Today I gave a talk at my church called ‘How to Read Your Bible’. Here were my tips:
To go along with that here are some specific resources that I like and recommend for bible reading and study:
- What is the bible? – Rob Bell. Start here. Seriously, read this.
- Introduction to the Old Testament – Christine Hayes, Open Yale. The most helpful, eye-opening thing ever (for me) about the Hebrew bible / Old Testament
- A Walk Through the Bible, – Lesslie Newbigin, excellent short overview of the bible.
- Greg Boyd’s website and sermons are excellent for developing a cruciform hermeneutic and wrestling with the problem of Old Testament violence and New Testament love.
- Surprised by Hope – Tom Wright’s masterful book about what the bible actually teaches about ‘getting saved’ and ‘going to heaven’ and Jesus’ return. A really good start to getting your head around the New Testament
- Bible Study Tools – good for studying original Greek and Hebrew words. (Use the New American Standard Translation. When looking at Scripture, tick the “Strongs Numbers box. Ignore the ads.)
- Biblica – useful study tools from the publishers of the NIV bible. (Click on Bible Study.)
- YouVersion – online and app bible, excellent for reading, nearly every translation, good reading plans for the systematically inclined.
- When looking for something specific in the bible and I don’t know where it is, I find Google is faster and more accurate than any bible website.
A while back Jim LePage and his friend Troy DeShano invited me to take part in the Old & New project illustrating a bunch of bits of the bible. I said, yes. (Obvs.) My piece was posted on 18 April. Hooray! They have also posted an email interview with me where I kind of explain it.
Here are a couple detail shots:
19 April 2012
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A couple of artsy/designy guys, Jim ‘Look at the extra capital letter in my last name’ LePage and Troy ‘I’ve got one too’ DeShano, decided that it is time to bring back art inspired by the bible – they’re right, of course – so they created the Old and New Project. They very kindly asked me to be a contributor. I’m no Michaelangelo, but I drew a picture on my wall anyway. You will be able to see it sometime in the next few weeks. Don’t wait for my scribblings; the site is live now.
14 March 2012
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With apologies to Abigail, David, Jonathan, Maachah, The writer of 2 Samuel and God.
David, are you… you know… with blokes?
No! Why would you think that?
It’s just — I’ve been reading your eulogy for Jonathan, and you kinda say—
It was hyperbole! My best friend just died. It’s okay for me to say nice stuff about him!
People are going to think you’re gay.
I have four wives! How is that gay?
Look, I don’t have time for this. I have to do reigning and stuff.
Jonathan’s love better than the love of women?
It’s just that you said it was. I mean, I know you didn’t have sex with him, but did you like him more than me?
You answered that really quickly.
That’s because it’s true! Do I have to answer at a certain speed for it to be true?
You did spend a lot of time with him.
He was my mate. Of course I did.
So was that better? Drinking wine with Jon boy at the donkey track?
Yes! I mean not better, but—
Because that wasn’t what you were saying the other night when I did that thing!
Abigail, Jonathan was my best friend. That’s all. You are my wife. I love you so much more. And anyway, it’s completely different. Do you want me to change the poem? I’ll change it. It’s not like it rhymes anyway.
No, don’t change it. I’m sorry. I’m just a little sensitive since you married Maachah
That was just a political thing. You know you’re the girl for me.
I love you, David.
I love you too, Abby.
Was Jonathan’s love better than the love of Maachah?
27 August 2011
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It is amazing what you can create using only a few simple tools. I made this video using nothing more than a few young people; an iPhone 4 running the Songify and Mail apps and the video camera; a MacBook running a few apps: iPhoto, Garage Band, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, iMovie; and the worldwide computer network we call the Internet.
You know how some people like to talk about the Mosaic law as being backwards and oppressive? Those people haven’t read the laws of some of the other countries that surrounded Israel. Those people should listen to this Yale lecture by Professor Christine Hayes. For its time, Israelite law was radically progressive.* One quick example: Literal punishment. In one of the other law collections if your bull gored a child to death, your child would be killed. In Israelite law the bull would be killed. Other: If you rape someone, your wife is raped. Israel: If you rape someone, you get to be killed. There are more examples and and other good stuff in the lecture. The previous nine sessions are really good too. The creation stuff is especially fascinating.
*I bet you already knew this, but I didn’t go to seminary, so I’m making up for it on the iPod.