Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Going to start 2003 by knocking something off my to do list, I'll pick a quick one: review the Bible.

I'll give the Bible 7 out 10. I'm sure you're aware of the many virtues of the good book, so let's see where it misses the mark. It's been a best seller forever, and as any arty reviewer knows, if it's popular it can't be that good. Though we can take consolation in knowing it's better than the Ikea Catalog. And just to prove the point it's never once won an artistic award. Not that I checked, but I'm sure I would have heard. Let's just admit it's not Booker Prize material. And finally, not one single mention of Canada. Not even in Revelation, which as one in four Americans will tell you is all about the United States of America.

Irony off. Reviewing the Bible would be a huge task to do well or it would come out as parody, but I would like to share some thought on the format of the Bible I just finished reading. A couple of weeks ago I finished New Living Translation in The One Year Bible format. The One Year Bible divides the bible into 365 readings. Each day you advance through the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. Mixing the Old Testament and New Testament was a profound experience for me. Let me give you a recent example.

In the reading for December 20th I read:

Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, "Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations.

Revelation 11:1-2

this passage didn't mean much to me until the next day I read Zechariah

When I looked around me again, I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. "Where are you going?" I asked.

He replied, "I am going to measure Jerusalem, to see how wide and how long it is."

Then the angel who was with me went to meet a second angel who was coming toward him. The other angel said, "Hurry, and say to that young man, `Jerusalem will someday be so full of people that it won't have room enough for everyone! Many will live outside the city walls, with all their livestock--and yet they will be safe. For I, myself, will be a wall of fire around Jerusalem, says the LORD. And I will be the glory inside the city!' "

Zechariah 2:1-5

And then the lights when on, I got shivers, I was in awe, John measuring the temple could be an echo of the measuring in Zechariah. Did it also imply an echo of the promise? Would the Temple of God "be so full of people that it won't have room enough for everyone!" It was a moment of wonder and discovery, one that I wouldn't have found reading strait through the Bible in the traditional fashion. if you're looking to read through the Bible, I'd recoment the One Year Bible. There is also a Two Year Bible available.

In the interest of full disclosure it took me about 4 years to work through the One Year Bible. So there you go, I'm about 25% effective at doing daily Bible reading.


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