In a few weeks I will have completed one of my New Year Resolutions for 2017. I will have read the Bible. Every book, including the additional, apocryphal chapters included in the Catholic Bible.
It is not the first time I have done this but it will be the first time I have done it with such purpose and intention. I am nowhere an expert, but I consider it a good start into the study of the Good Book. I might do it again in 2018 just to get a better look at its message.
Thanks goes to the friend who coordinated the Facebook online group. The guide we used broke it down into weekly reading assignments which made it manageable, but it also presented the readings in chronological order. We started at the beginning but often jumped ahead several hundred pages to other books that “happened” at the same historical time. For instance, while reading Genesis, we skipped ahead and read Job, then came back again Genesis. The Psalms were interspersed wherever they fit into the Old Testament. It gives a better look at the historical timeline of the Old Testament.
We are presently in the second week of November and reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus has been arrested and next week’s readings will take us into his passion and crucifixion. It is interesting reading the Gospels simultaneously; the story repeats itself four times, but it is told in the different styles of each of the Apostles.
Folks ask if reading the Bible has affected me in any way. Burning bushes? Apparitions on mountain tops? Angelic visitations?
I hate to disappoint anyone, but – no.
One thing I can offer is that all the books really do lead to Jesus.
Another is that we humans are a predictable, disobedient, and arrogant lot. We continue to wander away from God and He continues to offer redemption. Every generation must have thought it was the last one and the end of the world was imminent, but we are still here. The sad reality is that one day we will run out of chances and the Apocalypse will happen.
As I near the end of the books in the Bible, I feel a true sadness. I know how it ends – the death and resurrection of Jesus – and though I know the necessity of this sacrifice, I feel a true loss that someone so magnificent gave his life for me and you and for all of creation.
I am glad I did this for myself. Doing it over the course of a year, gave me time to think and meditate over the words. I have pen and pencil marks all over the pages, notes in the margins. I have a notebook full of verses and questions and summaries.
But the best part of all, is the indelible mark it made in my soul.