With a pandemic-fueled hunger for truth, this summer I decided to double-down on my scripture reading. So I started a Dwell App* plan that completes the Bible in 90 days. I’d read the Bible-in-a-year before, but an hour a day felt like a challenge.
I wasn’t wrong.
I spent 67.5 hours immersed in the Old Testament. Missing a few days here and there, it took nearly ten weeks before I hit the New Testament. The first 39 books of the Bible include rich history, but also a fair amount of repetition, plus some stuff that can leave you scratching your head a bit. Spending more than two thirds of my efforts in the law left a strong desire to find the grace at the end of the tunnel. So much so, I admit, I took to listening at 1.2 times the speed.
But then, on day 68, I finally reached the nativity—the contrast was startling.
Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5-7 kept me on the edge of my seat. When I got to Matthew 7:28 and heard, “the crowds were astonished at his teaching,” I understood why in a whole new way. I was so taken back by Jesus’ words—the same words I’d heard many times before—I slowed down the playback and re-listened a few times.
So what was the difference? It was all about the preparation.
Ten weeks of Jewish teaching readied me to hear Jesus’ words through the lens of the law, just how the early Christians did. In doing so, I was primed to recognize the significance of his sacrifice like never before. And while I plan to camp out in the New Testament for a few more months, I have a new appreciation of how well the Old Testament prepares us to receive Christ.
What has prepared you to hear the truth of scripture in such a way that you might not have been receptive otherwise?
This was written from a prompt to write 300 words about the importance of preparation.
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