Monday, March 02, 2009

Reset Resources

After speaking this weekend at VCC for the second week of Reset I had more requests than normal for the resources that I mentioned in my lesson. We give away free New Testaments at The Vineyard and many people took those this weekend. Our bookstore also let me know that we nearly sold out of Bibles. They've never had such a "run" on people coming in buying a Bible for the first time. I took this as a positive sign since I didn't suggest that people immediately go Bible shopping in the bookstore. It seemed to be a natural reaction to the challenge to look at the gospels as the earliest and most reliable manuscripts recording the life and message of Jesus.

I use the website daily. It contains several free versions of the Bible online. I tend to default to the New International Version in part because I've always used it and in part because I find it a fair balance between conversational writing and accurate scholarship. Of late, I have also been drawn to the English Standard Version for the same reasons. I do, unlike many theologians, recommend reading The Message or The New Living Bible along with the other versions. These are paraphrased versions written with a strong desire to be culturally relevant. The good thing about them is that they are easier for most people to understand. The dangerous part is that they are paraphrases of an author or collection of authors, not necessarily direct translations of the ancient texts. It's sort of like watching the Coen Brohters' Oh Brother, Where art Thou? to learn about Homer's The Odyssey, on which it was based. It's good to get the feel for what is going on, but if you want to know Homer you should read a direct translations. (And if you really want to know Homer you should learn to read ancient Greek...)

Beyond the Bible itself many people asked about Dr. Greg Boyd's books after seeing him speak on the video. I have read many of his articles and listened to his podcasts, but haven't read many of his books. To learn more from Boyd on the subject matter of belief in Jesus I would recommend one of these two books: Lord or Legend?: Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma or Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles With His Father's Questions About Christianity

Other people asked how to learn more about the historical background of the New Testament as they read the book of Luke. There are, of course, countless commentaries on Luke written from every point of view imaginable. Many times having a commentary can distract us from the text itself. That said, I think without someone challenging our modern assumptions we can read things into the Biblical text that are not there at all. My current favorite commentaries for non-academicians are N.T. Wright's "For Everyone" series. I'd recommend picking up Wright's Luke for Everyone

I've been devouring Wright this year...I've either read or started reading five of his books. I loved Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. He was recently interviewed on The Colbert Report:


Helen Ann said...

Thanks for the resources. :) I'd love to understand what Wright is talking about but the host won't let him finish a thought so I really can't grasp what he's trying to say...Guess I'll have to read the book... :)

Maryl said...

Your message this weekend was relevant to people in all stages of faith. You made the Bible sound like a living book. It's no wonder so many are shopping for one.
This has nothing to do with that: today I drove past a church that had the following carved on their sign..."Just Like Home." I'm not sure that's a good thing to advertise.

A Modern Ancient said...

N.T. Wright is one of my favorites. He is so honest, and his willingness to embrace discoveries seemingly damaging to the historicity of Christianity and to turn it around as further inspiration for faith is unbelievably valuable today.

kimche said...

i can tell when i enjoyed a sermon when i struggle with it later on in the week-- it's good to see such a familiar passage in a new light:
as a doctor, i've seen some horrific things (of which, sexual abuse of children is the most difficult to take). I'm called to care not only for the victims but also the adults who have committed these crimes. I will give both equal care (in fact, at times i will pride myself on how caring i can be, how "christian" of me)-- but if i'm truly honest, if i really knew what the latter group did (I avoid asking), i would find it impossible to see them the way God does-- fully redeemable, worthy of grace. that's a big struggle i've had lately, and something you stirred up with your sermon.

on a separate note, i just discovered NT Wright (love the Colbert report clip). i've been meaning to listen to these talks sometime:

Danni Rose said...

Joe, I wanted to thank you for your candor about the struggles of being an INTP. My adult son is an INTP, and is exactly the way you describe yourself. He is fascinated with the concept of religion, but really struggles with belief. When I mentioned your message, he immediately went online to view it. I am praying it reaches him in some way; the airplane analogy was great. (I am an ENTP..what a difference the E makes)