Friday, January 3, 2014

A Year Harmonizing the Gospels

For better or worse, I've spent a part of my daily devotional time over the last year reading a harmony of the Gospels. If you don't know, to "harmonize" the Gospels is to attempt to bring the different narratives in the four stories of Christ's life into a coherent whole--a "harmony", if you will. This is intended both to show that there is no actual conflict between our four sources for Jesus' life, and to give us a beginning-to-end picture of our Savior's life, death, and resurrection. So, I decided to take last year and integrate into my daily Bible reading a year-long harmony of the Gospels. (This one, to be precise.)

The result? Irritation, mostly. What I found was that reading one verse out of Matthew and then flipping to the same exact thing in Mark, and then (sometimes) again to Luke or John got distracting and disruptive fairly fast. I suspect that this is not so much a problem with the "harmony" idea as it is with stretching out a harmony over 365 days. After all, the Gospels themselves aren't that long (just over a hundred pages in English, depending on the translation), and reading the equivalent of one sentence at a time every day gets a bit wearing. Add in having to flip from book to book to read a sentence in each every day, and the result of a devotional time where as much time is spent looking for the chapter and verse as actually doing the reading.

So, I think that the end of the day I'd like to give a harmony of the Gospels another go, just not in this format. Maybe that will make a good summer reading project?

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