Last week, my spare time was almost entirely dedicated to the study of the Old Testament. Unfortunately, I cannot claim it was just because I had a burning desire to study God’s Word. Rather, I was preparing for an Old Testament exam, which happened to be brutal.
Prophets and kings and empires…oh my!
Exam details aside, when I have the opportunity to study the OT in such an intense manner (albeit through an overview), it never ceases to amaze me how much is in there that I don’t remember from the last time or that I just plain don’t know. This was at least my third formal OT class since undergrad, and I was yet again blown away by the truth and treasure found in its pages.
Although I’m not sure I did as well on the exam as I would have hoped, I learned and discovered and connected passages in a wonderfully fresh and real way.
And as I was skimming through several of the OT books to refresh my memory of their contents, I was suddenly convicted of how often I do just that: SKIM. I love to study Scripture. But all too often, for a variety of reasons, and especially with certain OT books, I SKIM.
But here’s the thing:
Even within in the Old Testament, we are told of the benefits of knowing and studying God’s Word.
Go check out Psalm 119!
(yes, the WHOLE chapter)
And listen to the command given to Joshua:
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;
meditate on it day and night,
so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”
Joshua 1:8a (New International Version)
While we’re not under the Old Covenant as Joshua was, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the same principle applies for us in the study of God’s Word.
What I find no evidence of in Scripture is the command (or even permission) to SKIM.
But when was the last time I read (really read) Numbers? Or 1&2 Chronicles? Habakkuk? Malachi? ANY of the minor prophets?
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with studying the New Testament Gospels or Letters, and I’m not saying we should stop reading Psalms or Genesis. What I am saying (or perhaps echoing) is that,
“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 (NIV – emphasis added)
So my conviction turned into a challenge.
And I invite and welcome you to join me.
What book of the OT (minor prophet or otherwise) have you neglected recently? Regardless of the reason, will you commit to now read it? Not just SKIM it, but really read it? Even if that means reading something you don’t fully understand or reading it more than once until you get a good grasp of the message?
I have chosen to start with Amos. (And yes, I do have specific reasons for this choice.)
What book will you choose?
Share it in the comments and GO START READING!