I’ve always been a bit of a Bible nerd.
For example, my earliest memory of life is when I was about four or five years old. I had a small children’s Bible that I read cover to cover in one afternoon and ran out to exclaim to my mother that I had just read the whole Bible in a single day.
It makes sense – I’ve always been a reading fanatic. After school, I would spend hours every afternoon reading, sometimes two or three books in a day. I’ve always loved being transported to another place and time, losing myself in the characters and stories.
When I got to college, I had an amazing Scripture professor who really opened my eyes to the stories. I’d never heard of how the Old Testament and New Testament were connected before; I just thought the Bible was one long historical story.
But then, I found out about typology, which is the idea that many of the people and circumstances of the Old Testament are really just relived (in a greater, more meaningful way) in the New.
Take the story of Abraham and Isaac for example. Abraham is told by God to take his beloved, only son Isaac, the one through whom he is supposed to received thousands of descendants, up the side of a mountain and kill him. Ever faithful Abraham does exactly what God says, taking Isaac up the side of a mountain range called Moriah and even having Isaac carry the wood for his own sacrifice on his back up to the top. Isaac questions what is going on and Abraham remarks that God will provide the lamb for the sacrifice. Eventually, Isaac’s life is spared, and everyone moves on.
Now fast forward 4,000 years.
Another “beloved only son” is being condemned to die. He too has to carry the wood for His own execution – a cross – on His back as He too climbs up the side of a mountain to be crucified. Oh, and it just so happens that the place he is climbing too is called Calvary. This is the part that really struck me: Calvary is a hill of, you guessed it, the mountain range Moriah.
Is your mind blown? Down to the very last detail, God has Jesus walk the EXACT. SAME. walk that Isaac does – only this time, the sacrifice is completed, and the whole world is saved.
God did indeed provide the Lamb for the sacrifice.
This dynamic plays out throughout so many stories of the Bible – the Exodus Passover and Christ’s death, David summoning the Ark of the Covenant and the Visitation, the temptation in the Garden of Eden and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness – time and again, these stories appear in the Old and New Testaments, with Jesus proving who He is in astounding, too-intricate-to-be-planned details.
These illusions would not have been lost on the Bible’s original audience, but as our familiarity with the Bible grew less and less, translations clouded some of the meaning and cultural associations were lost.
But what does all of this mean spiritually? To me, as a Catholic, it means that if God could plan out 4,000 years prior to Jesus’ death exactly how He was going to die, then He has a plan for my life too.
Today, I have a master’s in Theology under my belt and am an adjunct professor at my alma mater, teaching students of my own about my passion for the Bible.
The summit of our faith is by far the Eucharist. In no other faith do the participants have the opportunity to receive the physical bodies of their gods. But for me, I can sometimes let my logic get in the way of my faith. I start to convince myself that there is no way all of this can be true.
And then I return to the logos, the Word, and my logical brain is put at ease as I am reminded again and again of God’s astounding planning skills.
A lot of people say Catholics don’t read the Bible. I say, without the Bible, I wouldn’t be the Catholic I am today.
This post is part of a compilation with other Catholic bloggers for Reconciled to You's "What Does the Catholic Church Really Have to Offer Me" series. Find posts on sacred art, sacred music, the Rosary, and more, and enter to win a book giveaway by following the link!