Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And Now a Survey

As I get closer to Revelation, I keep wondering what I should do when I finish reading the Bible cover to cover. At my current rate of reading, I should be done within the next month or so. And according to Blogger, this is my 100th post, so I thought I'd try something different.

I would like some audience participation about my Bible reading. I have posted a survey above with options of what I could do next:

  • Turn back to page one and try again.
  • What do you need it for after you read it?
  • Read the gospels over and over until you get it
  • Read a little bit from the Old Testament and a little bit from the New Testament each day.
  • Start from the end and work your way back to the beginning.
So what do you think? Feel free to vote early and vote often. The survey will be up for a week and if you vote multiple times, it will make me feel like more people are reading my blog.

If you have other thoughts on how I should read the Bible, feel free to leave a comment. I don't promise to follow the results of the survey, but I am interested in hearing your thoughts.


  1. My option wasn't really on the list... so here it is: Get the Stephen Hawking book that is these 2 books combined-- The illustrated A Brief History of Time & The Universe in a Nutshell. Then, read bits of the Bible, then bits of Hawking until you finish both again or your head spins off, whichever comes first. Alivia

  2. My first thought was Jager-bomb. Reading more would be good, too, I guess.

  3. I haven't really gotten a sense of how reading, particularly in the OT, has impacted you, but based on a couple of your blogs like that on Paul's letter to Romans, I think I would recommend looking into doing a series of Lectio Divina either directed (and don't look at me for any source for directions) or random selections from the NT and maybe the wisdom books of the OT.

  4. I am a big fan of laying it on the table. using a blow dryer to select a random page and then stick a pin in a verse blindfolded and then live that verse out in a literal fashion for the day!

    Works for me every time!

  5. I would get a copy of "The Untold Story of the New Testament Church" by Frank Viola and go through Acts and the Pauline epistles using it as a study guide.

  6. Ooh, I like the idea of Lectio Divina, and I like Peggy's idea too. My idea isn't in the list, so here's my "vote." =)
    I suggest reading the NT over again, but in the order it was actually written. I believe it's not actually in order by date written (Revelations was not the last book written!). I'm curious how the flow of the NT goes the way it's organized now vs the way things actually came out. I've never done this and I'm not sure where to find the actual order - but I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult.

  7. Will you post the results when you're done?

    I had another suggestion: start memorizing passages. The more I learn about early Friends and about rabbinical studies, the more I think it is important to have more of the Bible right where you need it.

  8. "Do nothing til you hear from Me."

    In other words, spend some time letting all this percolate. What questions come to you? What answers come in response to your questions?

    "Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book." Ask the Big Guy (Gal?) 'What about this?' See what (who?) you wake up with in the morning.

    Do you live in the same world as these stories? How so?--or if the answer was 'no', why not?

  9. Read around the Bible, and have it to hand so you can see for yourself what the authors are talking about. I am enjoying seeing how Bart D Ehrman, David Boulton, and Karen Armstrong are affecting my reading of the Bible. As a Pagan with a strong lifelong fondness and fascination for Jesus and the Bible, I'm finding my understanding deepened, broadened, and enriched.

  10. And now a plug.... some plugs.

    William Herzog, _Prophet and Teacher_

    NT Wright, _The New Testament and the People of God_

    and really, really, I'd like a lot more people over at kwakerskripturestudy.blogspot.com (Pay no attention to that silly man who's running the site since everyone else ran off for some reason!)

  11. Just trying to see if this thing works.

    I have a lectionary called "Daily Light on the daily path" from the Billy Graham Association. Every day it have verses around a theme, morning and evening. Very helpful to reinforce the connection between passages.

    Bonne chance.

  12. Forrest, in his post of 7/11, and Peggy pretty much spoke my thoughts and heart.

    I get bogged by the Old Testament a bit. Sometimes I'll quit a book halfway through, leaving a marker or just hoping I'll find my way back there, then read from a gospel or a letter for a while.

    Late every Advent I start a gospel, hoping to get to the birth story at Christmas or thereabouts. I continue with the gospel. I'm a slow reader, so sometimes the passion comes up at Easter-tide. That's always fun. If I read fast, I can dodge back to a prophet or something to make it come out right.

    When I start, it's important for me to know the main reason I'm reading the Bible that day. Am I looking to center myself, to have it open some wisdom for me, to study a particular historical, theological or ecclesiological (I think that's the word I want.) theme, or for some other end? That determines how I read, how much I read and whether I read the study notes or cross references that are in my bible.

    I hope this helps some.

  13. Stephen MatchettJuly 13, 2009 at 6:05 PM

    okay, I'm surprised no one has said this, so I will--start reading it with other people. Group Bible study is to me an essential component of ongoing engagement with scripture. Cover to cover reading on your own is a wonderful accomplishment (congratulations!) and a first step into a thrilling lifelong relationship (in the case of some of us, romance) with these texts. You've just begun! Find a group in your meeting, or start one. Go to Quarterly and Yearly meetings and find the people doing Bible study, or start it there too.
    Another personal favorite: start reading early Quakers. The biblical allusions will jump out at you and resonate more and more as your familiarity with and inhabiting of the arc of the biblical narrative deepens; and the richness of their message, in language that maybe formerly seemed antique, quaint and irrelevant to your contemporary surroundings, will take on a new sense and immediacy. Try it, you'll like it.

  14. Stephen MatchettJuly 13, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    ps I grew up attending University Meeting--we probably know lots of people in common!

  15. Thank you all for your comments! The survey will end in a few hours and I plan to post the results as well as a summary of the comments and responses.

    I probably won't get a chance to respond to everyone's comments individually, but since this one doesn't relate to the survey:

    Stephen - are you related to Bill and Judy Matchett? If so, I posted a great picture of them here. (Scroll down to the fourth picture.)

  16. I once read the New Testament in reverse order. It was interesting. I don't usually read the "minor" epistles (Jude, Titus, etc.) so it gave me a reason to do so. And it was somehow comforting to work backwards from those and Revelation and toward the Gospels. Closer to the Source, as it were.

    Hooray, Stephen Matchett of SF Meeting! The Bible studies he leads at College Park Quarterly and Pacific Yearly Meetings have been steadily growing. (Since he may not come back to see your comment, I'll take the liberty to say, yes, he is their son.)

    (PS The "comment as" sign-in feature doesn't work on some computers. Weird...)

  17. Chris speaks truth, they are my parents (and just finished celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary). Thanks for the link to the photo! And the illuminating backstory on your upbringing.
    PS I didn't mean to be noncontactable last time but I don't have a url or a blog (always a little behind the curve), and the profile options don't seem to include just leaving an old fashioned e-mail address, so if you want it it's stephenmatchett at earthlink dot net.


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