Tips for reading the Old Testament

New Testament JohnIf you’re like me, you may struggle through the Old Testament. It seems irrelevant, too distant, too Old.  But the Old Testament is the story.  We can’t let go of it.  (Unless of course you’re a hardcore dispensationalist…wink)

 
Here’s what I try to keep in mind as I read the Old Testament (I hope it helps you):
 
  1. God inspired the Old Testament, and thus we know it will always be important because His word endures forever.
  2. The Old Testament points to Jesus.
  3. The Old Testament sweetens and deepens the meaning of the entire New Testament. Literally hundreds of OT quotes, paraphrases and allusions surface in the NT.
  4. The Old Testament reveals God’s character, which is never changing, and thus, whatever we learn about God from the Old Testament is completely, eternally applicable for our understanding of God.

Write Them on the Doorposts

podcast logoI am loving the Bible on iPod. I think years ago I would have considered that cheating. Real Bible readers have dog-eared Bibles and leather journals and hand-turned coffee mugs from Nor Cal…or so I thought. But life is far too kinetic for that always.

For instance, a few weeks ago I was standing at the crossroads of sickness and going to church. Because I was sick, I slept in. Because I was headed to church, I was scrambling around trying to get ready. But while I was getting ready, I listened to the Bible reading for the day. I really listened to it, and I really enjoyed it. But I never slowed down. There was no time. And that’s life. Call it what you will, but that is what faithfulness looked like that day. That’s what real spirituality was.

I am not, however, advocating some kind of “God-to-go” spirituality. I would be sorely remiss if all I ever did was pursue God on the go. I must have times of quiet, times of coffee and solitude. I must journal and chew on words. I must spend time on my knees praying to God and praying over his word. In fact, I would argue silence and meditative solitude are some of the greatest spiritual disciplines our culture needs. But let’s not be spiritual snobs.

As a husband, a father of two little ones, and a pastor, I can say I am thankful for the words of Deuteronomy 6:9 “You shall write [God’s commandments] on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Now there’s a down-to-earth spirituality! Scriptures on my garage door? I like it. I might actually see those.

Why did the picture of deep piety and sincere spirituality become a quiet monk in robes?