Reimagining the Old Testament

From September 18th to 21, our site had the privilege of having Jodie come and teach us about the Old Testament while at Camp Arnes. Throughout the 4 days she stayed with us, she taught 5 sessions that included interactive lessons and a lot of information! She gave a “crash course” on the many basic themes of the Old Testament, shared her perspective on the scientific and biblical explanations/view points of the bible, and taught us how to dig deep and pull meaningful information and connections from the Old Testament along with how to apply these insights into our own lives.

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To start off our journey in the Old Testament we went over the basic themes, the stages of creation, the Ten Commandments and a couple of prophets found in the old testaments. We were all given a quiz during our first class that included these topics and a lot of names, a quiz that many of us found particularly challenging, but after our four days together we would find that our knowledge of the Old Testament would be vastly improved!
Something that caught our attention from the start was the way Jodie taught and how she always created room for thought. When she began teaching us about creation and the plague, stories that many of us have been listening to since we were young, she involved scientific explanation for each item that rather than clashing with the biblical facts, fit right in. For example, when we read over the plague, she explained that red algae in the water could be a scientific reason for the water to turn into blood, infecting the water causing sickness and flies and so on and so fourth. Hearing the way she could explain the plague in an easier, different format helped us understand what it was like for the people in the bible and allowed us to put ourselves into their shoes. As she talked about creation, she went into depth on how it was possible that Adam and Eve were not the only people God created at the time, but merely a “zoom in” on two particular people that God wanted us to see and learn from. This was an interesting way for us to look at the story of creation and helped us understand that if we look deeply, we can learn new things about the bible and see different perspectives.

As the sessions progressed, we began learning about the Kings during the time of the Old Testament and a couple of prophets. To help us understand how patient God was in the times of these kings, we made a human timeline of the Kings over the years by sitting and standing to represent a godly king or an ungodly King. We found that God waited for hundreds of years for kings who would follow him and lead in his path. Jodie helped us understand that just as God was patient with the Kings over 550 years, he is patient with us in our own lives and he is rooting for us all the way along.

As we dove into the scripture looking for information on some prophets, we found out  what words they had to share and what their lives looked like. We noticed that although the prophets did amazing things for God, their lives looked almost normal to us today. There were prophets like Amos who farmed in a small town and called others back to God, and people like Ezekiel who was called to use his actions instead of words to shine Gods light. Looking at different prophets and doing a bit of research helped us see how *normal* some of these prophets lived while sharing and spreading Gods word. Jodie presented her information in a way that we could relate to, and taught us how to read Into the bible and do a little bit of extra research to find valuable information. We realized as a group that reading the Old Testament becomes a lot more interesting when you’re able to relate the events to your own life.

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At the end of our sessions with Jodie, we retook the test from the begging of the course and tallied up our final scores and compared them to our old tests. Some of our scores improved by 30%! As a finishing ceremony, we all collected rocks and went by the water to build an alter. As each one of us placed our rock at the alter we said something that we had learned in the past week or a prayer we had. The alter represented a way of remembering what the Lord has done for us. As a group we loved having Jodie and her son along with her babysitter at Camp Arnes with us for the couple of days and appreciate her taking time out of her busy schedule to teach us!

What was your favourite part about session with Jodie? (A quote, an activity, a way she explained something exc.)

“I enjoyed the part where we reenacted the kings in the Old Testament because it gave me a better understanding of how each King was part of a genealogical hierarchy.”

“I liked the way she explained the creation story, and how the things created on days 4-6 filled the things created days 1-3.”

“I liked the part where we took the 10 commandments and rephrased them into positive statements.”

“It was really amazing to learn how we serve a God that is never changing. Jodie taught us how God is the exact same unconditionally loving God today, as He was 2,000 years ago.”

“My favourite thing she did was give new insights into stories I had heard before. She had so many new theories that really helped me understand even the most basic events from the Old Testament.”

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