Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tackling the Old Testament

My wife and I have set a goal to read the entire Old Testament by the end of the year.  I've done most of the Sunday School, Institute, and missionary Old Testament schedules, but they never seem to have you read everything (or at least I never get to finish reading everything).  Three months into the year, we've done pretty well.  We're currently in the book of Numbers and have read bits and pieces of some other books later on in the Old Testament.  I thought I'd share some of the resources we've been using to help make this an enjoyable and enriching experience.

This website has a ton of resources.  Specifically for the scriptures, there's a tab for Scripture Discussions and that includes scriptural diiscussions with several professors of Ancient Scripture/Writings from Brigham Young University.  Each discussion is 30 minutes and covers a handful of chapters at a time (e.g., Numbers 1-7).

Reading Schedules
I found a reading schedule online that scheduled the entire Old Testament to be read over the process of an entire year.  It doesn't have you reading from beginning to end (mostly).  It has you reading from the beginning on Monday-Friday, on Saturday you read 3 Psalms, and on Sunday you read 1 chapter of Solomon's writings and 4 chapters from Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.).  I like this approach, but I think I might try switching to reading straight through and not jump around.

Audio Files allows you to download the audio files for all of the scriptures.  I've found the narrator for the Old Testament to be a very good reader.  He's helped the Old Testament language not seem too archaic. is a pretty cool website that also has all the text for the LDS scriptures, but allows you to take notes and highlight them online.  You simply setup an account and it tracks all the changes you make to your set of online scriputres.  It also allows you to listen to them and even setup an online community of friends so that you can share your latest insights with.  It's still pretty new and may have a few glitches, but the developer is very quick to respond to any feedback you have, just be sure that you can replicate any problem you submit to him.

Set a Goal
Setting a goal always help us accomplish something we want (or need) to do.  What's made it even easier is setting working on the same goal with someone else.  This allows us (my wife and I) the opportunity to discuss the chapters we've read, try to figure out what the purpose of these incidents in the scriptures is for our understanding, etc.

One last item that has made the Old Testament a bit more understandable is actually seeing all the events and important people laid out in a timeline.  I realize the book is written pretty much in chronological order, but having a visual representation of it all really helps. has a timeline for all of the scriptures, but they were in a single pdf file, and I didn't have a printer that could print on poster-size paper. has a nice tool that will allow you to cut up a pdf file into the size you want, so I was able to cut the pdf file into individual pages that would fit on standard printer paper, and then we taped them together and put them on our wall