Saturday, May 22, 2010

1.1 Bible Plan

For anyone curious as to what plan I'm following, it is a 2-month read through plan I formulated myself about 4 years ago. It has gone through many revisions and testings by readers, and could probably use another tweak. But I have found none like it. It's fun, and only takes about an hour out of your day.

Check it out:

I started day 1 today. It took me a little less than an hour, and that was with a LOT of cross referencing. Let's begin.

Genesis 1-3

Let me begin by saying that these 3 chapters are by far the most interesting and the most perplexing in the whole Bible. The language is odd, to say the least. Try to find a literal translation Bible for this passage, stay away from Bibles such as NLT for this purpose. Most verses repeat the same word about 3 or 4 times, "living creature with life," "seed-bearing plants with seeds," "flying things that fly" etc.

I recall as a Christian arguing for a complimentary first and second chapter and adamently argued against the "two creation story" belief. Now I can't imagine how I even began to do so.

Were animals created on day 6 (1:24-25), or some time after mankind was created ( 2:19)? Do all living creatures have nefesh hi'yah, the breath of life (1:30), or is only man called a living creature posessing this special breath (2:7)? Was woman created at the same time as man in God's image (1:27), or was woman created after animals in man's image (2:21-22)?

I spent way too much time on these passages pondering all these questions. My main question, how was this story shared? We have, for the most part, all come to the consensus that most of what is in Genesis was passed along orally. Should we invision this story being shared to children over the campfire? Certainly we should compare it to other ancient creation tales.

Moving passed my musings I turned to my good ole' "What does the Bible really teach" booklet that the JW ladies handed me last Sunday. Their focus was on Genesis 3 and attaching the serpent to Satan, which is a mind-blowing assumption that is described with such introductory phrases as "evidently" and "apparently" in their propoganda material although it is everything but that in the passage. Then they state that the serpent lied to Eve, although everything he told her in 3:4-5 is confirmed by God himself in 3:22. You can say they eventually died all you want, but 900+ years is a long time for that threat to actually bear fruit.

I promise, this will be the only time I spend so much space on a single passage! Genesis 1-3 never ceases to confound me, no matter how many times I read it.

Joshua 1-4

My only interesting observation here was how Joshua seems to act as a demi-god to the people. I was stunned reading1:18 "Any man who flouts your [Joshua]s] commands and does not obey every order you give him shall be put to death." Mind you this was not an edict by God, but by the people. Strange. Also contrary to the Christian idea of "me and my God and no one else", there is an apparent hierarchy: God speaks to Joshua and him alone, and Joshua tells everyone else what to do.

Psalm 1-3

The contrast between wicked and righteous interests me. Nowadays is seems the contrast is only between those who believe and those who don't. Belief outweighs deeds. Thank Luther for that one.

Isaiah 1-5

Herein were words we can all live by:
"Learn to do good,
devote yourselves to justice;
Aid the wronged,
Uphold the rights of the orphan;
Defend the cause of the widow."

Job 1

I love this chapter. Mainly because you have God here boasting to Satan about a blameless man, when Christians tout that Jesus was the only sinless man. He was blameless by the narrators voice, blameless by God's voice, and after Satan's disbelief is proved to have not sinned.

One thought-provoking question though: Why does God ask where Satan has been?

Matthew 1-2

I will break the formality of my blog here with a big: OMFG. Annoying. Matthew quotes from so many passages and had me thumbing through trying to figure out just what he is doing and if he is really quoting. After doing so, I have to wonder just what the hell Matthew is doing with the prophets? And just what prophet ever said that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene?

Interesting note, JPS translates the commonly quoted Isaiah 9:6 (in JPS it's verse 5, verse 1 of our Bibles becomes the last verse of the previous chapter): "For a child has been born to us, A son has been given us, And authority has settled on his shoulders. He has been named "The Mighty God is planning grace; The Eternal Father a peaceable ruler." Which makes tremendous more sense than our translations which read that this man will actually be called Mighty God.

Romans 1-2

Again noted the emphasis on good works: "but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good." 2:10

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