If you’re like me and you follow some kind of Bible reading plan, inevitably you arrive at Leviticus. The plan I’ve been using this year had me in this book for about 2 chapters a day over 2 weeks. Chapters about clean and unclean, different sacrifices, ceremonial laws regarding priests – in the past I’ve read through it all, but, to be honest, not without much pleasure or profit. This year I thought to myself: “How can I make the best use of my time in this part of God’s revelation? How can I avoid wasting my time as I read this book?”
There are different ways. One would be to find a readable and reliable commentary which both explains Leviticus in its original context and also shows how it points to Christ and applies to Christians (if anyone knows of such a commentary, I will allow comments for this post – please do share!). Another way would be to use the notes in a sound study Bible. Sometimes those notes can steer you in the right direction.
Another way, which I used this time around, is to find reliable sermons on Leviticus. If you go to SermonAudio, there are some 3,260 sermons on Leviticus. I can’t vouch for how reliable all of them are, but I’m sure some of them would be, especially those preached in confessionally Reformed and Presbyterian churches. However, listening to a sermon on even one chapter of Leviticus could involve a significant time investment. Some might have that time, but many others won’t.
For many others, reading a sermon on a chapter or two might be more feasible. If you go to a website called The Seed, you’ll find 17 sermons on Leviticus. These sermons are suitable for reading and personal study. There aren’t sermons on every chapter, but on enough to at least generally read one per day.
The last resource I’ll mention is the Family Worship Bible Guide. As the title indicates, it was originally written for family devotions, but it can be equally useful for personal Bible study. Each chapter of the Bible has notes to help Christians understand and reflect on what God is saying to us. Let me give a couple of examples from Leviticus. One of the notes on Leviticus 3 reads:
There are significant parallels between the peace offering and the communal meal that believers can experience at the Lord’s Table. The table is not a sacrifice but it declares the fact of the sacrifice Christ offered that removed every barrier, obstacle, and impediment to our fellowship with God as believers; it declares that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rejoice in the One who accomplished this on your behalf!
And this is one of the notes on Leviticus 9:
After Aaron offered the sacrifice to the Lord, he lifted up his hand toward the people and blessed them (v.22). We are reminded of when our Lord “came out” from death and the grave having finished His work. As He ascended to heaven, “he lifted up his hands and blessed them” (Luke 24:50). How is the blessing of Christ better than that of Aaron?
The Family Worship Bible Guide is written from a Reformed perspective – it’s both reliable and helpful. I can’t recommend it enough.
We believe the Bible is clear. God’s written revelation is not an impenetrable mystery. However, even Scripture itself says that not all parts of the Bible are equally clear. Peter famously says that some passages of Paul are “hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16). With Leviticus the passages are not always hard to understand in their original context. The challenge really comes in understanding their relevance for us as Christians. We can be thankful that help is available and we ought to avail ourselves of it.