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Bible in a year: September

So, with nine months under your belt, which books have you read this month?

It’s been the month of Isaiah! I’ve spent the whole of September delving into Isaiah, as well as Ephesians, Galatians and 2 Corinthians.

Do you use any other resources outside of the reading plan to understand a bit more or at this stage are you all about powering through with the actual Bible reading?

In an ideal world I’d love to understand more and get to grips with what’s going on. But being perfectly honest, quite often it’s all about just racing through the reading for the day. I sometimes use a ‘handbook to the Bible’ when I want to understand a bit more about the background to a passage, and my Bible In One Year app has a commentary which provides an interesting viewpoint on the readings.

Has what you've read in the Old Testament help make sense of what you're reading in the New Testament and vice versa?

The book of Isaiah contains so many pointers towards events and moments in the New Testament. Something that struck me for the first time when reading it the other day was Isaiah 56.7 – ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.’ This verse is quoted by Jesus in Mark 11.17 when he is driving out the sellers from the temple.

Isaiah 56 is all about salvation being for all people everywhere, including foreigners. So when Jesus declares this verse from Isaiah 56 in Mark maybe it isn't just about driving out salesman or making a statement about praying for other countries. Maybe he’s making a revolutionary point about God’s kingdom being for all people, and he is infuriated that the people of the time were excluding or exploiting others with their activity.

In the same account in Matthew, straight after quoting the Isaiah verse, Jesus heals the blind and lame at the temple. These people would’ve been the outcasts of the time. But Jesus is making the point he is for everyone, not just the few.

I might be wrong about this. But I think this is the real point Jesus is making. And you only really see it when you link the Old Testament and New Testament together. Either way, it got me thinking.

Toughest bit this month?

Keeping up with all that’s going on in Isaiah. For all the familiar passages and bits that help piece together the overall framework of the Bible, there’s equally just as much that doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s especially tough when you’re splitting the book up into chunks each day and you forget what happened the day before! I’ve definitely tried to use my handbook when I can to help me understand what’s going on.

Something to encourage us...?

I found it so powerful reading Isaiah 8.19-9.7. It’s an amazing section. Why not spend some time taking it in?

19 Now if people say to you, ‘Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, 20 for teaching and for instruction?’ surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn! 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse[b] their king and their gods. They will turn their faces upwards, 22 or they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness.

9 But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
    on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
    and the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
    and all the garments rolled in blood
    shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

It got me excited for Christmas too.

Tom Newbold is our Digital Fundraising Officer. As well we being excited about 25 December, he's also excited about Christmas at Bible Society.

Author: Helen Crawford, 28 September 2017 (Last updated: 21 December 2017)

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