I Just Read the Old Testament: Here’s My No. 1 Takeaway

I Just Read the Old Testament: Here’s My No. 1 Takeaway October 1, 2023

Screenshot of Day 266, Oct 01, 2023, from The One Year Chronological Bible 365-Day Reading Plan, from Coco's phone
Woohooo! The day I finished reading the Old Testament for the 1st time in my life! What was my No. 1 takeaway? Read this quick article – and see how you can just as easily find your No. 1 takeaway! Credit: Coco Cabrel
Screenshot of "The One Year Chronological Bible 365-Day Reading Plan" as of Coco's Oct 01, looking at Oct 02
The day that I’ve been looking forward to – quite literally – for 266 days: The 1st day of “officially” reading from the New Testament in this chronological Bible reading plan. Let’s go, Jesus! Credit: Coco Cabrel

Have you ever read the Old Testament? I’m talking about the whole thing. Genesis 1:1 through Malachi 4:6. Yes, including all those lists of sons of sons of sons, plus all those amounts of sheep and bulls.

I just read the Old Testament for the first time in my 58-year-long life. Curious about what that experience was like? Want to know my Number One Takeaway? Wondering how you might possibly do that, too?

Well, buckle up. (It’s actually not that hard, if you approach it with the Holy Spirit.)

And PS: I’ll return to my series on Paul’s Favorite Things to Release Anxiety next week!


I used a chronological Bible plan

I love history. Specifically art history, and I’ve also taught a History of Healthcare course.

I love sermons that put Scripture into historical context. I know I learn better that way – when I can see why things were said in a certain way because of what people were doing at the time, and how their beliefs and behaviors could be affected by the Word. Then I can more easily see how my belief and behavior can be affected by the Word now.

So, when I committed to reading through the entire Bible on January 9, 2023 – and #TL,DR was transformed on the 19th of that same month – I chose “The One Year Chronological Bible 365-Day Reading Plan” in The You Version Bible App.

The description of this reading plan states, “With the full text divided into 365 portions for daily reading it allows readers the opportunity to read through the Bible in one year.” That was important to me, but what really convinced me to go with this plan, instead of another one, was that it gave “the order off biblical events and the historic context in which they unfolded.”

I’ll say right off the bat, Thank you, Holy Spirit, for guiding me to a way that you knew would work for me – before I ever had an idea of just how much.


I stuck. Period.

As the saying goes, “Come Hell or high water.” I stuck to that calendar no matter what.

I worked that reading time into my bedtime routine. And thank goodness – well, thanks, You Version Bible App – for the option to listen. The British narrator for the NIV makes listening a delight for me. At this point (October 1st as I type this), I can’t imagine washing my face or brushing my teeth, and then simply being still in my PJs, without that lovely, emotive, resonant voice reading the Word to me.

The point is, I attached this new commitment to a non-negotiable routine, i.e., getting ready for bed. And I did not waver. Not one single day. No matter what.


Even during the miserable OT books

Yes, there are chapters that I felt miserable listening to! Oh, the endless genealogies of names I knew I’d never remember. Ugh, the repetition of how many blemish-free lambs and flawless bulls to sacrifice… over and over and over…

And then, what, another chapter just like that one I just finished? Really?

Finally, just when things got interesting again, and I got deeply sucked into historical events and human drama…

Heavy sigh, these prophets… the doom-and-gloom is emotionally exhausting to me.

Full reveal: On my worst days, I swiped through the calendar in the reading plan to see when I might finally get to the New Testament (based on my start date of Jan 9, it was set for Oct 2).

And that kept me going!


Because THIS was my No. 1 takeaway

All of the misery in the Old Testament – all of the human mess-ups that God kept punishing and then giving second chances for…

All God’s love, and hurt because of human infidelity, and still His love…

It all points to Jesus.

Just as I couldn’t wait to get to His arrival on the scene in the Word, hmmm, so it is in my life – and hopefully in your life as well.


Reflective Response: How you can read the Old Testament, too!

I highly recommend downloading one of the several free bible study apps; I prefer the YouVersion Bible App because it’s super easy to navigate, and it’s terrific at keeping you motivated. FYI, no, I do not have any sort of affiliate relationship with them, so I do not earn a single penny from them for my endorsement; in fact, I donate to them because I love their mission!

Once you’ve chosen your app:

  • Ask the Holy Spirit: What’s the best way for my brain to wrap around this thing?
    • History buff? Go with a chronological reading plan.
    • Thrive on inspiration? Go with a plan that includes devotionals with each day’s chapters.
    • Want to simply read in order? Go with a plan that, well, goes in order.
      • FYI, there are plans that read a couple chapters from the Old Testament and a couple from the New each day – so you’re kind of “balanced out.”
  • Commit.
    • There’s not much more to it than that. Commitment is sticking to it is never skipping a day. Period.
    • Tricks of the trade:
      • Tie your reading/listening time to a part of your routine that is already ingrained into your life.
      • Associate this time with something pleasant, e.g., tea, hot cocoa, stretching out your muscles
  • Keep your eye on the prize!

And I’d love to hear from you on the day you, too, finish reading the Old Testament… and the New Testament, for that matter. Because that’s why we spend time in His Word – to point to Jesus Christ.

About Coco Cabrel
Coco Cabrel, The Flamenco-Fit MD, uplifts professional women searching for Christian grace in their bodies and souls, even when life feels ungraceful to them. She uses her God-given gifts as a writer, speaker, dancer and teaching MD to share devotional stories, fun workouts with Flamenco flair, and effective courses that help to rise triumphant over hardship. You can read more about the author here.

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