Sunday, January 24, 2010


Things Make So Much More Sense in Context

I don't have anything too profound to say today. Let me just mention to those of you who have tried to read the Bible before, but found portions of it--especially from the Old Testament--to be either incomprehensible, boring, or whacko, that it makes a lot more sense if you start at page 1 and just plow forward.

Personally I have tried to read one chapter a night, in sequence. Sometimes when I hit discussions of genealogy I skim. And there are still plenty of geographical and cultural discussions that leave me clueless.

Even so, when I hit Job (for example), it now makes tons more sense than when I tried to read it a few years ago, after I had become a born again Christian.

I realize this post might sound odd to some of you, who have been reading the Bible your whole lives. But I came from a background where personal reading of the Bible was not stressed. In fact I have hit upon books that I know I never read before in my life. I was surprised to discover some of the stylistic variety in the Old Testament; it's not just creation and the Israelites leaving Egypt, then a bunch of sinning until Jesus shows up. It is that, of course, but it's so much more!

What parts don't you get, perhaps you will get responses if you let us know.
what book of the bible are you reading now? Have you who read Romans chapter 13 yet? I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the passage. When you get a chance, listen to John Piper's sermon on Romans chapter 13 from 1981, its enlightening.
If you have a chance, I would pick up the KJV audio discs that are read by Alexander Scourby. I have found them to be a great commute accompaniment.
Biblemaster, I don't remember off the top of my head. A lot of the times it would help if I had a timeline and a detailed map next to me when reading. (I know there must be study guides etc. that do that, but I am just easing into it. I want to just blow through it cold on my first attempt, and then on a second reading I will try to get outside assistance.)

Micah, I actually just started Job.
Thanks Mike.
A few things, Bob:

There are lots of good reading guides. I have one that has the things you talk about - timelines, maps, asides about the other cultures/civilizations. Cool stuff. I'm sure you could find a cheap one on Amazon.

About the parts that you don't get, consider blogging about those. Typically they make fun discussion topics.

And about your becoming a born again Christian, perhaps you could consider blogging about that also, ie. what made you change your mind?
On a very vaguely related note...

One thing I've found: it's kind of cool to vary the way that you read the Bible. I read Richard Foster's "The Celebration of Discipline" (great book, by the way) - or maybe it was his "Streams of Living Water" (also a great book) - and he mentioned the idea of reading the Bible in "chunks". So, rather than doing "a chapter a day", to try doing one hour of Bible reading a week - but all in one sitting. I tried it for a year, and it was quite cool the things you pick up when you read that way. The "big picture" all falls into place in a way that's very different from the chapter a day plan.

Right now, I'm back to a "chapter a day" sort of reading, but I think it's a good idea to mix things up on occasion. It helps you read "with new eyes", so to speak.
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