Next Year’s Study Project: Leviticus

studyEvery year I pick a topic to study. I spend a significant amount of time reading literature on, thinking about, and generally mapping out in my mind the concepts, doctrines, applications associated with that primary study subject. This next year I have chosen to study the book of Leviticus from the Old Testament. So, the natural question is why would someone choose to spend twelve months in that particular book of the Bible. It’s a fair question, so let me explain.

Why a Book of the Bible?

I have a rotation of categories that I work my way through. The categories are Doctrinal, Scriptural, Historical, Practical, Cultural. So, in years past I have studied a theology sex (doctrinal), Biblical counseling (practical), and the life and theology of Jonathan Edwards (historical). This year I was invited to participate in a long study on Discipleship (practical), which I was excited to do. I recognize, however, that I was due for a Scriptural study. Of course I am always studying the Scriptures, and there’s no way for me to study any of these other subjects without also studying the Scriptures, yet an intensive investigation through a lengthy book of the Bible was long overdue. So, I decided that next year’s project would be a book of the Bible.

Why Leviticus?

Having said that, I also recognize that to some Leviticus seems like a strange choice. After all, there are 66 books I could have chosen from why this rather dense and difficult book from the Old Testament? In actuality the reasons that drove me to choose it are the very reasons I wanted to skip it: it’s dense, difficult, seemingly boring, seemingly full of the esoteric. Yet, for all those thoughts that I share with many Christians, God saw fit to include this book within the canon. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 applies just as readily to Leviticus as it does to Romans. So, I wanted to study the text and have a healthier understanding of it than I do at present. I wanted to tackle it and wrestle it around and draw good conclusions about God’s story and design in its inclusion. I chose Leviticus, in other words, because it is part of God’s Word.

How am I going to study it?

The process of studying a book of the Bible is fairly straightforward. It will involve a great deal of reading and exegesis. I will work my way through the book multiple times over the next year, taking time to note how the chapters are built upon one another, how they relate together, and what themes they highlight. I will try to assemble a theology of the book, some understanding of its over-arching agenda and structure. I will also seek the aid of those more experienced in studying the depth and nuance of the book. So, I will consult many theological works, commentaries, and academic essays in Biblical literature to better aid my study. I will spend the better part of next year’s writing on the blog discussing what I am learning, so if you’d like to study along with me you can do so right here at Pastor Dave Online.

I am excited about this study and believe it’s going to help me grow not just in my knowledge of the Old Testament but in my appreciation for the work of Christ. As Leviticus deals extensively with the works of the Law, it will be encouraging to reflect on Christ’s fulfillment of the law for believers and the offer of grace and righteousness through Him. The overall benefits of studying Leviticus will be the ways in which it causes me to rejoice afresh in the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. So, join me in 2015 for the study of the book of Leviticus.

As usual, recommendations on reading for the subject are welcome. I have compiled a list of good articles to work through, and a few commentaries, but the input of friends and colleagues is most welcome.

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