Category Archives: Bible Reading

REPORT: YOUR/MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE

Thanks to all of you who were a part of this unscientific, but still revealing poll.

Here is the previous post with all your votes. Below it is the wrap up and a few reflections.

YOUR/MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE

Number of people who participated: 46

Top four books listed:

First place: Psalms received 34 votes

Second place: Genesis received 33 votes

Third place: John received 31 votes

Fourth place: Romans received 27 votes

(Over twenty of you listed all three of the top three books: Genesis, Psalms, and John)

Number of books in the Bible included on someone’s list: 56/66

32/39 in OT (missing I Chron., Ezra, Joel, Obadiah, Nahum, Haggai, and Malachi)

24/27 in NT (missing II Thess., II and III John)

Most surprising book(s) picked: Tie with Numbers and Zephaniah (But it took two professors to include these books!)

Books picked only one time:

Numbers

II Chronicles (Mrs. Moore)

Lamentations (Only picked by yours truly and I am lamenting that fact!)

Hosea

Amos

Micah

Zephaniah

Zechariah

Titus

Jude

“Brother from another mother” vote: Mark Meynell (a writer and teacher in the UK) was the only other one besides yours truly to include both Ecclesiastes and Habakkuk on his list. May his tribe increase!

Most surprising book(s) not picked: For me, there were no real surprises. I did not expect Nahum or III John to make anyone’s list.

It is a good reminder that the entire Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit but that does not mean that every book of the Bible is equally important/relevant.

And yet, it should be said that there are gems everywhere in Scripture so reading through the whole of the Bible is indispensable for knowing where these may be found.

Some other reflections:

This exercise confirmed to me that a “Reading the Bible Fast and Slow” method is a good one. See my description of that method here: 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/scot-mcknight/2020/january/reading-bible-fast-and-slow.html

I am more convinced than ever that solid growth as a Christian comes from sustained engagement and unhurried reflection on the totality of Scripture.

Having written a commentary on Ecclesiastes I was thrilled by how many put It on their list: fifteen of us!

Another encouragement was seeing how many put I and II Samuel on their lists. These and I and II Kings almost made my own list. Recent meditation on them convinced me even more that they have much to offer.

 

YOUR/MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE

I am curious to know the ten, or at most twelve books of the Bible that have made the biggest impact on you. 

Two on my list, and no surprise to many of you, are Ecclesiastes and Habakkuk. I have published a commentary on the former and am hoping to do so with the latter.

My other ten would be: Genesis, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Jonah, John, Acts, and Colossians.

What about you? I would love to know.

I am a big advocate of constantly reading the totality of Scripture, but God moves us in a variety of ways, and some books of the Bible make a bigger impact on us.

Give me your own list.

Only rule is no more than twelve.

 

BART EHRMAN

Bart Ehrman on opening day of class at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
Okay, hands up…
How many of you believe the Bible is the Word of God? 
Many hands go up
How many of you believe God actually wrote a book?
Still many hands go up
How many of you have read the Bible from beginning to end?
Most hands go down
I’m not telling you the Bible is the Word of God.  You are, so don’t you think you ought to be reading it if you think it is the Word of God!

NOT BEING AN IDOLATER…A BIG DEAL WITH GOD

In I Kings 9:4 God says how Solomon will be blessed if he follows his father David’s example.  You mean, the adulterer and murderer?  Yes, says God.  He had integrity.  Huh?!  The clue seems to be in I Kings 9, verses 6 and 9 in that David was never an idolater.  Job makes much of not being an idolater as well (see Job 6:10). That carries lots of weight with God!

STILL NOT WILD AT HEART

The largely disembodied, behavioristic models of sanctification need to be shown a better way. I am troubled and have written a bit (book reviews of Wild at Heart, Prayer of Jabez, and a “men’s” book) on the silly and superficial models that are all too easy to criticize. Several men I know who raved about the life-changing nature of Wild at Heart boot camps and Promise Keepers remain immature as Paul said “in their thinking.”

Historic Christianity has the resources to offer compelling models that address the whole person. My fear is that pastors and other Christian leaders are increasingly ignorant of the riches that largely remain buried.

 

JOHN LOCKE OR JOHN CALVIN?

A friend asked about the individual in Christianity. Here is what I dashed off:

It is a big topic of course so here is where I typically begin. We now live on the other side of the Enlightenment. It sought to make the self sovereign.

The “self as individual” idea emerges which is a novel one for understanding personhood.

Westerners now look at the Bible through a lens that over privileges the individual (literally undivided one).

Yes, every single person is precious, a sinner, and in need of redemption, but groups and various associations are talked about a lot in the Bible. Groups of people are talked about both favorably and unfavorably. In those groups when one sins (Achan at Ai) all suffer.

Yes, there is still individual accountability per Ez 18, but nations will also be judged. Americans do not have a great way to understand all this other than those who believe large sections of the Old Testament no longer applies to Christians.

I’m afraid our exegesis is at times more beholden to John Locke than John Calvin!