Well, I finally did it. For a while, I didn't really believe it would ever happen, but I did it! Last night, I finished reading the Old Testament!! I am a bit embarrassed to admit how long it took for me to read it, but no sense in not being honest- at least I read it! It took me 2 1/2 years! I started it in January 2006, with the goal of finishing it by the end of that year. But, as the end of the year approached, I wasn't anywhere close to finishing and the girls would be born in early January 2007. So, I changed my goal to simply finishing it- not matter how long it took.
Reading the scriptures is something I have come to appreciate over the years as I have gotten older. I feel it is a way to be close with our Father in Heaven- a way to get His words directly. As I have continued reading, I feel I have grown a lot. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are both the words of God. I have read the Book of Mormon a few times. I felt it was important to have an understanding of it, since many in the world are curious- I knew it was important to understand what I believe. Also, compared to the Bible, it is a much easier read. I have also read the Doctrine and Covenants a few times. This is revelation given to Joseph Smith as the church was being restored. Again, I knew it was important to understand what I believed. Of course, I have never doubted the truthfulness of the Bible. I have always loved it from what I have studied- I had just never read it straight through- it seemed so hard to tackle. But, I figured- it is like they say- How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So that is what I did- just a little at a time.
I know someone in our church who reads all 4 scriptures (Old & New Test., Book of Mormon and Doc. & Cov.) every year by September. Of course, he is quite elderly and has nothing better to do with his time, I suppose. So, good for him- I am happy for him. It is taking me much longer, but at least I am doing it.
It was quite hard to read often times. There were times I had no idea what I was reading, but I just kept reading anyway and sometimes a single verse or a simple story would inspire me or uplift me, making it worth it. Sometimes it would get a bit frustrating- such as when I wondered- how long can Moses actually live and how much does he really have to say?? Or why do I care who begat who begat who begat who? Or why does it really matter how many cubits the tabernacle really was from every possible dimension? But there are so many beautiful parts that spoke to me in a way they hadn't before. I love the story of Jacob and his wives Leah and Rebecca. Before tackling the OT, I had read The Red Tent and loved it. Who knows how truly historically accurate it is, but it really made it personal as to what life just might have been like. I always imagined I was Leah and my sister was Rebecca (if it was our family, this is how it would have been. I was the plain older sister, she the beautiful younger sister.) As I was reading this and other stories, it was so much easier to relate it that way.
My other favorites are favorites I had before reading the OT, but maybe they just seem a bit closer to me now. One is the story of Ruth and Naomi- the love and loyalty that being in a family brings- even if that family is defined a bit differently. Or the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. How fascinating the bravery and faith that these men had to stand their ground even as they were thrown into the fire for their beliefs. When others looked in, not only were they standing there unhurt, but there was a 4th being in the flames- it was Christ protecting the men from being harmed.
So, now it is onto the New Testament. I will make no commitment as to when I will finish (except that I will at least attempt to be done by this time next year- it should be more possible- much shorter that the OT) but I will finish it. I do believe with all my heart that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God. I am grateful to have them both to learn from.
Comic Relief- It seemed a bit ironic that a friend emailed the following site to me just this week, as I was finishing the OT. It is a bit strange, which is why I didn't even bother embedding it. But, it is kind of funny if you have 4 minutes to waste. It is a you tube clip called Baby Got Bible and it is a rap parody.
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