By Carlie Reeves Myers
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Rayburn Wayne McLeod is a retired educator who started a project nearly 10 years ago that lead him to publish two books on the entirety of the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible.
It all began in the summer of 2007 when McLeod decided that he would start studying the Bible with intense detail on every chapter of every book of the Old and New Testament. McLeod had always wanted to do this but never had the time until he retired in the summer of 2007. He wanted to do an intense study because while he was employed, he felt as though he never had the time to thoroughly prepare to lead his Sunday school class. McLeod disliked how often many writers would grab a few verses from one chapter and formulate a lesson out of those few verses then skip a couple of chapters and write a lesson plan on a different set of verses. McLeod thought that the reader would better understand these lessons if the reader knew what was contained within the chapters between these lessons.
Sunday school would be picking up in the fall with the book of Deuteronomy, so McLeod started his study with that book. He began his intense study by reading each chapter of each book in different translations (NIV, King James, etc.) as well as commentaries until he felt he had a full understanding of what that respective chapter was saying. After doing so, McLeod would type a summary of that chapter on his computer.
After going through this process with several books, he realized how details contained in footnotes of his study Bibles were important and necessary to the context of the chapter but are easily forgotten, so McLeod started inserting a “Notes” section at the end of each summary.
An example that McLeod gave for what could be contained in his “Notes” section of his books is an explanation as to why genealogies are included in the Bible. The Bible’s genealogies were important in determining who could serve in certain roles. For example, many activities in the Mosaic Law were limited to those who could prove their Jewish heritage. In the book of Matthew, the genealogy was to show that Jesus legally descended from David and was a descendant of Judah to whom the messianic kingship was promised.
Over the course of McLeod’s study, McLeod started sharing is work with Christian friends who encouraged him to share it with other people. As more people saw his work, he was encouraged to make it a book. At first, McLeod fought against the idea of publishing his work out of fear that he would be criticized for publishing his thoughts on the Bible. He began entertaining this idea when his friends told him that his work could be a huge blessing to those who do not have the luxury of sitting down every day to study the Bible in-depth, such as preachers who work two jobs. After he began the process of publishing his book, he soon realized he would have to split his writings into two books. McLeod’s Old Testament book is 972 pages and the New Testament book is 565 pages, both larger than the average college textbook.
When McLeod began this project, his only intention was to make himself a more informed Sunday School teacher. Never did he imagine that his work would lead him to becoming an author of two books. His work has now reached a national religious group who have approached him to market his work. To McLeod , this was a sign that all of his work was worthwhile.
Once he had his work in print, he gave a copy of his books to the Choctaw County High School, the Choctaw County Library, his church, and to his friends and 3 children. McLeod hopes his books help readers develop a better understanding of the Bible and bring them closer to God.