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Showing posts with the label #Literacy

Summaries of the New Testament’s books.

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Did the summaries of the Old Testament’s books, so it’s time I summarized the New Testament’s books too.Gospels.The gospels, I should point out, aren’t Jesus-biographies. They only focus on his ministry: Proclaiming God’s kingdom has come, and he’s its king; teaching us how we’re to live in his kingdom, starting now; and his death and resurrection.Because people think of gospels as Jesus-biographies, they regularly miss the fact Acts is also a gospel: It likewise proclaims God’s kingdom has come, with Jesus its king; how we’re to live, with examples from the apostles’ behavior; and the aftermath of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Acts was written as a sequel to Luke, and arguably they oughta be read together as one giant two-part book. Still, people’s confusion means a lot of New Testament booklists have Acts in its own standalone category of “history.”GOSPEL, ACCORDING TO MATTHEW. A gospel of Christ Jesus, written particularly for a Jewish audience. Hence all its Old Testament quotes…

Summaries of the Old Testament’s books.

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It’s nice to have the book order memorized, but it’s far more useful to know what’s in the books. So here’s a brief summary of each book of the Old Testament.Books of Moses.GENESIS. These are the formation stories of the earth and the Hebrew people.Creation.Adam and Eve and humanity’s fall.Noah ben Lamech, and humanity wiped out by floods.Babel, and humanity’s scattering.Avram ben Terah, or Abraham the Hebrew; his relationship with God, and his relocation to Canaan.Jacob ben Isaac, or Israel; his relationship with God, and the creation of his large family—the ancestors of the 13 tribes.Joseph ben Jacob, or as the Egyptians called him, Chafnat-pahaneakh; how he went from slavery to become Egypt’s vizier, and his brothers’ relocation to Egypt.EXODUS. Primarily it’s about the Exodus—how the Hebrew descendants of Israel became a nation, became enslaved by Egypt, and had to be saved by the LORD himself. It tells how the LORD did that, through 10 plagues of judgment upon Egypt. It introduce…

The books in your bible.

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The bible’s an anthology, a collection of books and letters about God. (We tend to call ’em “books” either way.) There are two major divisions: The Old Testament, and the New Testament.The Old Testament is the book collection assembled by the ancient Hebrews. For the most part they were written in two variants of ancient Hebrew: Early Biblical Hebrew, which is what the “books of Moses” and the Deuteronomistic history and the Prophets was written in; and Late Biblical Hebrew, which much of the rest was written in. Late Biblical Hebrew has some heavy influences from Aramaic, the language which had replaced Hebrew by 500BC, which was around the time the last of the OT was written.The apocrypha isn’t actually one of those major divisions. They’re the books which were added to the OT when it was translated into Greek in the 400s BC. These Greek bibles, which get called the Septuagint, were considered the bible by the early Christians, so the additional books were part of their Old Testamen…

Put some bible in your brain!

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There are certain bits of bible which need to be embedded in a Christian’s brain. Need to be.No, this isn’t a requirement before God can save you. But it’s extremely useful to be able to quote various verses and passages which remind us of God’s love and grace and goodness, of Jesus’s teachings and commands, of the thinking behind God’s acts and our beliefs, and of promises, encouragements, and expectations. We need to put some verses into our memories.So here’s how we get started.Lots of Christians insist there are particular verses every one of us ought have memorized, like the Lord’s Prayer, or “the Lord’s my shepherd,”John 3.16, or Romans 6.23, or Romans 10.9. (People tend to refer to verses by their addresses. That’s sorta annoying for those of us who mix addresses up. I’m one of them, by the way.)No, I’m not going to go through the entire list of Christians’ favorite memory verses right now. I’ll bring one or another up from time to time. If you’ve been praying the Lord’s Prayer…

A gospels synopsis.

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Our word “synopsis” usually means a brief summary or overview, but when we get into biblical studies a synopsis is a comparison of two different parts of the bible which overlap. Like Psalms 14 and 53. Or David and the census in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21. Or the story of Ahab and Micaiah in 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 18. Or Hezekiah and the sundial in 1 Kings 20 and Isaiah 38.Or, naturally, to compare the gospels.Christians have been comparing ’em ever since they were first written. Sometimes to see if we can fit them all together, like Tatian of Assyria did with his Diatessaron, or A.T. Robertson’s Harmony of the Gospels. Thing is, when you combine then into one narrative, you gotta remove parts of the other gospels—and change their order, their structure, and various things which their authors deliberately put in there. You also lose a bit of the three-dimensional picture of Jesus they provide.It’s why I prefer a gospel synopsis: We compare the stories, but don’t remove anyth…

Apocrypha: The “extra books” your bible may lack.

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APOCRYPHONə'pɑk.rə.fɔnnoun (pluralapocryphaə'pɑk.rə.fə). Writing or book not considered part of the accepted canon of scripture.2. Story of doubtful authenticity.3. Story that’s obscure or little-known.[Apocryphal əˈpɑkrəfəladjective.]One of my favorite stunts with new Christians used to be, “Turn in your bibles to the book of Wisdom, chapter 4.”Well, they’d try. They’d flip around their bibles, then give up and look at the table of contents… then realize the book wasn’t in there. “Well it’s in my bible,” I’d tell ’em, and hold it up to show them, confusing them all the more. ’Cause my bible included apocrypha.“Oh, you mean a Catholic bible,” you might be thinking. Nope; it’s a Protestant bible. Some Protestant bibles have apocrypha. I own two others.I can’t pull this stunt anymore, ’cause nowadays people look up the bible on their phones or bible apps. Hence they can sometimes find Wisdom in there. Spoils my little joke. Oh well.But I did this joke on purpose: I wanted to int…

Do you know your bible quotes?

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Generally if you’re gonna call yourself biblically literate, you oughta at least know these quotes from the bible. Probably already do; you just didn’t realize they were from the bible.ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. Or “come short” in the KJV. Comes from Romans 3.23; means nobody measures up to God’s standard of perfection, but God graciously forgives us and grants eternal life. Ro 6.23ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE. Or “all men” (KJV): Paul’s claim he adapted his circumstances so he can find common ground with everyone, and share Christ with them. 1Co 9.22 Y’know, “when in Rome.” Certain Christians are quick to point out Paul didn’t compromise his beliefs or behavior in so doing.ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD. In context, “to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Ro 8.28 Various Christians pull it out of context and claim everything always turns out for the best. I remind ’em to read Ecclesiastes sometime.ALL WE, LIKE SHEEP, HAVE GONE…

The bible, in chronological order. More or less.

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Some of TXAB’s readers intend to read the bible in a month—or in four weeks, anyway—and have expressed curiosity about reading the bible in chronological order. It’s not enough that the beginning of the world comes first in Genesis, and the end of the world last in Revelation: They want everything sorted out by date.Okay, fine.But I will point out this order is debatable. ’Cause of course it is. Since when aren’t Christians gonna debate about who came first, Job or Abraham? Or which letter did Paul write first 1 Thessalonians or Galatians? (My money’s on Galatians. But still.)So here, for your convenience, is the bible in chronological order. Print it out and check ’em off as you read ’em.