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I have no patience

September 20, 2004 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was going to read the New Testament and then jump into the scholarly work about Christianity. I decided this in late August. Because of my lack of patience I ditched reading the NT the first week of September and read The Bible Unearthed and am in the process of reading Who Wrote The New Testament? by Burton Mack (which has proven to be somewhat disappointing). I decided a few days ago to read the NT after Mack’s book, then read the two volume introduction by Helmut Koester. However, if I don’t restrain myself I’m probably going to buy both of those right now and skip the NT again. So I want to do everything but read the damn thing I want to learn about. A compromise presented itself earlier when I decided I’d read just the synoptic gospels, seeing as that’s what I really care about (the histriocity of Jesus’ exploits), but even that is in jeopardy because they total about 200 pages. And this is, of course, in addition to my course work, which is going to pick up real soon.

Categories: Personal
  1. September 20, 2004 at 8:15 pm

    Maybe just read Mark’s Gospel? It’s the shortest, and the earliest Gospel, and gives a much more stark and basic portrait of Jesus than you find in Matthew and Luke. I’m not saying that makes it more historical – just a good place to start if you want to read something short and manageable.

  2. September 21, 2004 at 9:10 am

    That’s an idea.

  3. Andy
    September 24, 2004 at 4:13 pm

    Yes, read the New Testament. I am a Christian telling you that, but don’t hold that bias against me. 🙂

    I assume from your writings that you have never read it before, and it may seem daunting. Let me then assure you that it does not need to be so. Despite my strong faith, I have some difficulties reading certain portions of the Bible as well. But others portions are very strong, and simple, although the latter is a word I hesitate to use.

    When reading the NT, read the Gospels and Acts. The epistles (most of the rest) are good but tend to be philosophical and written in a somehow circuitous fashion, which will probably be off-putting for Biblical “beginners.” There are pearls of wisom throughout, but as I admitted, these can be a tougher slog even for “true believers.”

    Revelation is a fascinating book, but not what to read first.

    As far as Old Testament books go, if you are interested (and don’t already know), start with the Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy), Proverbs and Job. The other historical (as opposed to poetical) books, such as I and II Kings, I and II Samuel, Judges, et al, are also good to read, but again, I would start with the others first.

    Psalms has some powerful parts, as well, but certain of them offer the same reading difficulties as do the New Testament epistles.

    I hope this bit of advice- from someone you have never met- finds willing eyes and is found by you to be helpful!

  4. September 24, 2004 at 7:39 pm

    “I assume from your writings that you have never read it before, and it may seem daunting. Let me then assure you that it does not need to be so. Despite my strong faith, I have some difficulties reading certain portions of the Bible as well. But others portions are very strong, and simple, although the latter is a word I hesitate to use.”

    It’s not daunting to me so much as I’m not patient enough. Too many books to read in general at the moment.

    “When reading the NT, read the Gospels and Acts. The epistles (most of the rest) are good but tend to be philosophical and written in a somehow circuitous fashion, which will probably be off-putting for Biblical “beginners.” There are pearls of wisom throughout, but as I admitted, these can be a tougher slog even for ‘true believers.'”

    I thought about reading Acts as well. Seeing as I’m interested mostly in the history not the philosophy it seems like that’s something I should read. Basically, how far I get is going to be determined by how patient I am. Reading the Gospels and Acts is the ideal at the moment.

    “As far as Old Testament books go, if you are interested (and donÂ’t already know), start with the Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy), Proverbs and Job. The other historical (as opposed to poetical) books, such as I and II Kings, I and II Samuel, Judges, et al, are also good to read, but again, I would start with the others first.”

    Generally, I know the stories of the Old Testament and I’m not as interested in the histriocity of that part of the Bible. Plus, I don’t currently have a full Bible, just the NIV of the NT.

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