up for this class or you have any further questions please contact us at 877-900-6889.
This summer we have two guest professors teaching at our Portland campus. The first is Dr. Bruce Ware, the Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who will be teaching as class titled “The Universal Reign on the Triune God” from July 19th to the 23rd. This class will delve into the doctrine of the Trinity with an evangelical scholar who has been writing and speaking on this subject for many years.
The second is Dr. Ray Lubeck from neighboring Multnomah University who will be teaching a class titled “Exposition of the Psalms” from July 12th to the 16th. Lubeck teaches the Old Testament with an approach many liken to John Sailhamer. Either one of these professors (or both) will be worth spending a week hearing.
If you are interested in taking one of these courses please contact us at 503.517.1800.