The Bible as an Enjoyable Reading Experience

The Bible as an enjoyable reading experience — does that sound wonderful to you? Or maybe even ‘unimaginable?’ Watch this video:

Bibliotheca Kickstarter from Good. Honest. on Vimeo.

I’m not enthusiastic about doing so much work on the reading experience while using an older translation. The ASV, for example, predates the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Still, it’s much better than the KJV, and the archaic word forms are being eliminated, so it’s not bad.

What do you think? Should the Bible be enjoyable to read, as well as practical to study?

(I was originally alerted to this project by Jason Morehead, via Tim Chailles.)

Biblish (or: Reading the Old Testament in Light of the New)

Because the King James Bible had (has had?) such a long run in our society, its language has changed. Well, of course, its language hasn’t changed at all, but colloquial English has changed around it. Four hundred years ago, the KJV was colloquial English. Today, it is often a weird-sounding archaic English, full of thees and thous and saiths that some call “Biblish.”

It turns out there’s precedent for that.   Continue reading →

Blue in the Bible

Did you know the Bible has no word for blue? It’s true!

Well, sort of. There are actually 49 occurrences of “blue” in my Bible. Most of them are like this one, from Exodus, which describes the clothes worn by the priests:

they should use gold, blue, purple, and deep red yarns and fine linen.

The problem with this is that the word for “blue” might mean something else. How do you know what color something is? It can be pretty tricky, unless there’s something in the text to give you a hint. Continue reading →

Acts 10 Study Questions

(Pastor Luke will preach from Acts 10 on Sunday, May 13. These questions may be useful if you’d like to study that passage in depth. You may also download the questions in printable form.)

1. Have you ever been at a wedding a wedding where someone objected to the union? Was the objection wise? Was the wedding?

2. Readers of Acts focus on the “exciting” gifts of the Spirit (strange tongues, healing, etc.). Read 1 Corinthians 13 and summarize it.

3. Peter’s group discerns the Spirit at work in Cornelius’ group (v. 46) from their own earlier experience. Read about that in Acts 2: 4. How are these experiences similar? How are they different?

4. In what ways has God been active in your life? How are those ways helpful in seeing the Holy Spirit at work in others?

5. When Peter asked about withholding the water of baptism (v. 47), no one objected. But they did object later, as describe in Acts 11: 1–2 and again in Acts 15: 1–5. Why does this issue keep coming up?

6. Read Deuteronomy 10: 12–19. How would you describe the tension between v. 15 and vv. 17–19? How does it relate to the events in Acts?

7. The circumcised believers were “astounded” that the Holy Spirit would fall even on Gentiles (v. 45). Why?

8. When has God acted in a way that “astounded” you?

9. Who (other than yourself) would it surprise you to see God blessing and working in their life? Why?

Where’s the App for That?

Jon Acuff is always asking the important questions. Today he wants to know where you put the Bible app on your smart phone.

The Puritans used to judge how holy someone was (or, technically, whether they were numbered among the elect) by how successful they were in the world. (A doctrine fraught with peril. Consider Paul, or Jesus.)

Acuff suggests that today’s puritans are able to discern someone’s holiness level by a glance at their smart phone. I took the test myself, and sadly, I don’t qualify for the “Super Holy/Pastor” level. My Bible apps are all in a folder, which is only slightly better than not having them at all.

Study Questions for Luke 24

(Pastor Luke will preach from Luke 24 on Sunday, April 22. These questions may be useful if you’d like to study that passage in more depth. You may also download them in printable form.)

1. Have you ever given testimony in a trial or served on a jury? How would you describe the job of a witness?

2. Compare Luke 24:36–53 to Acts 1:1–8 (the end of Vol. 1 and the start of Vol. 2). How are they alike? —how are they different?

3. Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life, hosting its annual festivals and the Temple. How is that central role different from the program Jesus describes (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8) to his disciples?

4. What does Jesus say or do to assure his disciples he really is the one who died, and is now raised? —that he is not just a phantasm?

5. How many times in vv. 36–43 are words used that refer to seeing? How important is seeing in the disciples’ mission? Why?

6. Why does Jesus explain how he is revealed in the Scriptures? What does he do to make it possible?

7. What three things does Jesus reveal in the Scriptures? Which of them has Jesus already accomplished? What is left to be done? What is our role in that work?

8. What does Jesus mean by “all things” (v. 48)? How does it shape the work of a “witness?” (Compare w/ your answer to question 5.)

You Have an Amazing Library

How many theological books do you have access to? (Count the Bible, by all means.)

When they did their work, the great theologians of the past—people like Augustine and Thomas—had access to libraries of a few hundred or perhaps a thousand manuscripts.

Well, you have access to the brand-new Theological Commons at Princeton Theological Seminary, a free library of more than 50 thousand books on theology and religion. From the website:

The Theological Commons is a digital initiative of the Princeton Theological Seminary Library. Begun in 2011, its purpose is to improve access to the digital and non-digital material held in the Library and, in particular, to bring Princeton Seminary’s digital collections together in a single more convenient framework, making searching and viewing of those collections easier and quicker.

In the women’s Bible study today, I mentioned the Geneva Bible and how King James didn’t like it because it wasn’t especially royalty-friendly. But don’t take my word for it. Look for yourself at the footnote to Exodus 1:19 we talked about, from the Theological Commons site. (If you have trouble with that link, come in the front door and search for the Geneva Bible, then navigate to page 43.)