Monday, April 14, 2014

The Old Testament

I decided that I'm going to spend this year studying the Old Testament. I'll be honest and admit that my Old Testament study really hasn't extended beyond early morning seminary in high school. There are a few reasons why I'm interested in giving it an in-depth reading as well as why I haven't attempted this in the past.

Nathan is teaching Sunday School this year (Old Testament year), so it will be fun to read and study along with him. He's a repository of information and knows all sorts of interesting things about our holy texts. And while I know the basic stories told in it, I'm unfamiliar with the depth of poetry and storytelling in the Old Testament.

However, the Old Testament has always felt foreign to me. I can wrap myself in the Book of Mormon like a quilt, and I can drink the Four Gospels like water. But the Old Testament feels like a black-and-white rule book written by an unfamiliar God. A God who rules with violence and war and slavery and oppression. A God who is more concerned with how many steps you take on the Sabbath instead of the God I have a personal relationship with. But I want to understand the Old Testament in its own context, and I want to reconcile it with my understanding of the Good News.

I'll be switching between my trusty (Mormon-approved) KJV and the more readable and graceful Holman Christian Standard. I'll also be using A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament, which just happens to be written by Nathan's grandpa (and is refreshingly evidence-based).

My goals in this course of study are to reconcile the Old Testament Jehovah with the Jesus I understand, to learn more about the women whose stories are told, and to learn more about the use of metaphor and poetry (specifically in Isaiah). I also hope to extend my reading past the pin-hole lens I've been taught to use for Scripture study in order to appreciate how other religious traditions celebrate and use the Old Testament.


Timothy Browning said...

Good luck. I always had a soft spot in my heart for the Old Testament. There is so much humanity there. The humanity of the characters, especially the prophets and patriarchs, really shine through. It's also a great challenge in that anyone who seriously reads it has to work through what is true scripture and what is not, or else be faced with a really horrifying view of God and righteous men, at least in parts. All mixed in with some really beautiful poetry and inspiring stories and teachings.

M said...

The women, the women, YES the women! There are GREAT stories in the OT about rule-breaking women who changed the course of inheritances, acted outside social norms, and just generally were awesome.

Have so much fun!