1 Notes

Submission

I’m also currently rereading the Bible from start to finish and wanted to see if you came up with some of the same questions I’ve posed in the margins of my text. I grew up in an evangelical household and while I still profess a faith, I am disturbed by evangelical Christianity. I’m finding myself increasingly angry as I read scripture (granted I’m still in the Old Testament). The treatment of women, the continual sacrifices of animals, the violence, the blood, the rapes, etc.—all lay heavy on my mind. I just don’t understand and feel a great deal of confusion. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your honesty and questioning. I feel that I don’t have anyone to talk to about my qualms.

I know the feeling. Feel free to continue along with me on this journey and also to write in. There are many of us here that you can talk to about what you’re going through. 

Notes

What Bible version do you use and do you use commentaries to study the Bible?

Asked by Anonymous

I use the New International Version and I do consult some commentaries such as the MacArthur Study Bible.

Notes

Read some of your thoughts on the book of Ecclesiastes and would like to relay some information to you. The Teacher is king Solomon and if his words seem secular its because he has an under the sun type of thinking, meaning earthly without regards to the heavens above. He sought to find the meaning of life through the eyes of a common man. This book adds a wordly perception to the Bible and sort of acts as a balancing factor. Solomon answers and poses questions that God knew we had in our heart.

Asked by Anonymous

Notes

On "Song of Solomon" (SoS)...I recently was looking up SoS, and I came across a website. It talks about the book SoS being a parallel between Jesus and the Church. I'll be looking more into it too (after sleep and work. haha), but I also was wondering what you thought about that...

Asked by Anonymous

That’s an interesting interpretation, but my opinion is that it is not a parallel between Jesus and the Church. SoS is overtly sexual in nature, which would be a little weird if it was supposed to be talking about Jesus and the Church. Also, the story is just too straight forward. Finally, God isn’t mentioned anywhere in the book, which again, if it was supposed to be a parallel between Jesus and the Church, you’d think there’d be something about God in there. 

Notes

I've tried unsuccessfully to leave comments here a couple of times but I'm not sure the blog form will allow me to give a long enough reply. Would you share your email with me? I think I might have some useful insight that could help you along on your journey, but would like to share properly. My my email is ch3mboi@gmail. Also, a quick but useful resource might be dailyaudiobible. You can journey through the bible alongside others who are exploring and even trying to live it out.

Asked by Anonymous

Sure. I just sent you an email.

Notes

Isaiah 21-24

I apologize for this post taking so long for me to get it out to you. I went on vacation, and when I got back, went through some personal stuff. On top of those things, Isaiah is getting pretty difficult to follow. When exactly do the events described here (that aren’t prophecy about the future) fit into the overall timeline of the Bible? Isaiah also jumps around constantly to different ancient localities and his prophecies are very cryptic. I typically have to break everything down into bullet points in order to try and understand what’s going on.

Isaiah 21

Isaiah has a vision concerning the “Desert by the Sea.” An invader comes in from the desert, but the city’s officers are just idling when they should be getting ready to defend. God tells Isaiah to set up a lookout, which Isaiah does. Eventually, a rider pulls up to the lookout and tells him that Babylon has been defeated.

Isaiah has another vision concerning a place called “Dumah.” All that is really said about this vision is this cryptic passage, “Someone calls to me from Seir, ‘Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?’ The watchman replies, ‘Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again.’”

Finally, he has another vision concerning “Arabia.” In the vision, Isaiah calls on the Dedanites to bring water for the fugitives who are fleeing from battle. Later, God tells Isaiah that within the year, “all the pomp of Kedar will come to an end.”

Isaiah 22

This one is a vision concerning the “Valley of Vision.” In this vision, Isaiah’s people are captured in war, as the nation’s leaders just fled from a battle without putting up a fight. Isaiah credits this defeat to the fact that the city did not spend enough time looking to God for protection. Next, God sends Isaiah to chastise a man named Shebna who is in charge of the palace. God says that he will remove Shebna from office and will place a man named Eliakim in his place.

Isaiah 23

Here we have a vision concerning “Tyre.” In this vision, God destroys a place called Tyre in order to “bring low the pride of all glory and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.” It says that Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years, but then God will allow the place to be rebuilt, although the profits from it will all be set aside for “…those who live before the LORD, for abundant food and fine clothes.” (I found it kind of odd that the profits would be used for “fine clothes” for the believers. What about the poor etc.?)

Isaiah 24

This vision is pretty grim. In this one, God devastates the world and scatters its inhabitants, killing most everyone. He will do this because human being have disobeyed his laws, violated his statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. 

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1 Notes

Isaiah 11-20

Isaiah 11

Isaiah’s vision continued, and I’m assuming this is another premonition about Jesus and the end times. In the vision, “the Root of Jesse” has received the spirit from God to have great wisdom and understanding, and this man becomes a judge over the people. Isaiah predicts that the nations will flock to this man and there will be a time of peace where, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.”

Isaiah 12

Isaiah says that when that day comes, everyone will praise God and sing to him, proclaiming his name to the world.

Isaiah 13

Isaiah has a vision of the “day of the LORD” in which God returns to earth with an army to “make the land desolate” and to “destroy the sinners.” When this occurs, everyone will be deathly afraid, and the stars, sun, and moon won’t shine any light. God says that he will cause an enemy nation to have “no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children.” Why would God want that? 

Isaiah 14

Chapter 14 features the only appearance of the word (or name) “Lucifer” in the Bible. Although Isaiah was talking about a human king in this passage, I can see why later Christian tradition would start calling Satan “Lucifer.” The passage reads, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.”

Isaiah 15

Isaiah sees a vision concerning the nation of Moab, that some of its cities will be destroyed in one night, and that its inhabitants will go out in public weeping and mourning for their loss. 

Isaiah 16

Is this another prophecy concerning Jesus, In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house of David— one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness”?

Isaiah 17

Okay, these are starting to get a little dull.

Isaiah 18

Isaiah is hard to follow in the sense that every chapter seems to be about a different ancient place or culture, and about the complicated relationships between those ancient places or cultures, and on top of that, there is cryptic prophecy that’s hard to understand. Take this passage from this chapter for example.  “At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers— the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty.” Who are those “tall and smooth-skinned” people and why are they significant? Why are they bringing gifts to God and why is that important? I feel lost.

Isaiah 19

Isaiah has another vision, this time concerning Egypt. It essentially says that God will damage Egypt so much that the Egyptians will know God and for some reason want to then start worshipping him.

Isaiah 20

God commanded Isaiah to walk around completely naked for three years to protest the nations of Egypt and Cush. How would walking around naked get anything accomplished and why would God want Isaiah to do that? 

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Notes

Susanna (susanna@plousia.org) submitted:

Not sure if this is the place to do this, but I don’t see a contact link and the “ask” form won’t let me include a link. I recently came across your blog and find it fascinating. I’m curious to see where you’ll end up. One post in particular really struck me, so much so that I wrote a blog post about it: http://plousia.org/2014-07-08/why-do-many-christians-not-read-or-understand-bible. I’d be interested to hear your opinion if you read it and care to share. Thanks, and take care.

Thank you! I’m going to send you a private message but also wanted to post this on the blog in case others wanted to read your post. It’s a good read. 

Notes

Isaiah 1-10

Isaiah 1

The Bible took a break from describing the history of Israel/Judah over the last few books, but it seems like we’re getting back into the timeline now. We are introduced to a man named Isaiah, who claims that he’s had a vision that concerns the nation of Judah. Isaiah’s vision has a similar theme to most of the books thus far in the Bible: the people of the nation have forsaken God and turned to evil ways, and God is very angry about it. God has become “weary” of the people’s “meaningless” sacrifices, implores them to “seek justice,” and tells them that if they are “willing and obedient” that they can become successful, but if not, God will avenge himself on them.

Isaiah 2

As Isaiah’s vision continues he sees what I assume is an end time premonition, where in the day God returns to earth, “The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled.” When that day comes, Isaiah claims “Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD.” After this, Isaiah sees the mountain of God’s temple being established in the earth as the most significant mountain in the world. God will apparently be physically in the temple that is upon the mountain and people will walk up it in order to learn from God his wisdom. From that mountain seat, God will judge nations and settle disputes. When this comes to pass, Isaiah says that everyone “…will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

Isaiah 3

Due to Judah’s disobedience to God, Isaiah says that imminent danger is upon them. God is about to take away their supplies of food and water, make their government crumble in on itself, make the promiscuous women become bald and lose their beauty, and make most of the men die in battle.

Isaiah 4

In the day described in the previous chapter in which most of the men die in battle, it says here that the number of men left will eventually become so few in number that “seven women will take hold of one man” and be okay with sharing him amongst all seven.

Isaiah 5

Isaiah sings a song about a vineyard to illustrate a point, which is that God looked to Israel and Judah to be his chosen ones, but instead, got a nation of evil people. If these evil ways continue, God decrees that their nation will come to ruin.

Isaiah 6

Isaiah had another vision wherein he saw God seated on a throne, and above him were these flying creatures called “seraphs.” Upon seeing this, Isaiah became afraid for his life because of his sins, but one of the seraphs brought a burning coal from an altar and pressed it against his lips (ouch!), which apparently atoned for his sin. God then asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” to which Isaiah responded, “Here am I. Send me!” God then told Isaiah to go and make the people of the nation not be able to understand the truth, “Otherwise they might…understand…and turn and be healed.” This was supposed to continue until the cities of the nation were in ruins and the “the land is utterly forsaken.” Am I the only one that thinks it’s a little cruel that God wants everyone to not be able to understand the truth and “be healed” just so that he can destroy them? Wouldn’t he want them to come to the truth? 

Isaiah 7

The nation of Aram attacked Jerusalem, but their first march was unsuccessful. Aram then allied itself with a nation called Ephraim and made plans to attack Jerusalem again, which made Jerusalem’s king Ahaz fearful. God sent Isaiah to assure Ahaz that they would not be defeated by Aram if they stood “firm in [their] faith.” God also gave them a sign, that a “…virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Matthew later quotes this verse in Matthew 1:22-23 as being a prophecy that Jesus allegedly fulfills, but from the text here, we’re talking about an event that is a sign from God to Ahaz to assure him that he personally will not be defeated by the nation of Aram. Jesus allegedly wasn’t born until 700 years after this prophecy was written, so how could this prophecy for Ahaz’s sake be compatible with Jesus’ story?

Isaiah 8

A prophetess gave birth to a son and God declared his name, which was “Maher-Shalal-Has-Baz” (wow). Before the boy knows how to talk, God said that the king of Assyria would take the plunder of the cities of Damascus and Samaria, and his power would flow over Judah like a river.  

Isaiah 9

Here I believe another prophecy of Jesus is written (correct me if I’m wrong), “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” 

Isaiah 10

God says that he will punish the king of Assyria for thinking that he accomplished all that he did by his own hand. And hopefully, through that, his chosen people will come to “truly rely” on God again.

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Notes

Isaiah

Isaiah 1-10

Isaiah 11-20

Isaiah 21-24

Isaiah 25-30

Isaiah 31-40

Isaiah 41-50

Isaiah 51-60

Isaiah 61-66

Final Thoughts on the Book of Isaiah

Notes

In the Catholic Bible this book is often called "Song of Songs" and it made it in the final cut because sex is meant to be holy and good. It's not evil. It's also meant to express the love that God has for His people. Pope St. John Paul II says that the least imperfect example of God's love for his people is that of a husband and a wife.

Asked by bannerofthecross

2 Notes

Final Thoughts on the Book of Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon is unique thus far in the Bible for not only being strictly a love story between two people, and not mentioning God anywhere within it, but it’s also sexual in nature, which left me wondering how this got included in the “final draft,” if you will, of the Bible. 

We learn that the person called “Lover” in the story is Solomon, but never learn the name of the girl. She is known simply as the “Beloved.” The two lovers continually talk in poetic longing for each other, and some of the lines are loving like, “Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love,” but others get a little more sexual like, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,” or “Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit,” and her responding by inviting him to taste her “choice fruits” etc.

My problem with the story is that there isn’t much plot to go by. How did the two originally meet? Why is their love forbidden and why do they have to meet in secret? When I got to the end of Song of Solomon, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. I couldn’t really tell if they were able to finally be in love openly or not. As to why they couldn’t be in love publicly, my first thought was maybe it was a social class thing, but then in the final chapter, the Beloved’s older brothers say, “We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown.” Was the love forbidden because Solomon was an adult and the Beloved was a young girl who hadn’t gone through puberty yet? If so, doesn’t that make this whole book kind of creepy?

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1 Notes

Song of Solomon 8

8:1 If only you were to me like a brother, who was nursed at my mother’s breasts! Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me.

8:2 I would lead you and bring you to my mother’s house— she who has taught me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the nectar of my pomegranates.

8:3 His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me.

8:4 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

8:5 Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover? Under the apple tree I roused you; there your mother conceived you, there she who was in labor gave you birth.

8:6 Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

8:7 Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

Friends

8:8 We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for?

8:9 If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar.

Beloved

8:10 I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment.

8:11 Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon; he let out his vineyard to tenants. Each was to bring for its fruit a thousand shekels of silver.

8:12 But my own vineyard is mine to give; the thousand shekels are for you, O Solomon, and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit.

Lover

8:13 You who dwell in the gardens with friends in attendance, let me hear your voice!

Beloved

8:14 Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains.

Final Thoughts on Chapter 8:

Here we are at the end of Song of Solomon, and I’m left feeling a little disappointed. As the only book of its kind in the Bible (as far as I know), this could have been written much better. On top of this, I’ve been wondering this whole time why Solomon and his Beloved couldn’t just be together without being ridiculed. My first thought was maybe it was a social class thing, but then in this chapter, the Beloved’s older brothers say, “We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown.” Was the love forbidden because Solomon was an adult and the Beloved was a young girl who hadn’t gone through puberty yet? If so, doesn’t that make this whole book kind of creepy?

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1 Notes

Song of Solomon 7

7:1 How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman’s hands.

7:2 Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies.

7:3 Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.

7:4 Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus.

7:5 Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses.

7:6 How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights!

7:7 Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit.

7:8 I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples,

Beloved

7:9 and your mouth like the best wine. May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth.

7:10 I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.

7:11 Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages.

7:12 Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom— there I will give you my love.

7:13 The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.

Final Thoughts on Chapter 7:

Solomon continues to sweet talk his Beloved, but pretty directly says that he wants to sleep with her, “Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” The Beloved answers back that she’s ready, and proposes that they do it in a vineyard.

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Notes

Song of Solomon 6

Friends

6:1 Where has your lover gone, most beautiful of women? Which way did your lover turn, that we may look for him with you?

Beloved

6:2 My lover has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies.

6:3 I am my lover’s and my lover is mine; he browses among the lilies.

Lover

6:4 You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, majestic as troops with banners.

6:5 Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead.

6:6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is alone.

6:7 Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.

6:8 Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number;

6:9 but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The maidens saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her.

Friends

6:10 Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?

Lover

6:11 I went down to the grove of nut trees to look at the new growth in the valley, to see if the vines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom.

6:12 Before I realized it, my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.

6:13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite; come back, come back, that we may gaze on you! Why would you gaze on the Shulammite as on the dance of Mahanaim?

Final Thoughts on Chapter 6:

The writing quality of Song of Solomon is starting to go downhill a little. Solomon is repeating some of his earlier compliments to his Beloved (i.e. “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead” etc.) and I can’t seem to figure out why they can’t just get together. Is their love forbidden for some reason?

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