Friday, November 30, 2012

Following a Theme to the Manger and Beyond

The Holy Family
by Rembrandt (1634)
A few years ago, I started a Christmas/Advent scripture reading tradition. I began following a theme—one that Christ fulfills—through scripture from beginning to end.

This is not like doing a word study; it's not a word, but a topic or idea that's traced through scripture. It's a rewarding exercise, but it takes a bit of thought and planning, and a general knowledge of the Bible. 

I usually read one passage per day, starting so that I finish right before Christmas. Though I've planned what texts to  read—and even read them while I'm planning—I still get excited as the readings build, first toward the coming of Jesus, then, in some cases, through the work of the Spirit in the new covenant, and finally, in anticipation of the consummation.

So far, I've done lightglorydwelling place (or tent, tabernacle) and miraculous birth. This year I'm thinking of doing king.

Confused? Let me show you by tracing the theme of miraculous birth through the Bible. 
  • The creation of Adam and Eve - Genesis 2:7, 20-22 (These aren't really births, but they are God's miraculous creation of human life, so I've decided they fit. )
  • The birth of Isaac - Genesis 17:15-17, 18:1-3, 9-15, 21:1-3.
  • The birth of Esau and Jacob - Genesis 25: 21-24.
  • The birth of Joseph - Genesis 30:1-2, 22-23.
  • The birth of Samson - Judges 13:2-7, 24.
  • The birth of Samuel - 1 Samuel 1:1-20
  • The birth of John the Baptist - Luke 1:57-66
  • The birth of Jesus - Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-24, Luke 2:1-7
  • The new birth - John 1:12-13, 1 Peter 1:3-5
  • Our adoption as sons and the redemption of creation - Romans 8:19-23
Are there more texts you would add to this list?

I've posted the texts I used to follow the themes of light and glory, too. Can you think of other themes that might work?

You are welcome to use this list or the linked ones for your own purposes. Better yet, choose a theme and trace it through the Bible yourself.