Vincent Cheung

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bible study

The hardest part about bible study is when you're told to flip to a particular passage in the bible. "Turn to Psalm 36, verse 6". Ok, first, what's a "Psalm" and second, where is it in the bible? "Second Corinthian, chapter 11, verse 9". I don't even know how to spell "Corinthian" to find it in the table of contents!!!

I started reading the New Testament. It's actually very interesting to read. Things I've heard about previously make more sense now. I'm almost done the book of Mathew, which I'm told by the cheat notes in the edition of the bible I'm reading that it has been called "the most important book of Christendom-the most important book that has ever been written" by the French skeptic Renan. Too bad it's so poorly written! All the stories are disconnected, Matthew's thoughts are just all over the place, things are repeated like 50 times, and he's not particularly articulate. I was expecting more of a flowing story or something, but it's more like fragmented thoughts scribbled on a napkin.

I have seen the portrayal of the birth of Jesus in various forms and media with the whole manger, stars in the night sky, wise men, gifts, etc. But in the book of Matthew, Jesus's birth is described in 1 tiny paragraph and it's just to the point:

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

I was shocked!!! This supposedly huge event in the history of Christianity, with all these Christmas carols about the event, the point in time which our whole calendar system is based, and the biggest holiday of the year, relegated to a measly, undescriptive paragraph!!! C'mon people!!! Show me some emotion!!! Give me some feeling!!! Sigh.... I am however, willing to give Matthew the benefit of the doubt that something was lost in translation...

3 Comments:

Ola said...

I think you should continue to approach it with an open mind and don't have specific expectations about what you think it should be. Don't allow other things you have heard / read about it influence you while reading it.

And as with everything that's new, you will be unfamiliar with terminology at first but you'll pick up.

About Matthew being the most important book in all of Christendom, interesting, I had never heard of that.

If you want to read a bit more about the birth of Jesus, you can do so in Luke 2.

Winn said...

Vincent,

I found your blog with a Google Alert on Bible Study.

Matthew had a purpose in writing his book and a clearly identifiable process from start to finish.

You can visit an outline of Matthew on my website at Outline of Matthew When you hit the page scroll down to find the outline. The page is set up for a chronological reading of the New Testament.

Keep reading, the Bible is a great story.

Winn

Stash said...

Yeh Check out Luke (2 Books after Matthew), you'll find the version of the birth of Jesus that they use in Charlie Brown's Christmas, definately more of a story.

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