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"Famous Heroes and Warriors"

Preface

I’ve read the Bible a lot over the years. But I’ve never just sat down and read it through from beginning to end. And honestly most of my thoughts about what I’ve read have been shaped by something outside of the text itself. And I’ve often wondered, if I could remove every association I have with the Bible, and experience the text fresh, what would I think of it? As impossible as that is, that’s what I’d like to try.

While teaching reading, I sometimes ask my students to read a given text and then simply to “respond” to that text, first verbally to a partner or group, and then in writing. I ask them to write informally about anything they thought about or were reminded of as they read, or any questions they had. And that is exactly what I plan to do, simply document my experience reading and my response to what I have read. This will be no great explication. No preaching or teaching here. Just my experience. And so my goal for this summer is to read the Bible from beginning to end and write about it. Please feel free to join me by reading along and picking it up or putting it down wherever you like.

And a note on the translation: This is a big deal to some people; others don’t care. Ninety nine percent of my Bible reading has been in the New International Version (NIV). For this reading, I wanted to try a new version in another attempt to shed all previous associations. I looked on Amazon.com and picked out a New American Standard version. It was gonna cost about thirty bucks that I didn’t want to spend. So I picked up a paperback pew Bible from our little church in Circle. This copy happens to be a Contemporary English Version. I did a little research and some comparison, and it looks good to me for my current purpose.

When I told Stephanie what version I was using, she expressed some sincere concern about my choice, thinking that it was, perhaps, of the devil. I assured her that reading this version wouldn’t condemn me for eternity. There may be others of you who share her concern and worry about my eternal salvation. If that’s the case, I don’t want to hear about it. I would, however, like to know if you are reading along, and about your thoughts along the way. So without further ado...

Gen. 1:1 – 9:17

These are familiar stories. Good stories. Creation. Adam and Eve. The Fall. Cain killing Abel. Noah and the flood. Good stories.

Cain was a farmer who gave God an offering of part of his harvest. Why was God unhappy with Cain’s offering? It doesn’t say. I’ve heard various theories, but the fact is, it doesn’t say. I understand that the focus of the story is more about Cain’s inappropriate response, but still, why was God displeased?

I really like the name Tubal Cain (4:22). It is a cool sounding name. It could be the name of a heart-throb rock star.

In Gen. 6, there is a splash of something reminiscent of Greek mythology: supernatural beings like angels or some such who intermarried with mortals and had half-breed offspring who became famous heroes and warriors. Interesting. Odd but interesting.

Everyone remembers that Noah sent out a dove to look for dry land during the flood. But the first bird that Noah sent out was a raven. Being in Alaska, I’ve come to know both ravens and much of the Native creation mythology involving Raven, a kind of trickster creator god. That bird gets around. And apparently everyone on the earth was a vegetarian until after the flood. After the flood, God told Noah that from then on people could eat animals for food in addition to the green plants that they’ve always eaten.

Most of these stories have the sound of mythology, or of “just so” stories. Early explanations of how people came to be, about a worldwide flood, where rainbows come from, how different languages came to be. It sounds like the “thunder is just God bowling” stories I heard as a kid. This isn’t a criticism or an expression of doubt, but just an observation.

Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 at 02:32PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

I am up to Chapter 37 (NIV), and if I didn't believe this book as an inspired word of God written by ordinary people, I would begin (actualy I do) wonder what is God trying to tell me? Deceit by Jacob to steal Esau's birth right, and indirectly approved by God? Lot's daughters getting their father drunk and slept with him? The killing of an entire village/town men after they agreed for peaceful co-existence and to be like the Jews by getting circumcised...
These are events that cannot be taken out of context and hard to understand. So reading on will hopefully help me understand and shed the light.
May 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDad

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