Bible Series Segments 2&3: Promised Land and Prophets

I am taking the second and third installments together simply because I watched them together with one of our congregation’s CLAY (Community Learning About Yahweh) Bible study groups. Now, I certainly appreciate the impossible task of re-telling God’s entire history with humanity in 10 hours of video, yet the producers’ choices are even more curious this time. For example, I would not rank Sampson in the top 50 most significant Biblical characters, yet the time and attention to him was substantial. What about Elijah/Elisha—certainly more important to the New Testament narrative and Judeo-Christian faiths? I hardly think “good theater” explains the matter, for Elijah and Elisha out-pace Sampson in this regard, too, as does Jonah and the big fish and other phenomenal narratives.

Since the Bible is the telling of God’s history with humanity, and God’s decisive act with humanity is Jesus, then the Bible is finally about Jesus. Martin Luther called the Bible the cradle for Jesus. Now the story of Naomi and Ruth nears critical importance.

If you were to name 7 Old Testament stories and 7 New Testament stories that best communicate the Bible, what would your choices be and why?

Pastor Luther


One response

  1. Seven?
    Okay. The first three are in the book of Job. The first is the report about the bar bet between Creator and watcher. This makes me wonder about the relationship between Watcher and Creator. There seems to be less animosity than us humans want to consider. If not Creator would not have made the bet. Also, with the Watcher being allowed by Creator to stay in play in our universe, we are a lot more fun to watch.
    The other thing to consider is that in the Job story and in many other snippet stories in the Bible, us humans are caused a lot of grief to show the ego and glory of Creator, such as the guy born blind so Jesus could give him sight, or the lame man made unlame or the woman with a blood problem. I tend to think that should give us the proper look at Creator. We are clay (New Testament several places)
    The second story in Job is the dialog between Creator and Job where Job has the honesty and guts to question Creator. And Creator lets Job have it……..but……only chews him out for his audacity. Job is honest and doesn’t try to brown-nose Creator with a lot of fancy talk. Of course the Bible warns us about trying to brown-noste Creator in many places, including telling us not to pray the Lord’s prayer by rote but to pray like it so we just recite the words without thinking of what they mean. So what do we do…..memorized recitations. And we have the arrogance to snicker at Indian prayer wheels. Aren’t we special.
    The last story in Job is about Job’s three friends. Read what they said. Sounds okay at first reading. Then Creator climbs all over them and basically says, “I’ll forgive your brown-nosing if you will clean up your act and be honest with me……..and…….if you can get Job to say a prayer for you. He’s Honest! Learn that before you contact me again.”
    Fourth story – The exodus – Moses and Pharaoh. Proof that Creator messes with our heads to get us to be more fun to watch. Creator hardened Pharaoh’s heart so he wouldn’t give in to Moses. Lots of people suffered and lots died….a bad time to be the firstborn. But the plagues stand as the standard for Creator’s power.
    Fifth Story – The Exodus – The Golden Calf and the giving of the Commandments – When Creator likes someone, he puts up with a lot…..sort of. Took me years to come to terms with the appearance that Aaron was a golden child. He helped the Israelites build the false cow-god and apparently Creator let him get away with it. Took several readings and a push from a JW friend before I noticed that God killed Aaron’s two sons. That is punishment.
    Fifth story- the exodus itselt, Still reading. 600,000 to a million people travelling in a fairly small place and not a McDonald’s hamburger wrapper to show that they were there. Not likely, unless Creator cleaned it up so we have to believe on faith. I have heard that there have been artifacts found in the sea, Chariot wheels and parts. I’ll keep reading.
    Sixth story – Jonah – Not the whale bit. That has been proven to be possible. I just like the story that Jonah was a hard head..didn’t do what Creator wanted…..and Creator just played with him. And still cared for him. I hope that Creator has the same attitude when he gets around to me.
    Seventh story – Judith vs. Esther – Yeah, I know Judith didn’t make it into the Bible, just the Apocrypha. Shows that Creator had arrogant sexist men write the Bible and we are given the tests of reading between the lines. Esther did what men wanted, in this case her uncle, but Judith saw that the guys around her weren’t going to lift a finger, so then takes things into her own hands and saves the day. Bloody but final.

    That is my seven old Testament story selection for today. There are more. Note that I didn’t even get sexy and suggest the Song of Solomon…..,Of course, how nasty of me. That is all churchy and not sexy. Right!

    Okay, New Testament. – First – more than seven but all the parables jesus told, especially the funny ones……like giving unto Caesar, and the ones where he called people names. Churchy folks try to domesticate Jesus, but if you really read the Bible, it can’t be done!
    Second – all of Paul’s letters. When I first started reading the Bible, I didn’t like Paul. He seemed like an arrogant, narcissistic grouch. Then I read him in Peterson and started liking him. Now I’m back to thinking he is what I thought in the first place. In my readings I tend to think that one of these days, some theologian is going to suggest that all our reliance on Paul and his communications with the early church maybe should be looked at closer. I wonder what Jesus would have said about him.
    There is your fourteen plus. What are yours?

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