Saturday, November 3, 2007

Is it better to have read condensed than to not have read at all?

This was the essence of the question I put to Brother Maynard and "John the Shepherd" a while back...and we already know how challenged I am about linking stuff...so you'll have to find your way through to the original conversations yourself ;^( ...however, John's initial review post will get you started.

The Vulnerable Abbess, as A Celtic Son commented I should rename my blog, stepped out and suggested that so much of the Bible is never read by most people because it is too daunting a task. I merely suggested that the folks over at Reader's Digest provided a wonderful tool to introduce people to all 66 books of the Bible in such a way as one might actually get from Genesis to Revelation!

And so I'll pass the challenge on to you to consider embracing a tool that removes barriers to reading God's Word without replacing the preeminence of the full text of God's Word. To me, it is better to have someone read 60 percent of the entire Bible than the smattering that accounts for many people's experience.

I am going to very generally suggest that those who say they read the Bible, but who have not taken the effort to read it from cover to cover, have read Genesis, most of Exodus, a bit of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy out of the Books of the Law. From History, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and I & II Samuel, parts of I & II Kings and Chronicles and Esther. From Poetry, parts of Job, parts of Psalms, all of Proverbs, parts of Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. Of the Prophets--major or minor, only Daniel and Jonah in their entirely...the rest of them just parts here and there. I would hope that the New Testament would have more who have read it all, but figure that John's Gospel has been more widely read with Luke or Matthew following and Mark trailing. Acts and Romans in pieces. Parts of I Corinthians...not much of II Corinthians. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are small and easily read. Bits of I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, and a verse here and there of Titus, Philemon and Hebrews. (Hebrews is one of my favorites...and it is key to understanding hesed and covenant in the New Testament, IMO.) James is a short and powerful book read more often, as is I John. II & III John and Jude get lost on the way to Revelation, which is all too often picked apart by dispensationalists and not seen with a singular message of perseverance, hope, and victory in Christ.

What do you think?

11 comments:

Maria said...

I'm sure you're right... though I'd guess you're a bit optimistic about how much of the Bible people have actually read. Maybe that's what we hear read in church/preached or taught on over the course of a decade or two.

Somehow your description of readers picking choice selections from the various sections of the Bible brought to mind one of those big salad bar restaurants. I suppose we all fall into that from time to time -- the book falls open to the favorite passages of its own accord, it seems. One of the things that gets lost is the narrative sweep of Scripture -- the sense that there is a Story behind all the stories and an Author who speaks through the various writers. So maybe the Readers Digest version will help.

AbiSomeone said...

Maria...I prefer to err on the generous side, eh! I think we have all had plenty of meals at various and sundry Bible Salad Bars!

You'll have to hunt down a copy and see for yourself. I find that when I start reading the RDCV, it is hard to stop...and that can't be a bad thing!

Brother Maynard said...

I think I like to have all the parts there so I can choose which parts to skip! ;^)


only

just

kidding

!!

AbiSomeone said...

Well...they started with the complete text of the RSV...so you can start with the complete text of whatever version you favor...and

do

your

own! ...or not! :^)

Anonymous said...

I actually tried to read the scriptures most of my life and could never get past the creation story. Because I am so tremondously blessed both of my former pastors(they actually call them evangelists)opened up the scriptures in such a way that God's Word came to life.

My latest pastor is a restorationist scholar and historian. The best resource he ever gave me was,"How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth", by Fee & Stuart.

Understanding the culture, history, how Hebrew stories are told, and the different types of literature, completely rocked my world. So much so, I love learning about all of the saints and stories that have been told. I am inspired by women like Susannah, Huldah, Deborah, Argula Von Grumbach, Mary, and Judith. I draw courage from the lives of Clement, James, Polycarp, Luther, Stone, & Campbell........

The funny part is that I never went one day to high school, so I'm not overly educated. Even my brother who is a recent convert, has a third grade education, is now surpassing me in his knowledge of the word.

One key no matter the resource, I deeply believe, is to depend on the holy spirit to teach.......

John said...

Peggy,

Help! Please communicate with Bro. Maynard on my behalf. His new set up has somehow locked me out of entering comments. Or, if you can give me some pointers for navigating the new maze I would be oh so grateful.

Thank you!

John

AbiSomeone said...

Anonynous,

Fee & Stuart's book is one of my favorites to teach (I have all three revisions as well as the companion--How to Read the Bible Book by Book.) It does make all the difference in the world. Good for you!

It is so important to be able to learn to read the Word of God for one's self rather than depend totally on another to "feed it to you", because--as you said--the Holy Spirit is the best teacher.

For those who are willing to get in there and dig for God's treasure and see if what they hear/read someone teach is what's really in there (the "Berean" way, as it were), there is great reward.

Keep at it! (I have tremendous respect for Barton W. Stone and the Campbell's, too.)

AbiSomeone said...

John,

I had the same trouble. When you go to make a comment, retype all your identifying information fresh. That fixed it for me. If you are still locked out, hollar and I'll send you his e-mail address!

Anonymous said...

Peggy,
I must thank you for the things you have been sharing. The most amazing thing happened today. I believe I came to see the Father.

I was reading Psalm 1 and meditating on vs. 2. I began to recite Lord Jesus, who am I? Teach me your ways? The response that I recieved was....I AM who I AM, I AM The God of Your Fathers, I AM Yahwee, I Am Jesus,The Living Word of the Law, now go, for I'm with you to the very end of the age.

It was so awesome and humbling in one breath. It was also a tremondous healing. When I use to look up at the cross, I would also see the beams where they cut my father down. He committed suicide in 1988. This vision has stayed with me in my walk with God because as I felt abandoned by the church I also felt abandoned by the Father. Like God left me here on my own, even though I know intellectually it is not true.

While I have tried to remember the holy spirit dwells within, it never occurred to me, at least not in my heart, that when looking at Jesus we see the Father. Like I've known that Jesus is God, I've seen Him as my Lord, Kinsman Redeemer, Sheperd, Husband, Brother, and Friend. But not as Yahweeh, the Father. I always saw it as seperate kind of like we seperate The Law & Gospel, or His Deity & Humanity. How incredibule because it helps me to also see how I've always had a true spiritual father one that has left me a double portion of His inheritance.....even though my own father squandered his.

I just wanted to share that with you. Sorry, it's so long but the more mature christians I know would find this strange. Thanks again & Peace be with you.
Penney

Anonymous said...

Wow, Peggy! I just realized it's like the Father gave us a double portion when He gave us Christ. Just like He always promised to Abraham's descendants.

This faith thing is really beginning to ROCK!

Penney

AbiSomeone said...

Wow, Penney...I guess there are a number of reasons you resonate with The Abbess of the Order of the Purple Martyrdom.

Thank you for sharing your experience with me...I am honored and my heart rejoices with you for the insight and freedom which you have received.

I would agree that, in Jesus, the Father has given us a double portion...that we would not only be hid in Christ's perfection but that we would be called to work that out in Christlikeness every moment of every day. We are adopted as children of God...not to be set aside and lost in the headcount, but are made joint heirs with Jesus--reigning with him.

...really does blow one's mind.

Blessings sister...it is a gift to have you journeying with me.