I have finished reading the whole bible in a year

And so, as with all good things, my journey through the bible has come to an end*. I set out on 1st January 2011 to follow a reading plan and work through the whole bible in a year. Okay so there appear to have been a few days when I didn’t manage it but there were good reasons, being unwell, being too busy or away and being not-bothered to name a few. However I have now reached the end. I have also written mini book reviews of each book of the bible along the way. I tried to review them in the light of what they were about and how they read, in other words to be quite subjective. I didn’t write any theology along the way… well I may have lapsed once or thirty odd times. I haven’t checked but I think I managed to write something about every book, so not bad going.

Bible read

Thoughts

As I read through the whole bible I did have one or two thoughts that I will share. The first is how much emphasis my own religious tradition puts on certain passages above others. I suppose this is only natural but you can see where over the years the church and its various incarnations and denominations have chosen one passage to have significant importance above others. The whole faith verses works issue is one that springs immediately to mind.

In a similar vein is how some people take some passages literally and others not. This is quite difficult and people far more cleverer than I spend time mulling this over. The problem, in my humble opinion, is when people far less cleverer than them decide what verses they will or will not take literally.

Finally, and this did make me think quite a lot about how I live each day. There is far, far more in the bible about how we should live our lives full of justice, mercy and love to one another than getting into heaven. I don’t want to make light of the eternal nature of the bible, but it does put a much bigger emphasis on  how we live now, than how we will live one day.

Ever onwards

I’ll probably return to some of the issues that I have mentioned above, but not for a little while. I thank you for sharing this journey with me. I decided to create these posts to make myself accountable, so dear reader, thank you for keeping me to account.

If you want to see all the posts they are tagged ‘bible in a year‘ so you can browse through them at your leisure.

As a pre-cursor to my footnote below, when I say the whole bible I haven’t actually read the apocrypha in this reading plan… what did I say above about my tradition ;)
*I have read the whole bible before, but it has been a few years since I sat down and did it in such a short period of time. I do recommend it.

Is the bible still relevant? The great debate on Big Questions

The BBC, as part of its religious programming, has a debate show on Sunday mornings. I was feeling under the weather over the weekend and in my weakened state made the mistake of turning The Big Questions on. For those who haven’t seen it, it is a sort of Jerry Springer for religious ethical discussion i.e. no debate, just posturing from your prescribed corner. In this episode the question was, ‘Is the bible still relevant today?’ (There’s a link to the show below.)

What a stupid question

Okay, apart from the issue of adding the word ‘today’ at the end of the question, and I can forgive that seeing as my grammar isn’t always the best, the fact that they were having a program about it answers the question. Or, more accurately, as Richard Dawkins pointed out that about 40% of people in the USA believe the creation account in Genesis as fact, some people obviously think it is still relevant (no I’m not adding the word today).

So with such a stupid question the debate dissolves into a slanging match about what can and can’t be trusted in the bible. Yes, here again is an argument about fact versus fiction, and how can you ‘beleive’ in some of the things written there about sexuality and violence. But, as one or two people, on both sides of the debate, point out, you can’t read the bible like a modern book.

Ask a question that may get an interesting answer

So, if a silly question led to a silly answer, what should the question be? As I watched the program, and got increasingly frustrated with the discussion, I thought a better question would have been, why is the bible still relevant? Then those on the panel and audience could discuss it from their own particular situation, as one or two attempted. You are then forced to decide whether or not the bible has any relevance to you.

The bible, relevance and me?

Yes, the bible is relevant to me. As I read, or listen to what is in the bible I learn a little more about the bigger picture. Through each story or psalm or proverb or piece of poetic prophecy I catch glimpses of our quest to answer the question ‘why’. It isn’t always a pretty quest and I’m sure not all of it happened exactly the way it was written down, but it all tells me something.

There is also the big issue of Jesus. It is only through the bible that I can get the fullest glimpse of the person who inspired billions to change their lives over the years.

The bible… along with a simple glance up toward the stars… or the vision of a snowflake under the microscope… or the scale of an electron orbiting a nucleus… show me there is something more.

As the English translation of the Bible has its birthday, I’m thankful that I can read it today, and for it to be a relevant part of my life.

BBC The Big Questions (May 2011)

Personal predictions and a message for 2011

So what am I hoping will happen to me in 2011? I’ve looked at the three main areas that interest me and will form the bulk of this blog’s niche, however I’ll also be using the blog, as I have done before, to share some personal thoughts and goals.

First off I’d like to make it to 2012. So I’ll be adopting a much healthier outlook on life. Something happens when you reach a certain age. You begin to think about your mortality. Below this age you think you’ll live forever, but at some point, and it varies for everyone, you begin to see that isn’t so. So in will come Lose Weight Exercise and a careful watch on what I am eating. (Actually this started at the end of last year, so it will be a continuation.)

Secondly I’ll be re-launching !maginality. It is going to be a fun place to help anyone interested in being creative. I got into a rut over the last few years with the site and so I’ve been thinking about how to liven it up a little. So look out toward the end of January for some fun, creative inspiration.

Thirdly I will be getting my music out into the wide world. No more hanging around and waiting for the right time and the right equipment. It is all go in 2011 and I’ll be posting here when the first bits are available.

But…

… most of all I hope that 2011 is good for you. I hope it is filled with health and happiness, with the bizarre and the beautiful, with creativity and creations, with moments and eternities, with stories and revelations, with love and joy and a little pinch of amazingness. Live long and prosper; create and be fulfilled.