Some of you might remember that I started doing the Bible in a Year this year. I’ll forgive you for forgetting/missing it. The last time I mentioned it was back in May, but now I finally got around to writing an update for the blog!

Anyway, I made it! By the time the year is through I will have read every word in the Bible for the very first time in my life! I can honestly say that it has been life changing!

It’s been so good that I’m going to do it again in 2019. I’ve been able to read the New Testament in the light of the whole Old Testament, now I want to read the Old Testament again in the light of the whole narrative.

Doing it with other people this time has been crucial to my success. Being able to discuss what you’ve just read has been really interesting, getting other people’s viewpoints as much as sharing my own. It’s also been really useful having that accountability. I highly recommend doing a plan like this using the YouVersion app.

If you have the YouVersion Bible app on your phone (or you can get to a web browser) you’re welcome to join me in reading through the Bible in 2019. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll get you invited.

It’s hard to sum up all of the interesting things I’ve learnt or the ways my viewpoint has been adjusted, that’s why I should’ve been writing more regular updates.

There are a few things that stick out, though, key waypoints on my journey through the Bible. The first is a better understanding of the relationship between God, Israel and The Law. Next is the vital significance of the Exile(s), this connects deeply with the first point.

Given all the prophecy that relates to the Exile and to Jesus, it’s clear that the Exile hadn’t really finished by the time that Jesus arrived, nor is it likely to have finished when he was killed. Israelites may have returned to the land promised to their ancestors, but the work of the Exile, the hope of the wonderful things to come at it’s end, was not yet complete. That period started with Jesus but perhaps has not finished yet. The obsessive adherence to the Law which appeared after they started to physically return to Jerusalem was not the solution, and only became another idol.

Then we have stories of Jesus from the New Testament. When viewed in the light of the Exile, there’s a lot to read between the lines. But what has really been a revelation is the letters of Paul, now that I’m able to better understand the foundations on which he built his understanding (the Old Testament), I’m able to receive his instruction all the better.

It’s true what is said:

The Word of God is alive and active… (A paraphrase of Hebrews 4:12, probably mashing up a few translations)

We are more blessed in this day and age to have so much access to the Bible and to the scholars who study it tirelessly. I now add my huge delays accessing it to my (very short) list of regrets.

Perhaps this coming year will be the year I share more of what I’m learning. We can hope, eh?

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