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Bible

Reading the Old Testament in 2021

I think that if we are honest with ourselves there are parts of the Bible that we probably do not read very often. There may even be sections of the Old Testament that we have never read at all.

With that in mind it is interesting to observe that towards the end of his life, in what was probably his final letter, Paul wrote the following words to Timothy:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3: 16-17).

The first two words of the above are especially worth noting “All Scripture

The phrase “All Scripture” does not seem to leave much room to exclude anything! I expect on hearing that phrase some questions come to your mind such as:

But what about those last few chapters in Exodus covering the building of the tabernacle that I do not really understand?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Ok but I really find Leviticus difficult to understand. Is that included too?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

How about those chapters in Joshua concerning the allocation of the promised land?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

What about the first few chapters of 1 Chronicles with all those family trees?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

What about those minor prophets and all those images of judgement?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Now obviously there are some parts of the Old Testament that are at face value harder to read and understand. In addition to the above examples you may have some that spring to mind. However, to enable us to get the most out of God’s word it is important that we read it all. If we only read the New Testament then we are missing out on seeing all God did in the Old Testament with his people Israel.

There are so many great and inspiring stories in the Old Testament: Ruth’s loyalty to her mother-in law Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17); Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s determination not to compromise their faith (Daniel 3) and David humbling himself before God after his sin with Bathsheba (Psalm 51) to name but three.

Therefore may I encourage you in 2021 to consider reading the whole Bible? Yes even those difficult pieces that you would normally avoid. And remember as you read:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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