Genesis 1 (What’s it like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?)

Trust God’s Word. Trust God’s Word not because it says so, but because it says so and because it welcomes any and all skepticism with a voracious appetite.

I’m a few chapters into Genesis already but I’ve been finding it difficult to write about what I’ve already read. I had read Genesis 1 and actually had a huge piece written up but it wasn’t really what I wanted it to be. I went real long and in-depth about the importance of the first verse, about cosmologies, creation and evolution, and about approaching Genesis from another angle (which has produced some novel ideas from others). It didn’t feel right, though.

If I’m going to write about reading the bible, I don’t want to get caught up in detailed explanations, theories, wild-goose chases or other tangents. I really want to show readers the best parts, the parts that most show the bible as the solid truth that it is and that most reflect glory upon God.

So let me just get this whole ball rolling…

  1. Genesis 1:1 Is there any more simple, pragmatic way the book could open than this? “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It’s the perfect introduction to history. There was a beginning to all of this and God was there creating all of it and us.
  2. Origins of the Universe. Look up Russel Humphreys and read up on Starlight and Time. His theory may not stand the test of time but others will take inspiration from his novel approach to the text of Genesis 1.
  3. Creation/Evolution. It may seem to you like there’s no evidence for creation. Mainstream media will rarely report anything to do with creationism, less still in a flattering light, so how would we know? It’s up to every believer to be familiar with the massive field of creationism. Many thousands of believers have spent their lives understanding the Genesis account of creation and going about showing that it is true. Answers in Genesis is an organization which I find provides solid, well-reasoned, rational answers to many of the questions we have about what mainstream science is telling us and what the bible is telling us. Their Get Answers section may help you if you, like many, ask why a biblical creation even matters.
  4. God created you and I, male and female, to have not only amazing relationships with each other, but to know our creator personally. God wants to know you and He wants you to know Him. You just wait. You’re going to learn incredible details about the character of God just by reading His Word.

The bible is jam-packed with goodness but I feel I would detract from it by writing too much so I’ll stop here and give you these points and links to ponder. Let me just say one more thing that came up just now.

As we begin reading the bible I do want to give you one bit of advice. Google is your friend. Wikipedia is your friend. Firefox is your friend. Googlepedia is your friend. Neither of these things has a Christian bent. In fact, Wikipedia can easily lead a weak Christian astray. But let me tell you what just happened while I googled the wiki article for Answers in Genesis, where I knew I was likely to find not only positive views but also criticisms.

What I found was a very unflattering portion of the wiki article entitled Controversy over interview with Richard Dawkins. It painted a very unsavoury picture of Answers in Genesis. Had I stopped right there, I would probably have dismissed Answers in Genesis forever after. But you know there’s always two sides to a story. And you know you have a brain forĀ  a reason. So I went to the Answers in Genesis website and searched for “dawkins response” and their own search results gave me Skeptics choke on Frog, a response to critics about the controversy of the interview.

I hope the lesson is clear. You really need to have more than one side of a story before you can form your own positions.

What’s it like to read the entire bible?

What’s it like to read the entire bible? It is like sight to a once blind man.

It is like sight to a once blind man.

I have read the bible twice. Once with a side-by-side King James version and Amplified version, and once again with a Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Think you can’t commit to reading the entire bible? You might surprise yourself. Hey, I did it reading 4 pages per day. How much of a slacker am I?? But I did it. :)

Modern Christianity focuses on the Bible’s New Testament. Christianity’s history is in this section so, naturally, a lot of focus is put there. The Old Testament, on the other hand, is like hidden treasure. You will never fully appreciate what Christ did for you on the cross until you have read the OT. I really hope you consider reading the bible cover to cover.

When I was going through the bible, I didn’t commit to prayer before or after reading a particular section. I often found, though, that a given portion was so heart-rending, or so convicting, or so enlightening, or so beautiful, that I was compelled to give praise to God or to ask forgiveness or to ask for help – just from reading words on a page.

One thing you’ll begin to understand is what other Christians have recited time and again from scripture, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Words on a page, indeed.

I started this blog with a purpose in mind. It wasn’t to run off at the mouth about my fancies (although I reserve the right to do so!). Instead, it has been my purpose for some time to get myself back into the Word and to blog as I read my way through the bible again. Firstly, I think it will help me get back into the bible as I combine my faith side with my tech side. Secondly, I hope others read along with me and let me know what they think of what they’re reading (and I hope they kick my butt when I slack off).

So, I hope to begin a series of posts that will see us begin with Genesis and read through til Revelation. I’m still thinking of how to structure a post so there’s something constructive to read and to respond to.

Whatever happens, I know I’ll be delighted to be reading things I’ve forgotten, I’ll be learning new things, and hopefully I’ll be shedding new light for others as we go through.

So, what’s it really like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Create in Me a Clean Heart is a song by Keith Green. I’ve always loved this song. It’s based off of Psalms 51:10-12. Here are the basic lyrics:

Create in me a clean heart, Oh God,
And renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away
From thy presence, oh Lord.
Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me.

I liked it so much I wanted more to sing so I looked at the surrounding verses and used Psalms 51:13-17 in addition. Here’s the additional lyrics:

I will teach your ways
To see sinners come home.
Free me from blood-guilt, oh God.
Restore unto me, thou God of my salvation,
And I’ll sing of thy good and thy right.

Open thou my lips.
I will shew forth thy praise.
Thou desires not the things man has made,
But you, oh Lord, smile upon the broken hearted.
So renew a right spirit within me.

I don’t consider this final form. I’m irked by the “Thou desires” flow but the meaning will remain no matter what the words are. If you have any suggestions let me know.

Here are the guitar chords.

You may be interested to know that some translations indicate this particular Psalm was “To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bathsheba.”

Selah. Pause, and calmly think on that.

You may be wandering what’s up with my site name and what’s up with the tagline. Well, here’s some details while I test out this WordPress QuickPress feature…

Selah is a word used in the bible in the book of Psalms. It’s often used as an interjection between significant portions of songs. It’s used many times.

The “Pause, and calmly think on that.” comes from bracketed text following every occurence of “Selah” in the Amplified translation of the bible. Here’s an example:

O you sons of men, how long will you turn my honor and glory into shame? How long will you love vanity and futility and seek after lies? Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
Psalms 4:2

The word and the Amplified idea of its meaning have always closely aligned with the way that I think. I really like the flow and texture of the word and phrase and so there you have it.

Selah.

When I fail you, remember I wrote this to you.

When I fail you, remember I wrote this to you.

In my writing, you will find lots of authoritative language. For those amicable to my style and rationale, you may find my writing or even myself worthy of putting up on a pedestal. Yes, I sound incredibly arrogant, don’t I? But if I had never said this, and went on and on with thoughts and ideas attractive to some, the day I fall or some grave wrong is found in me, will those people not be hurt for the worse?

James MacDonald is a man I admire quite a bit. He’s a well known and well liked preacher. He reads and understands the Word largely as I would want someone in that position to read it. He expounds upon it in a manner that I can understand. Many of my thoughts have been influenced by his teaching.

A while ago a friend let me know James bought a two-million dollar house. I don’t know all the details. I tried to defend him. I googled around for the “real” story. Maybe he bought it during that period when all houses were way over-valued? While googling around I found a criticism directed towards James that went something like this:

It doesn’t matter if he used his own money. It doesn’t matter if everything is above board. The fact of the matter is he bought a luxury item far out of the reach of the majority of those who look up to him. What is the message he’s sending?

That was maybe half a year to a year ago. It’s still on my mind. That was a day James MacDonald failed me.

The only man who ever lived who can be held up without fear of failing you and I is Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who He sent as a sacrifice for the forgiveness our sins once and for all. Jesus lived a perfect life and gave up his perfect life willingly for us.

So, if it’s me, president Obama, some sports, music or movie star, keep in mind no man or woman will ever remain unstained in this life.

When I fail you, remember I wrote this to you. Look back in my writings and find solace in my transparency and sincerity. Fallible humans have been tasked with an infallible message.

I will fall, but know that which I speak of will not.

Why I don’t categorize my posts

So let this be another key about my blog. I will not neatly put posts in boxes that can easily be separated one from another because, like life, faith should permeate all that we are and do.

I’m new at this but as far as my own blog goes I don’t think I’ll be categorizing my posts.

Followers of all religions around the world have a common ideal of living the teachings of their faith. Christians are often criticized for compartmentalizing their faith. Sunday is for church, monday is for work. Church is for spirituality. Work is for earning money. And neither the twain shall meet.

So let this be another key about my blog. I will not neatly put posts in boxes that can easily be separated one from another because, like life, faith should permeate all that we are and do.

Let this be a factor of my blog, something to remind me and others who may ask, that categorizing our lives can all too easily close doors of relationships and hurt our ability to reach those in need.

But, remember, I’m new to blogging and not categorizing my posts isn’t something to be canonized into doctrine. Forgive me if I ever renege and remember, also, that holding too firmly to a system or belief, one not worth dying for, may actually hurt you or others.

Pick Fretz’s Brain

My good friend Jamie, over at Pick Fretz’s Brain, deserves a shout out.

My good friend Jamie, over at Pick Fretz’s Brain, deserves a shout out. He’s attending Emmanuel Bible College and I’ve seen a really significant and impressive change in him since he’s been there these past two years. From a small town boy with small town views, he’s really taking it all in and growing his intellect, growing in his walk with Christ (even admidst the struggles that all of us face), and growing the basis of his belief.

I had the thought of starting a blog to follow and help my bible reading (my lack of bible reading) and it wasn’t until I saw Jamie’s blog that I took the jump.

So props Fretz, you are an influential man! Keep your stick on the ice!

Welcome to Selah.ca

And when we know the truth I think we will see that God is given all the glory because He has done something more incredible and more beautiful than we could have ever thought possible.

This is the second post of my blog and I want to highlight the importance of the first.

The first post in this blog is special. It’s a dedication of sorts. None of my own words are in that post and its purpose is to glorify God and to publish again how His Son taught us to live. It sets the tone that will remain the background to all that follows and, ever and anon, the foreground.

I consider myself a conservative, fundamental Christian but the posts to follow will, without doubt, attract resentment, anger, correction, arguments, and all manner of backlash, from those who also think themselves conservative and even from those whom the former would call liberal.

Regardless, know always that I want the truth.

In days past, I put myself in the world’s line of fire saying to myself that if God’s Word is worth believing than God’s Word will prove itself. In many places I accepted the heat of the skepticism about the bible. I went looking for answers and consistently found rational satisfaction in the answers I uncovered and was able to respond with.

I learned a number of things through all of this:

  • I learned God loves all of us
  • I learned I can read my bible and google anything of concern to me or someone else
  • I learned I can find someone else who has had the same question and has published answers or references someone else who has
  • I learned the Bible can stand up for itself and stand up to intense analysis and criticism and does so with grace and compassion
  • I learned we have built up a religion, rules, and rituals, where there is no need for any
  • I learned we have done this because God is beyond full understanding and we have tried to understand him on our own terms and within our own limits
  • I learned God loves all of us even when we put Him on trial
  • I learned God is amazing beyond all words, poems, songs, theories and philosophies
  • I learned that to consider what God has begun with us, His unending, unerring, unrelenting story through us, and His plan to redeem each of us to Himself, us who didn’t deserve at all – I learned that to consider all of this is to know that you have not even begun to know Him.
  • I learned God loves all of us in spite of everything we have done to spurn Him
  • I learned, therefore, to approach Him as a child, discovering all things as new.

So, as God wills for all that may follow, know that if what I say is controversial, outlandish, outrageous or heretical, I want only the truth.

I want the truth.

I want to glorify God.

I want to show you the bible that declares itself without error.

I want the truth.

And when we know the truth I think we will see that God is given all the glory because He has done something more incredible and more beautiful than we could have ever thought possible.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God / And His righteousness, / And all these things shall be added unto you, / Allelu, alleluia.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness,
And all these things shall be added unto you,
Allelu, alleluia.

Man shall not live by bread alone,
But by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of God,
Allelu, alleluia.

Ask, and it shall be given unto you.
Seek, and ye shall find.
Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you.
Allelu, alleluia.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness,
And all these things shall be added unto you,
Allelu, alleluia.

Update 2010-12-24: It appears the translation, used in the title, is in question. Apparently, most new translations say something like “good will toward those with whom He is pleased.”