My B90Days Update: Reading Through the Pentateuch
Today is the official ‘check-in’ day for Bible in 90 Days. It’ll be short, because I’m rushed, but I hope this will work.
A lot of people on Twitter have been struggling through Leviticus, and will probably do the same through Numbers and Deuteronomy. I have to admit that I did for years and was never able to read the entire books, just bits and pieces. I mean, who needs to read the Books of Law since Christ came and freed us from the Law?
Well… the short and long answer is everyone.
About a year ago, I buckled down and plowed through it, and it was life-changing. They’re that important.
So here’s my tips for getting through the Books of Law, tips that I followed whenever I first read the Pentateuch.
#1- Don’t think of them as a list of rules.
They are, but they’re not. Erase the thought that these books are just a list of rules from every corner of your mind, because they are so much more.
In the first five books of the bible you will find a heart-breaking love story about a Parent and his child. You find a man (Moses), whom we can all relate to: a man who didn’t seek glory, who fought and argued with God over every instruction God gave him, a man who just wanted to live a quiet life, free from persecution but stepped out in faith in a big way because he was told. You have the story of what a big deal sin really is and how seriously God takes it. You will learn the extent of which we fall short of the glory of God and how precious a gift His Life was that He gave for us.
#2- Instead of reading as if you’re talking, read and listen to their voices (God’s and Moses’)
Don’t just read in your head, read these books aloud (even if only to yourself). They weren’t meant to be read inside: God commanded his people to hear these books with their children, regardless of age, at least once every year.
Allow yourself to hear and feel God’s gentleness as He prepares His children for what is to come. Allow yourself to hear and feel Moses’ desperation as he pleads with the Israelites about how important it is to do exactly what God tells them to when they reach the promised land that he himself will never be allowed to set foot in, even though his entire life preparing for that moment. Allow yourself to feel God’s glory seeping throughout every sentence.
#3- Every few verses or paragraphs, stop and think.
Put yourself in Moses’ shoes. Here was a man, knowing he’s messed up his own life, who spent more than 40 years trying to raise his own ‘children’ to be better than he was. His was the sole responsibility of teaching them right from wrong, good from evil. Yet, they argued with them every step of the way. Even when the rule was something simple (“Wait here and be patient.”), the ‘children’ would take the easier path and fall right back into sin while they disobeyed him (constantly building idols).And it wasn’t just the one time- it was constantly.
Seriously, what modern day parent can’t relate to that? And we can all learn from his example.
#4- If the laws get boring, skim them to the meat of the story.
Don’t skip them, skim them. Read over them briefly until you get to the next story point (there’s usually one in every chapter or so). Then once you can place the words (the laws) into context, go back and read what’s written more carefully. This isn’t quick, but the point of B90Days is not only quickness, but thoroughness. We’re all out to get a good overview and understanding of the entire Bible, and understanding these first five books are crucial to that understanding because they define the Jewish religion, which defines the Christian religion because our Savior was born a Jewish man.
#5- Make yourself feel emotions other than boredom and frustration.
This is where taking your time comes in. Nothing sticks in your mind unless it’s associated with something other than boredom… and since our goal is not just to make it through, but to absorb, we need to associate this reading with something tangible. Read several passages and stop. Close your eyes. Imagine you are there. Realize that what’s being spoken of applies to sin in your own life. (Because I promise… it will- none of us can keep these laws, that’s why we need a Savior who could!) Pray. Cry. Smile. Fall on your knees. Laugh with joy. And the drudgery will turn into eagerness.
I hope that helps! I know that the Pentateuch is among my favorite sections of the Bible, both to read and to hear, and I hope that this will help them be so for you as well. 🙂