I can’t believe I finally finished the Bible. It took me 4.5 years of reading it on and off. What’s funny is that I found most of it to be tedious, dull, and remarkably unenlightening. However as a complete experience it was fantastic and definitely life changing. It really changed my faith, and I find myself referring to the Bible all the time in my everyday life.
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sandblade has written 45 entries about this goal
Corinthians I+II is a massive treatise on how the church and church members should behave. Basically it starts by saying we (Christians) have no right to judge people outside the church until we have our own house in order. Paul then proceeds to give a huge laundry list of do’s and don’ts. Some of it I find very good and some of it makes me cringe. The whole body is a temple concept comes from here. Also the big love chapter 1 Cor:13 which gets used at every wedding is here. Obama’s quote from his inauguration speech is in that chapter as well. Paul also goes on about how women should be submissive and not talk in church. 2 Cor:8 is interesting because it sort of advocates communism. Paul is pretty firm with his do’s and don’ts list but at the end of Corinthians he goes on to apologize about what a pain he can be, and he seems aware of his own bossiness and high horse. Reading these epistles are hard because we only have Paul’s half. I wonder what the letters and news he was getting from the churches was like to make him respond in this way.
Romans is a challenging read. It’s intellectually dense, and Paul’s love of vague pronoun usage when referring to God, Jesus, and us can be difficult reading at times. Romans really made me realize that Peter may be the foundation of the modern Christian church, but Paul is really the prime theologian. A lot of stuff I didn’t realize that came from Paul in Romans like the concept of original sin, penal substitution, resurrection, repentance, baptism, love, etc. Essentially Paul is arguing in Romans like a lawyer making a case for the new Christian ideology. Highlights that I liked were Rom13:10 12:17-21. On the downside Romans has the infamous
Finished Acts. It was a very different read than anything else in the Bible to date. It is written in a modern style with a back and forth narrative between Paul’s story and Peter’s story. Acts was largely uneventful reading for me. There are a few famous stories in it, like Saul’s conversion and the baptism of the Ethiopian. Peter’s vision of unclean foods is one of my favorite stories. Largely it’s a disjointed travelogue of Paul’s trips and imprisonments. What I find interesting is that the Jewish establishment is largely against the new movement because it threatens their power and authority. The Romans don’t have a problem with it. What’s also interesting is the evolution of the new theology. The early believers are trying to interpret the practical day to day philosophy of what it means to believe in Jesus. I’ve always wondered how much of modern Christianity is Jesus and how much of it is Paul.
Finished reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Only writing one entry since they all overlap. It’s amazing how different these four books are even though they cover a lot of the same stories. Matthew tends to be the most didactic of the four. Luke tends to focus on the divinity and mystery of Jesus and the veneration of mother Mary. John is just hard to read. If I were John’s writing teacher I’d give him an F for abusive vague pronoun usage and crazy run-on sentences. The big take away I get from the gospels is that Jesus didn’t like hypocrisy, was big on love, and set a standard so impossibly high, no one can really meet it. The whole “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” theme is very disturbing. I’m pretty sure no one will enter heaven if that’s the cover charge. The one notable thing that was absent from the gospels is that Jesus never comes out and says, “Oh God is really upset about mankind’s sins, so God says somebody has to get whacked and that’s me.” Jesus talks about the inevitability of his death, but puts the blame solely on his opponents and their inability to accept the new thinking that Jesus brings.
Wow this is a milestone. Nothing new in Malachi. 3:5 is a compact screed about what God is against. Edom sucks, God hates divorce, and God is mad that people are robbing him. That’s Malachi in a nutshell.
I really am pretty amazed that I finished the OT. It seems like an amazing accomplishment, but it really isn’t. I’ll be honest I’ve forgotten most of what I’ve read, and I’m not sure if I’d ever do it again. I would recommend doing it at least once in a lifetime though.
I read a little of Psalms each day while I continued to read the rest of the Bible. I’m not a huge poetry fan, so the Psalms never appealed to me, and after finishing it I still think it’s overhyped. I suppose you’re either the kind of person that relates to the Psalms or not. I am not. I feel like it’s a big wishlist of who we would like God to be and not actually who God is.
Reading Zechariah, I wondered why I never heard Zech being referenced. After reading it, I think it’s because it’s hard to draw anything from it. There’s lots of random visions of different colored horses and a woman in a lead basket. Though when I read the vision and the interpretation, I was left saying, “so? what’s the big deal?” Chpt 9 brings up prophecy of the king of Israel coming to Jerusalem on a donkey zing. Then some apocalyptic talk about judgement day to finish the book off. I think if you tried to over-analyze Zech you’d go crazy. This is the kind of stuff that millennialists and doomsday talkers love to use as fuel.
The lesser prophets books are getting shorter and less interesting. Habakkuk is interesting because he asks God a very similar question as Jeremiah does which is “why do bad people succeed” God answers Hab in a less than satisfying answer. Evidently it’s enough to satisfy Hab.
Zephaniah is just a bunch of prophecies about how individual tribes and peoples are gonna get it. Nothing really profound there.
Haggai prophesies about rebuilding the temple.
Not sure why this one isn’t put before Jonah since it’s all about bad-mouthing Ninevah. This book reads like a pro-wrestler trash talking another wrestler. Some great language and truly comical metaphors. Especially the bit about blowing their skirts over their head. Other than that not much else new.