Monday, January 11, 2010

Double Bible Update (OSB and CCC)

In a post that I wrote just over a year ago, I told you of the plan that Jennifer and I had to follow the two-year reading plan of the Old Testament part of the Orthodox Study Bible.

Now it's confession time.

We didn't quite get halfway through the Old Testament as we had planned. Several things got in the way.

We started out strong, rarely missing a day (and when we did, always catching up) until the beginning of Lent. During Lent, we decided to temporarily set aside the reading plan to read through Fr. Thomas Hopko's excellent book The Lenten Spring with our daughter Audrey as a daily devotional. This was more for Audrey's benefit than for ours, and we thought about not doing it. Jennifer and I could certainly have read through the book individually and gotten just as much out of it. But Audrey wouldn't have read it. Plus, we had a family tradition going back several years of doing a daily devotional with her during Lent. We didn't want to break that tradition.

We decided that it would be too much to try to read through Fr. Hopko's book AND to continue on the Bible reading plan, so we set the plan aside for a while. And, to be honest, we had arrived at the beginning of a long stretch of the OT that contains a great deal of material that is (forgive me) not exactly exciting reading.

After Lent and the frenzy that is Holy Week, we finally got back on track with our Bible reading. But by then, Jennifer was in the home stretch of her last semester. Then she had finals. Then we had her graduation and then Audrey's. Then later in the summer, we had vacation and the start of another school year. Jennifer started working and was often loaded down with extra work that had to be brought home, which made her more exhausted. Then there were Karate classes, illnesses, school events, etc, etc. In short, life got in the way.

The PDF document that contains the two-year reading plan has a total of 26 pages. This means that in order to be on track, we should have finished the thirteenth page by the end of 2009. I am embarrassed to say that we barely made it past page 6. This means that we are actually on the four-and-change year plan. We are going to try and do better this time. We're almost to First Samuel (called 1 Kingdoms in the Septuagint), which is wonderful reading (as are the three books after it). The four books of the Kingdoms read like a novel. I'm looking forward to that.

Now on to some good news. After heroically spending more than a year teaching through the Gospel of Luke, Fr. Lawrence Farley has begun a series on the Acts of the Apostles in his wonderful podcast The Coffee Cup Commentaries (or CCC for short). This is going to be great. Acts is one of the most fun-to-read books in the whole Bible. It too reads like a novel. If you are not yet a regular listener to CCC, I encourage you to become one ASAP. If you do, you will be blessed (not to mention the fact that you will learn a whole lot about the Scriptures).

May the Lord bless you all. More Bible studies on St. James' Epistle soon.


elizabeth said...

I understand very well how life gets in the way! Sounds like a wonderful tradition with Audrey though!

Clint said...

I tried the old "Through the Bible in a Year" plan a few years ago (and it was only the Protestant version, without the 'extra' books). I made it to Leviticus before I found some excuse or another to stop.

Granted, I have probably read the whole Protestant bible several times, but never systematically from front to finish. (NT is a different story, I have read it several times through).

So I am sure that you are not alone in the not getting as far as you planned...

Debbie and I have begun reading through the "other" books in the OT each night with our kids, after we finish the evening prayers. We started reading through the Psalter with the other folks at St. Joseph's and just kept at it. We are reading I Maccabees right now.

yudikris said...

hm... fascinating journey and story! :D. The CCC must be great! I am going there!

Thanks Father!

charlene said...

Father James,
Thank you for sharing with us. I suspect you will never regret having read a book more appropriate to Audrey's needs than a "sleeper" (as in "doze off") portion of the Old Testament. Thank you for affirming that life does get in the way, and the solution is sometimes to wait it out, and then pick up where you left off. I do things in baby steps, and you have inspired me to read through the New Testament. I am a very slow reader, so I won;t put a time limit on myself, but I have purchased a second copy of the Orthodox Study Bible and a bookmark next to my magnifying table at work. You are a blessing to all your readers, Father.

Dennis Justison said...

Yes, it is nice to know that noone is perfect and that we all fall short of our goals at times. Thanks for sharing your story and your humility, Father. That more than makes up for your "failure" to keep up with your schedule.

I have read the Bible through in a year myself. The schedule I use has a reading from four different books each day. There is a reading from the New Testament, the Wisdom books, Historical books, and the Prophets. It seems to make the "drier" books a little less desert like when there is also a reading from a gospel that day. For anyone interested, I'll post it on my blog (if I can figure out how the scanner works!).

The list does not include the "Orthodox" books. Do I dare say? I am Catholic, so I think that makes me three books short. It should be easy enough to schedule the other books in though. I might add that I enjoy my Orthodox Study Bible and what I have learned about Orthodoxy recently. I must say that I have an immense respect and admiration for your Church. May God shower blessings upon all Orthodox and the Church the whole world over.

Peace be with you!

Fr. John Whiteford said...

Hello Fr. James,

Here is an easier plan from reading the entire Bible: