Monday, November 17, 2014

The New Testament

Dear Friends,

As usual it has been a while since last we spoke. By this time you know that my life is insane with school. Today, however, I have taken some time because I have big news.

On October 31 I finished the Old Testament of the Bible!

Some of you may have read my post a few weeks ago about how I spent the last four years trying to read through the whole Bible, because one too many people upon hearing that I am a Christian had asked me if I had read the entire Bible.

Start date: October 2nd, 2010 (my 18th birthday)
Finish date: October 31, 2014 (a few weeks after my 22nd birthday)

Wow. That took forever. It was hard and confusing and you can read about that experience in my post here.

I am still taking Old Testament Literature class, so I have a healthy does of Bible reading each week. That is why I have put off delving into the New Testament. But today, I felt the desire to start.

One of my lifelong struggles has been not wanting to read the Bible. I just don't. I am a voracious reader. I read all the time and always have. But when it comes to the Bible I just can't get excited. But today I felt that excitement. That is a gift from the Lord, because usually I just read the Bible like swallowing a pill. Today was different. I actually was excited about starting the New Testament.

I made a special latte in preparation for sitting down and reading. But wait! I had an idea. I needed to buy a special notebook. I grabbed my coat and wallet and ran down to our school bookstore. I spent a good ten minutes browsing the "special notebook" rack and selected my old standby: a small black, lined Moleskine. I shelled out thirteen dollars for it. But, Folks, I have been learning about myself, that when I spend a lot of money on something I value it more.

My plan for the notebook is this: As I read the New Testament I shall write a one sentence summary of every single chapter. This is a practice I have been learning to do in my class. I find that when I do this it forces me to actually think about what I have read. I have to pay attention and use some writing and recall skills. My thirteen-dollar notebook shall house these summaries.


I have now read and summarised the first chapter of Matthew. Wow. I feel like I have experienced a micro-version of the Israelites wait for the Messiah. They waited thousands of years for a Saviour. I have been reading the OT for four years and I have been waiting for him too. And now he has come. In Matthew Chapter One Jesus is born. The Saviour has come. Hallelujah!!!

I was surprised at how stark Matthew's language is. This is an event that we (me and all of Creation) have been waiting for forever and Matthew's language is so bare-bones. But somehow this is fitting. I feel like the event of our Saviour coming is already so charged with emotion and wonder that embellishment would not be welcome. It would seem garish.

Thanks, Matthew.

For those of you who wonder what my specially-made latte was doing when I was running to the store I cleverly wrapped it up in a sweatshirt so that it was still warm when I got back. Ingenious, I know.