June 6, 2011

The Bible - Part 1

I should start by saying that I’ve never read the Bible outside of a church service. This is all new territory for me. I’m going to be honest about what I read and how I feel, and I hope that you will keep in mind that this is just my humble opinion. I know the Bible can be a touchy subject, and I want to make sure we all stay friends.

I’ve just finished the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. That includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. To save a lot of space and a few brain cells, I’m not really going to do a summary of the Bible. It’s a lot of material. Suffice it to say that we covered creation, the first family, the plagues, and leaving Egypt. We don’t quite make the promise land in this section.

There is a lot of incest in the early part of the Bible! I was rather shocked. And then there was Lot, who tried to throw his daughters out the door for the men to rape at Sodom (just as a distraction). Some pretty strange things. It does seem to settle down some once you get out of Egypt.

Mostly I’ve been interested in how a lot of the material is administrative. There are all the commandments, which includes a lot more than the basic ten. There are rules for cleanliness and legal issues, divorce, rape, wills, the works. Listed here is everything that a new society might need to govern itself. To me that was amazing. I never thought of the Bible as being so literal a book of law. It was also kind of cool to see the things that they thought were really important and how they treated cleanliness and all manner of human secretions.

I am a little disturbed by the extremity of this Old Testament God. He either really loves you or really hates you. I believe in a loving, supportive God, who loves you no matter what. The idea of God instructing Israel to show no mercy to the people whose land they are taking was hard for me to reconcile. He actually tells them to kill every man, woman, and child. I can deal with war, and I can deal with conquest, but genocide, which is what that is, is never OK. I still don’t really know how to address that from a faith perspective. How could God tell his chosen people to do that but then Jesus’ teachings are very different? Any help on that one is appreciated.

The Bible, especially in the rules part, is not always a page turner, but I am looking forward to reading more. I feel good that I am becoming more informed as a Christian. Plus, there are several extra Jeopardy clues I can answer now.


  1. Okay. Even though I have graduated seminary and taken Old Testament classes I still struggle with some of the things found there. I agree it can be hard to reconcile that God to the loving God we know. The only advice I can really give you is to be glad that we do not live under the Old Covenant. The Old Testament people were governed by an Old Covenant, but Jesus, as you know, brought about the New Covenant for a new people. I admire that you have set out to read and delve into Scripture. To be honest, even with my degree, I do not think I have read the entire book. Awesome for you, and just wait until you get to the Song of Solomon. There is some very interesting stuff in there!!

  2. And really, that's what life is all about--knowing the answers on Jeopardy. Thanks for sharing--I've really been looking forward to this!

  3. Oh--and don't forget my favorite verse! Ezekiel 23:20.

  4. I really like you Jamie, and your take on life & all its bits. I also admire you taking on this task, whew, it's a big, big book with just so much to process. Don't forget Esther, that's my favorite book. It's a sweet love story smack dab in the middle of the B-i-b-l-e. Get's me every time I (re)read it.

  5. jamie, it thrills me to read this post! the Bible is an overwhelming, beautiful book, and i so appreciate your willingness to jump in and let it speak to you! i think the Old Testament gives a perfect set-up for the climax of The Story-- Jesus' birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. the Old Testament demonstrates, as you have articulately written, that God is a holy God, He is a jealous God. His attributes are complete and intertwined. oh, how He loves us and how He hates sin! His wrath and perfect justice could ONLY be satisfied with the blood of Jesus, the perfect sacrificial Lamb. what you have read shows a greater significance to who Jesus was, as fully man and fully God. He was the perfect ransom for the sins of man.
    there are so many wonderful books in the Bible, some easier to read than others. have fun! it is a great accomplishment!


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