Reading and reflecting on the Bible has long been my preferred prayer practice. However, a few years ago, I also began to read the Bible in larger sections. To use the forest and trees analogy, there are times when we lose track of one in focusing on the other. I would offer, however, that as we become more familiar with the entire 'forest', it allows us to notice things about the 'trees' that otherwise we wouldn't. A few years ago we studied the Book of Revelation. I was stunned to discover that the entire book consisted of endless allusions (and direct quotes) from the Old Testament. After one year of close study I came to the conclusion that I needed to learn the OT more thoroughly. As I shared yesterday I have spent the last two years doing just that. I think reading the entire OT a couple of times would be helpful for any one on a journey of faith. It is the bible of the NT and it is fundamental for understanding the NT. I share this example:
In Exodus 4 (I read from The Schoken Bible:Volume 1, Everett Fox. The notes are incredible and the translation gives you a real feel for the Hebrew) we read "Now YHWH said to Moshe [Moses] in Midyan: Go, return to Egypt, for all the men who sought (to take) your life have died." Knowing this story allows one insight into the story of Matthew 2:20 where Joseph is told by an angel in Egypt, "go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child's life are dead." This is one of many Jesus/Moses parallels found in Matthew. Familiarity with the stories allows us to make those connections. The more often you read the Bible, both as forest and as tree, the more quickly the connections will come to mind.