Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Bible: In a Year

I was watching the tail end of Copeland on TBN the other day (a Christian show, for the unfamiliar) and the sermon really spoke to me. Ironically, I forgot what was being said (I have been watching a lot of EWTN and TBN shows recently) however the message interested me enough that I looked up his website. There, I clicked around and found a year long bible reading schedual *found here* which I thought was a neat idea. Many of the bloggers on here who posted their bible scheduals for the new year posted a couple of days into the month. For some stupid reason I didn't think I could catch up...and so I waited longer.

This morning I woke up and after watching an episode of the Duggars, I felt a push to start reading asap. Josh & Anna read scripture together every morning, or from what I see on the show, and for a time, I too started my day with God. (For some reason, the laziness kicked in, as did all the other issues I have posted already, and I stopped reading altogether) I also read a young Christian girl's blog who posed the idea of reading just as many times as you eat meals (or any food) because spiritual nourishment is just as important as physical. What a nifty idea eh? Well anyways, long story short, I wrote down the scripture I missed from January 1st to today...the 9th...and boy has it been a long day! haha I had 20 chapters of Genesis in addition to 11 chapters of Matthew. I have only gotten my Genesis accomplished...Matthew is next on the night's agenda. The reason it took me so long was because I wanted to do more than read this time around. I highlighted, meditated, and wrote notes down chapter by chapter. This way I can remember the teachings I am learning.

I was also pondering how lucky I am to have a Bible to read, I shouldn't take it for granted. Why did the RCC make it illegal to print and or read the Bible in the past? I read somewhere that it was illegal to purchase or own a bible until the 1800's in Italy. What the heck? Why? I know they must have feared a misunderstanding of the text from the laity, but the catechism and sound preaching/teaching could solve that. There's been a lot of weird things the RCC and the popes have done throughout the makes me think, how could God have appointed or supported such people and their behavior?

Oh and random question: why does Abraham tell Sarah to tell the kings she is his sister multiple times? He says he feared being killed for being her husband...but it's such a weird part of the story.

That's what's going on here, thanks for reading :)


deltaflute said...

There is a common misconception that the Church has at one point or another discouraged members to read the Bible. This is somewhat true and needs to be fully explained. The Church wishes her people to read the Bible, but also does not wish for misinterpretations. Many times the laity were ill-educated so direction and understanding of the Bible was necessary. Similarly the Church did not want the laity to read bad translations or translations that omitted sections. This can also lead to misinformation. So yes, you could say that the Church told members not to read the Bible, but mostly they meant bad translations.

As for the part about calling his wife his sister. It is because the king seemed to like the guy's wife and the guy didn't want them to get killed. Some parts of the Bible don't make sense (see Balom and his talking donkey). You have to read the Bible less from the standpoint of fact and more from the standpoint of it being an Asop fable, more story with morals. But each book of the Bible should be looked at differently. A good Bible will have an introduction discussing an overview of the history behind the book. It will help you to read differently. Proverbs (a book about wise sayings) should be read and interpreted differently than say Daniel (which is book that is prophetic and built on Jewish mysticism).

Hope that helps.

deltaflute said...

woops mispelling the name is Balaam

My bad.

R.A.~ said...

yeah I figured that was the motive behind it, which I can totally understand. (I think paper was expensive back then too, so the everyday person probably couldn't have afforded a bible anyway) But wasn't it Martin Luther and the reformation that brought about the production of the first bible? (for people to own)

Also, in my own experience in sunday school, and my mom's catholic school experience, the bible was never stressed. I was never instructed to read the bible, my teachers only used work books to teach about the sacraments etc. If God blesses me with children someday, I would never feel comfortable with the education the church gives. (well at least the parish I attend) The bible has given me 90% of my faith & relationship with God and that needs a greater place in the life of a Christian

you've given me a lot of great insight though deltaflute, thanks!

caraboska said...

My understanding is that in the times when it was most actively discouraged, most people were illiterate. It was a power grab, pure and simple. Instead of teaching everyone to read - in the original languages, like any good orthodox Jewish or Muslim family will do starting when the child is about 3 years old - they just told everyone 'You listen to what we tell you, and everything will be OK.' NOT.

Lucy said...

Sorry deltaflute but it is true.I don't know a single Catholic who has a bible.At state school (all Irish state schools are Catholic) my teacher was shocked when she discovered I had and read the bible. I remember being so embarrassed at the attention.We had been doing Catholic catheism when the bible came up and a friend piped up in a loud voice that I read a bible.All conversation stopped and everyone turned to look at me.I was questioned on everything.More recently Catholic friends excitedly told me that they had read a bible.They expressed surprise that the bible did indeed have verses condemning homosexuality.It turned out they had thought that had been made up... ?!

But the Catholic church did threaten to expel people for reading the bible, not that many people could read then.It was a control thing, but Catholics do believe that only a priest or monk should read the bible.In their eyes, the bible is a dangerous thing in the uneducated hands.It was the printer that made bibles easier accessible and it was reading of these bibles that caused the Reformation.Catheism is indeed stressed over the bible.

Concerning Abraham and Sarah, Abraham was a coward.If we look at the bible almost everyone who was honoured by God sinned: David murdered a man to have his wife, Lot offered his daughters to men, Paul hunted Christians and had them killed, Peter denied Jesus, Thomas doubted Jesus &c.. However this is a special thing because it shows that we need Jesus (the Jews could not keep all the laws) and because it is an example that God accepts us no matter what sins we do!

What happened to Balaam I believe to be true.How can we pick some parts of the bible to believe and others to not obey?Anyhow, nothing is impossible for God.

deltaflute said...

Everyone has a story about not being able to read the Bible. It's like everyone has a story about being discriminated against. Sorry, I get really tired of it coming up over and over and over.....

I've never in my life been told not to read the Bible. In fact it has been the opposite. I've been told to read the Bible and by Catholic people. In fact, making the Bible a gift to a Confirmation student or an adult studying Catholicism is really common from my experience. If Catholic people don't read the Bible, it's not because they are discouraged. It's because they just don't. And some children aren't exposed to the Bible during Sunday school because of money issues. Churches aren't rich. It's really hard to buy text books and children's bibles. My mom taught Sunday school and I taught at a Catholic school. Both of us and the programs that we were a part of taught from the Bible. We just couldn't provide a children's Bible to every child.

As for the power play, sure the Church wanted to "control" people. But as I said it was so that bad translations did not lead to heresy. No church is perfect. But I've never heard of people being excommunicated because they read the Bible. And that would be the extreme of it.

Martin Luther did encourage the printing and distribution of the Bible. He also wanted to remove some parts of it like Revelations. The printing of the first Bible, the Gutenburg Bible, was in the 1450s. Martin Luther's nailing of the 95 thesis was 1517. So the printing of the Bible came about before Martin Luther and the "birth" Protestant reformation. Although one could argue that there was some Protestant feelings before the 95 Thesis incident.

And some people like to think that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, the Earth was created in 7 days, and that Balaam really had a donkey who talked to him. But the Catholic church doesn't believe that this is meant to be taken literally and discourages Catholics who read the Bible to take these things literally. Instead, they say to view them as moral fables. Jesus taught in fables or parables. In order to get to the kingdom of heaven, are we required to make a camel go through the eye of a needle? It's not hard to think that other Jews also taught using parables or metaphors. But that's the fundamental difference between how Catholics interpret the Bible and how some Protestants interpret the Bible.

I'm not going to argue with people. If you want to believe that donkey's talk, knock yourself out. But I've never seen a donkey talk so I don't believe that they do or ever have. And don't try to argue with me about it because you won't win and you won't change my mind. Save your breath. Just agree to disagree.