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December 28th, 2009

THIS WEEK’S READINGS

  • (links are to online New International Version, but read any version you choose!)

    Jan 1: Gen 1-3
    Jan 2: Gen 4-7
    Jan 3: Gen 8-11
    Jan 4: Job 1-5

    NOTES FOR BIBLE READERS

    • Welcome to the journey!  This will take some daily discipline – about 15 minutes a day for most readers, every day for the whole year.  But you can do it!
    • Click here to view, bookmark, or print the reading plan I will use in 2010. It’s called “chronological” because it puts the whole Bible in historical sequence.  For example, you read the prophetic writings after you read about the event that are happening while the prophet is ministering.  (Your print Bible groups all the prophets together.)
    • A study Bible (with introductions to books, explanatory footnotes, etc.) will help, but it’s not essential.
    • Check my blog or the Facebook group, Through the Bible in 2010 each Monday for notes on the readings, reading schedule, and devotional thoughts.

    NOTES ON GENESIS 1-11

    • Genesis means “beginnings.”  The book includes four pivotal events (Creation, Fall, Flood, Babel) prior to the stories of four patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
    • Don’t get caught up accusing or defending the history.  Read the text as God’s Word – a message written millennia ago for God’s people and preserved for its timeless usefulness in training our minds and redirecting our actions.  Also, don’t get lost in the genealogies of Genesis 5, 10, and 11.
    • Do read your own story in the lives of Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Seth, Noah, his family, and the others.  Who is most like you and how did God deal with him/her?
    • Feel free to send questions about Genesis 1-11 in response to this blog post or on Facebook.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but maybe your co-readers and I can wrestle with them a bit.

    DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

    “If we are going to live, we must live today.  If we are going to speak out for Christ, we must speak today.  If we are going to act, we must act today.  There is an urgency about the present world situation which makes immediate action imperative.  It may be later than we think.” (Harry Althouse, c. 1948)

    Among the items found in our Cornerstone was a sermon preached by Dr. Harry D. Althouse, pastor of Corinth from 1930-69.  His text was John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day.  The night cometh when no man can work.”

    Dr. Althouse’s words take me to the beginning of the Bible.  Genesis 1 doesn’t say so in so many words, but the text could read,  “In the beginning God created time.”  From the first day, which separated light from darkness, to the fourth day, when God created the sun and moon, to the sixth day, when God created humans, God designed that we would live in a world marked by a succession of days and years.

    Ever since, we haven’t quite figured out how to handle time.  As Dr. Althouse pointed out, we either become fixated on “the good old days” of the past (interesting that people in 1948 did the same thing we do!) or the unfulfilled dreams and good intentions for the future.

    The present is all we have in which to accept Christ, turn away from sin, and use our gifts to change the world.  As the calendar flips to 2010, spend a little time – not much – reviewing the year(s) behind.  Spend a little time – not much – on long term goals.

    Invest most of your time on the next step, on the opportunities and challenges that lie in front of you.  Now is the only time you have.

4 Responses to Daily Bible Reading, January 1-3 »

  • steve corder says:

    Steve’s random questions on days 1 and 2

  • steve corder says:

    Do you think the Adam and Eve story is to be taken literally or as and a teaching parable?

    In Gen 2:20 when it says that after he named the animals there was “no suitable helper” that God first considered and animal helper before creating woman?

    In Gen 3:22 when God says that we must keep Adam from eating from the tree of life because he had already eaten from the tree of good and evil and would live forever, that Satan had actually told the truth and in fact they would have been like God with immortality and knowledge?

    I wonder what Enoch did that qualified as “walking with God” that was so much more than what others had done that he was taken straight to heaven?

  • Steve,

    That’s a great question. Up until historical criticism took place in the 18th century and treated the Bible as a literary document, rather than as an inspired text, and since the Darwinian paradigm of biological evolution was accepted as scientific fact, Christians have wrestled with Genesis in a number of ways.

    Karl Barth, a mid 20th century theologian, tried to explain “Adam” as a type of historical myth. Barth wanted to bridge the gap between the so-called “science and religion” divide by doing this. On his view, Adam was not a historical figure, but rather a prototype of a real event of humanity’s fall into sin.

    The trouble with this view is that it doesn’t really answer your question. In Romans 5, the Apostle Paul is rather clear (in my opinion) that Adam brought death and sin into the world when he sinned. And Jesus (Matthew 19?) alludes to the Genesis account when discussing marriage: “In the beginning he made them male and female.”

    Christians obviously feel intellectual pressure in answering this question. If the Adam and Eve account are claimed to be historical, then we’re (quite possibly) “knuckle dragging apes” who believing in ridiculous ancient myths. But, if we say Adam wasn’t historical, then where did sin come from?

    The other night, I spoke with an atheist, and happily admitted that I’m comfortable in speaking about a “true myth” in which a real, space-time event occurred where sin entered the world. All the while, a prima facie (face value) reading of the text lends itself to a real, historical Adam and Eve account. I don’t think we should feel the intellectual pressure in believing in a real Adam and Eve story, but our emphasis should be on the awful reality and sin. Unbelievers can READILY see that.

    Hope that helps.
    chris

  • Correction: I told the atheist that I was comfortable in reading Genesis 1 & 2 as Hebrew poetry, and not necessarily as a chronological account of creation which, by and large, puts one into a six-day creation mold (the old earth view fits in as well). Anyway, what I did not say, was that I purport a “true myth.”

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