Almost two years ago I started something on a whim with my devotions. I decided to start a commentary on every chapter of the Bible.
The idea was born out of the SOAP concept Christians have with their devotions. (Scripture Observation Application Prayer) People usually focus in a short passage of scripture. I wanted the passage to have context, though, so went with the entire chapter.
When I started, I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I also wondered if it was worth even doing. Would I give up after a few days because it seemed daunting?
I plunged in and started with Genesis. I wrote out verses that were interesting to me, and then commented on them. A lot of my comments are usually questions about the verses. After writing out and commenting on specific passages, I make observations about the entire chapter. Then, I pray something that relates to the chapter.
Do I understand more? Yes, but I also have more questions about various passages. In fact, I have ten times more question than I do understanding, through doing this. Sometimes, I try and approach the chapters as a newfound discovery. And other times I take note of passages which give context for later passages.
All in all, it’s been rewarding.
I’ve been grateful for Tim Perry. I work with Tim, and his insight into the Old Testament has been great. He’s been helpful in explaining the context of a particular verse, or why a particular law was given. (Granted, there are times where he responds to my questions with, “Hmmm, that’s a great question”, which translates to, “I have no idea.”) He’ll pull out one of his books and thumb through it till he gets to a page that I should read to help answer my questions. I told him one time how I really liked this particular chapter in Leviticus, and he said “Leviticus 19?” Bingo.
I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by passages in the Bible that people would not read. One time, I was talking with a senior pastor (not at CCC) about how that day I was studying a lineage in Genesis. His response, in a nutshell, was I was wasting my time.
Awhile back, I talked about how I needed to get control of my schedule. One of the reasons for doing that was so I could get back into doing these commentaries. The latter half of 2009 I wasn’t doing much work on the commentaries, and that disappoints me because I should be further along with them. Also, a lot of the momentum I had built up since early ’08 was lost. However, I’m back into them.
From the pic, you can tell that I write these out by hand. It probably would be good to type these, but writing by hand is an old habit I enjoy. Since typing these out would talk a long time, I’ll probably photocopy each page and label each chapter with different tags. Then, I can refer to the tags and flip to the particular chapter if I need to refer to something.
Will I write a commentary on the entire Bible? Well, I’m over 10% done. The process has evolved, and I’d like to go back and do some chapters over, but it’s something I’d like to accomplish. I spend more time on each chapter than when I started, so it may be awhile. No one will ever confuse my Bible commentary with Matthew Henry, but it’s enlightening to me.
Where I am at currently? Working my way through Numbers. It continues to be fascinating.