Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And there it is

So I've embarked on a 90 day bible plan, and recently finished What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. So far on the former, I'm through Genesis (again) and am now reading the awful parts of Exodus where I learn how many cubits to make the ark of the covenant. At this point, God's not a very kind God. "Yeah, the Egyptians would let you go, but I'll harden Pharaoh's heart so I get to kill all the firstborn in Egypt."

Yancey mentions that God seems so much happier in the NT. I'm curious to see if it's a gradual increase in happiness, or if it's a jump once we get to the NT. I wonder if there's not an allegory here for parenting.


  1. My best suggestions for aid in your reading plan:

    1) I wouldn't read cover to cover. Mix it up. Read some of the shorter books after longer books. It helped me quite a bit, and simply put, the Bible is not 'a' book, nor should it be read as one, anyway. It can be very deceptive to read it as one narrative.

    2) Pick up one intro OT book and one intro NT book. More scholarly work might not sound like fun (says one grad student to another), but I guarantee it will help a ton in getting more from the narratives. I'd be happy to suggest a couple. They will help a lot in giving context and interpretive aid to the various books. Sometimes even the boring parts can be made interesting with cultural context. Ok... maybe not the cubit parts.

    It is a common Christian claim that the God of the OT is wrathful/unhappy while the God of the NT is merciful/happy. I generally suspect antisemitism (even unintended) in such claims. That is not to say that God (as character) can do some extraordinarily wrathful things in the OT. Still God is just as ambiguous in the NT (look at Revelation, for example, or even some places in the epistles of John, or the Gospel of Matthew). It might also be interesting to note that much of the OT was written during (or in the wake of) exile or foreign rule, so a lot of it wrestles with why God had "allowed" such "punishment." The results of that wrestling can be very different (from Job's putting God on trial to Ezekiel's wrathful God), with some options clearly better than others.

    Anyways, I look forward to your Biblical journey, Ryan! Keep me posted. :)

  2. Ha. Should have known my illustrious partner would beat me to the advice... The cubits & food regulations & census accountings of the early OT, they are a long and ugly desert that I have never managed to get through without some breaks in between for Psalms, or trashy sci-fi, depending on mood. ;)

    But seriously, enjoy the ride! :) Also, I am enjoying you two's blog. (apologies if that is mispunctuated, my inner editor has apparently fallen asleep.)

  3. 1) I am mixing it up some. I have a Psalms and Probverbs reading list as well as a year long reading list going, which jumps around. So I'm not just inundated by awful boringness punctuated with occasional insight.

    2) I would enjoy a couple suggestions, but I make no promise of getting to it anytime in the next 10 months.

    Margaret - I'm with you on the trashy sci-fi. Though for me it's been H.P. Lovecraft, which is the least scary horror ever, but is still fun. And dramatic (like something else I'm reading...)