A week ago I started reading the Old Testament. After two or three days I remembered I could read our Institute student manual along with it. So I pulled it out and I am catching up to the section that goes along with where I left off in the Old Testament itself.
Before I even got to the Genesis 1 part of the manual, the preface and introduction made me excited about my goal to read the whole Bible and understand it better. What I'm sharing today is about, rather than directly from, the scriptures. Parts of the first section of the manual's preface, "The Importance of Studying the Old Testament" read:
Even today the roots of three of the world's greatest religions -- Christianity, Islam, and Judaism -- are firmly planted in the richness of its soil. . . . The gems in the book were meant to be enjoyed. . . . This course of study [religion 301] is designed to give you the opportunity to come to know the God of the Old Testament in an intimate, personal, and powerful way. . . . In the pages of the Old Testament we see the premortal Jesus working with our Heavenly Father's children to save them.
From the manual's introduction:
Think for a moment about yourself. Does your motivation to study the scriptures come from a desire to learn more about God and his dealings with his children? Are you seeking to draw power from the scriptures in order to perfect your life by coming to Christ? Paul and Nephi have said that, like all other scriptures, the Old Testament will help you accomplish these goals. Do you want to learn more of God and those who were faithful to him? Then search the stories of the prophets and patriarchs. Would you be inspired by examples of men and women who overcame their weaknesses and went on to perfection? Read of Joseph and Abraham and Sarah and Job and dozens of others. Would you like to find principles of daily living that bring you closer to God? They are there in abundance. Would you like to better know Jehovah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to earth as our Redeemer? Then turn to the Old Testament, for, like the other scriptures, it is a witness of his divinity, his love, and his mercy.