I finished reading 1 & 2 Samuel and 1&2 Corinthians, I changed my reading plan, and I also downloaded a really cool Bible App for my iPod, that allows me to easily switch to many translations. This is a longer post, I guess I had a lot to say!
There’s An App For That
First I want to talk about YouVersion: This Bible app is really cool, not to mention free! It is filled with reading plans, 24 English translations, and ton of foreign language translations. The App allows you to make notes and share your thoughts or read other people’s thoughts on certain passages. The one thing I’ve found is that while the words are different in many of the 24 English translations, the general message is the same. The only thing I would like to see is a Greek and Hebrew interlinear version. I also really like the community aspect. If there is a verse that I don’t get, I can look in the notes section and get other people’s take on it.
I’ve heard bits of some of these stories for years. David and Goliath, David cutting off a patch of Saul’s clothing in a cave, David and Bathsheba, etc. I have to say, sometimes while reading the Old Testament I want to face palm! I know it’s God “hardening” the hearts of men, but there were times when I thought “Saul! Give it up already!” I felt the same in Exodus with the Pharaoh and Moses, and with the always complaining people of Israel. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. At least I think I get it. When God makes a promise, He keeps it (2 Samuel 7:28). His creative word causes action, and when our free will and sinful nature tells us that we know better than God it contradicts His word and there are consequences. This is what happens when we don’t trust in God and try to be our own gods.
One verse that I question is 2 Sam 7:12-14: “For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do.”
Initially I thought this was Jesus, and it confused me that God thought he would sin. I looked it up and found people saying “No, this is Solomon”. Well, I don’t really know about Solomon yet. I haven’t gotten that far. But then I found this article: Was Potential Sin by Christ Prophesied? Which describes a possible duality in identity of the “descendant” in question. Suggesting that this could be both Solomon and Jesus. This is an interesting article, and I kind of can see this application to this verse. God doesn’t live or think by linear time as we do, so I am okay idea of His word being multi-applicational. I know it’s a passive answer, but I’m fine with the idea of not understanding all of God’s thoughts and motivations. I trust in Him, even when “bad” things happen.
Two of the three letters written to Corinth. Really? What happened to the other one? I find myself wondering what was lost and why? Was it lost through time, someones anger or shame caused then to tear it up, or was it not truly inspired by God and He took it out?
I really like these books, and took a lot out of them. They actually caused me to change my reading plan. I was alternating between Old and New Testament books, but now I feel a desire to finish the New Testament first.
So, out of 1 Corinthians here’s some of what I underlined and my thoughts on them:
- 1:10 – “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”(NIV)
- On the surface I saw denominations as divisions. But there are so many denominations that this confused me. A friend explained this to me how he didn’t see denominations as divisions rather “a natural expression of religious faith. When you have so many different people from various cultures responding to God, they will express their devotion in varied ways. It’s a little like a family where the kids show their love for their dad in different ways. For the dad, he may not be that bothered about their approaches. Rather he appreciates the love and the unique personality of his kids.” He went on to say that divisions can be viewed more as “disagreements on theology that would be considered divisions. For example, one church might argue that women shouldn’t be in any leadership in the church while others say it’s okay. And the two groups can fight with one another and present an image of the church which is less than united”. Wow! Having this explained in this way was fantastic. it really cleared a lot up for me, and makes a lot of sense.
- 1:17 – “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…”(NIV)
- And almost 2000 years later Paul is still preaching the gospel! Now that’s one heck of a calling
- 4:20 – “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. “(NLT)
- You can’t just talk the talk, you’ve gotta walk the walk.
- 6:19-20 – “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (NLT)
- Not only that, but it is God’s creation! No greater reason to take care of yourself is needed than this. By accepting Christ and caring for yourself you won’t let God’s purchase go to waste. I had always thought that this concept was an Eastern religion thing. It’s nice to see that’s it’s not limited to the East. Also with…
- 15:36-37 – “What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. ”
- In this verse Paul is discussing the resurrection body. I’m not sure if this is what he was getting at but I have always seen the physical body as a shell or husk for the spiritual body. Even when I was an Atheist I believed in an after life of the spirit. I can see the seed as being our spiritual body, and a seed needs water and soil to sprout. Our physical body is the soil our seed is planted in, and the word of God is the water.
- I like what Jesus says in Mark 4:3-8: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” He then explains to his disciples in Mark 4:14-20: “The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
- 8:12 – “And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.”(NLT)
- In Romans 14:23 it says: “… If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.” If you feel something is wrong, it is wrong. This verse speaks to me about peer pressure and to an extent some forms of proselytising. I think we should be free to express our opinions, but when our opinions influence someone to do something they think is wrong we should keep them to ourselves. “Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right” Romans 14:22
- 13:11 – “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”(NKJV)
- I first heard this verse in the movie Hackers before I became a Christian, and I really liked it. When my daughters were born I thought of this verse again and put it into practice. When I became A christian I put it into practice again.
- 13:13 – “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”(NLT)
- Doesn’t this verse just fill you with warm fuzzies? I love this verse!
Out of 2 Corinthians here’s some of what I underlined and my thoughts on those:
- 3:6 – “He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.”(NLT)
- 5:16 – “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” (NLT)
- How differently I know Christ now that I have started reading the Bible accepted him into my heart! I once thought of him as only human, I now see him as so much more!
- 12:9 – “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. “
- I initially didn’t think much of this verse, I thought of it as a “weak” verse, but after reading a “Hope Note” on it in my Bible I realized it held the most “power” for me. The note says “When you go around holding on to your past mistakes or think you have to try to make things up to God, it’s like saying that His grace isn’t enough. You are saying the price Jesus paid on the cross wasn’t enough. But Jesus has already paid in full for your mistakes. All you have to do is receive His grace today.” If you have read my last post, you probably know that I torture myself by hanging on to my past mistakes. I read this note and I felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I realized I hadn’t fully accepted my salvation from sin, I wasn’t fully living in faith.
- I also started thinking about why God’s power works best in our weakness? I don’t necessarily think that His power neglects us in our strength I think it is that we neglect His power when we are “strongest”. When we are “weakest” and have everything going wrong, it is usually then that we pray and turn to God for help. We become totally dependant on God. It is then that He carries us. But when we are strong and “on the top of our game” we tend to become less dependant on God and try to carry ourselves, forgetting that it was through Him that we became strong.
One thing I have found surprising in my readings of both the Old and New Testament is that people have remained the same. Culture and languages have changed, but we still have the same essential desires that we had thousands of years ago! I can relate to something written in 1450 B.C. because humanity hasn’t really changed. Love, joy, peace, hate, anger, and lust seem to be hardwired into our brains or our spirits. No amount of evolution can change that. That change only comes through faith.