If you haven't read the Bible through, I thoroughly recommend it, even if you are not a believer and especially if you have questions about God, Jesus, or Christianity in general. I place the most value on my own spiritual growth and sharing that with my boys, but the Bible is so full of history and culture, and you'll actually find some background on several other religions in the process. I've found myself reminded of just how incredible God's glory truly is, and I'm learning how to better steer my life toward His plan. I also find some of the historical references very interesting, and I've taken some extra time to consider that there are some new ways in which I can and will grow my relationship with God.
Brian and I have chosen to read both the old and new testaments at the same time, so that each day we are reading a little from each. (The plan can be found here.) Part of me likes that, and part of me doesn't. The two are so very different, and it can be difficult to switch gears without a flurry of questions arising about why and how things changed so drastically (though I know this will all be explained as I continue with the New Testament and have already read a number of individual passages that do offer valuable insight), plus when a passage from the Old Testament is referenced in the New Testament, if I have read it, I appreciate it a bit more. When I haven't, I find myself flipping. Therefore, I think I will be reading it all the way through, a second time, before too long. It is nice, though, to spend some time in the New Testament after a spell of Old Testament reading, since Old Testament rituals were so different from what we practice today. I typically find myself sticking to one testament for a few days, reading ahead, and then switching back to the other testament, in a continuous cycle.
So far on the plan, I have read the complete books of Genesis, Exodus, Job, and Matthew, and some of Mark and Leviticus, plus a couple of Psalms. I found Genesis to be particularly interesting. While things may be very different today versus in the early Bible days, we really are not. That, in and of itself, is not surprising in as much as it makes the material readable and interesting (genealogy chapters aside). Before this year I knew of many of the stories in Genesis, but I did not really know the stories completely. Reading through, there were certain times when I just wanted to say, "Really? God talked to you so directly, and you still did those things?" I guess that just goes to show we really still are the same sinful, guilty, confused people we always have been.
In any case, I will continue on with Leviticus and Mark, for now, and I expect I'll share another update in time. Thanks for sticking with me!