The Bible, what happens when you read it?

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Tart
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The Bible, what happens when you read it?

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Post by Tart »

If you have read the Bible (be honest), or even parts of the Bible (be honest), or just a few verses (it's ok to be honest).. What happens to your spirit when studying these things? I have heard a lot of people say that if you read a Bible it will make you an unbeliever, and i question that.

For me, the Old Testament didnt speak to me as much, but when i got to the Gospels it's words seemed to resonate in my soul. It seems like some parts speak to me personally, on a very personal level. I question if i could had ever read the Bible and remained a non-believer, for me it would have been very hard to do that.

What about you? What happens to you when you read the Bible? What parts of the Bible speak to you, one way or another? What parts make you question it's words? What parts resonate within you?

This question began with a quote I stumbled upon yesterday. It was Einstein, when asked if he believed in the historical Jesus he said:

“Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospel without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.�~Einstein

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I've been studying the Bible for years. It's like a gold mine that I keep going back to, getting more and more ore out of it with each trip. I find that I can read a verse 100 times and then, suddenly, when I read it for the 101st time, it clicks! I finally get it!

There have been times of hardship when it has comforted and strengthened me. There have been times of indecision when it has given me the understanding by which to act. And -- you asked us to be honest -- there have been times when I have turned to it and failed to get anything out of it because I was just too hurt, too confused, too wound up to let it speak to me.

I didn't really appreciate the Old Testament until I had studied the New. I think we can only understand it looking from the foot of the cross.

I think the Psalms speak to most people because they hit at the very basics of life, both good and bad. I can really relate to them. They touch me at an emotional level. Proverbs is another book I can read over and over again for the wisdom they offer. My favourite gospel is John. In fact, when people who have never read the Bible ask me where they should start, I always tell them to read John first, then the other gospels, then all the books of the New Testament (except Revelation), then the Old Testament and then, finally Revelation. Never start at Genesis. You will get bogged down at Leviticus and Numbers for sure!

I have found that studying Greek and the history of the ancient Middle East plus using commentaries has helped me delve deeper into the Bible and helped my understanding of it.

As singer David Phelps says in a song entitled End of the Beginning, the Bible is "a bestseller, a history, a mystery in one."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDbqsWhKSMI

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Re: The Bible, what happens when you read it?

Post #3

Post by Tcg »

Tart wrote:
This question began with a quote I stumbled upon yesterday. It was Einstein, when asked if he believed in the historical Jesus he said:

“Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospel without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.�~Einstein
It is important to note that belief in the historical Jesus means quite simply that one believes an actually person named Jesus once lived. It does not imply that one believes in the miraculous tales about him.

Einstein also said this concerning Jesus:
  • "It is quite possible that we can do greater things than Jesus, for what is written in the Bible about him is poetically embellished."
I've read the Bible cover to cover few times and have read some books and sections - Genesis, the Gospels, the Epistles, numerous times. I've read the Bible both as a believer and as an unbeliever.

It was a deeper examination of the claims of Christianity, including those in the Bible, that lead to my deconversion. I read it now mostly out of academic interest and to help believers remember or become aware of it's actual content.
To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

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Not believing isn't the same as believing not.

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I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

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Post #5

Post by otseng »

I've recently been trying to learn Hebrew and Greek by writing my own translation of the Bible. It has forced me to go much deeper into reading and understanding the Bible. And the exercise has been transformational. It has given me a greater appreciation for everything in the Bible (Old as well as New Testaments) and opened my eyes to many things. So, if you really want to grow deep in your faith, I'd recommend writing your own translation of the Bible.

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Post #6

Post by Overcomer »

otseng wrote:
So, if you really want to grow deep in your faith, I'd recommend writing your own translation of the Bible.
Amen to that! I had to translate a portion of Mark for my final assignment in my Advanced Greek class. You have to go deeply into the text when engaged in translation. It gave me a real appreciation for the Greek scholars who have given us the variety of versions we have.

I got caught between doing word by word translation (which gave me a really clunky, although accurate, rendition) vs. going for meaning without literalness (which read better but made me feel like I might be leaving something important out). No wonder the professional translators work in teams and get involved in detailed discussions (and even arguments) about the smallest and seemingly most insignificant of words.

One of my favourite books is How To Read the Bible For All Its Worth by two great translators (Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart). I highly recommend it.

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Post #7

Post by ttruscott »

I agree with all this (2 years Hebrew study) but as they say, If you ain't got the Spirit, you ain't got nothing!

The flim flam of exegesis is that for anyone to get the meaning of a verse from the verse without any input from their mindset and unfiltered by existing ideas is on the order of Paul's conversion as a bright light and hearing GOD's voice. Every interpretation of a verse is eisegesis, the fitting of the verse into previously accepted definitions.

Just to add: reading the bible and the Spirit brought me to Christ and then to YHWH and then to PCE where I rest.
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Re: The Bible, what happens when you read it?

Post #8

Post by Diagoras »

Tart wrote: If you have read the Bible (be honest), or even parts of the Bible (be honest), or just a few verses (it's ok to be honest).. What happens to your spirit when studying these things? I have heard a lot of people say that if you read a Bible it will make you an unbeliever, and i question that.
Non-believer (and never been religious) chiming in here.

I’ve read large parts of the bible (KJV), not all of it. Some parts, I do go away and do some basic research if it interests me. But I don’t feel any different than from reading any other book or article. There’s nothing ‘spiritual’ there for me.
What about you? What happens to you when you read the Bible? What parts of the Bible speak to you, one way or another? What parts make you question it's words? What parts resonate within you?
A lot of the history and law described in the OT ‘speak’ to me in the sense that they make me feel I’m very glad to live in a much more enlightened age, and I remain rather discouraged by the sexism, homophobia and xenophobia that persists in society - at least partly due to the influence of scripture.

There’s precious few parts that I don’t question, in the sense of using it for personal guidance. Perhaps the odd proverb might resonate, but that would be about it.

Deuteronomy 28:15-68 was probably the greatest influence on me questioning the bible’s wisdom and relevance. I’ve never hearkened to the voice of god in my life, and yet I’ve had many more of the ‘blessings’ than the ‘curses’ described in Deuteronomy 28. Verse 12 is particularly apt when I check my investment portfolio, whereas I’m in very good health, so verses 60 and 61 (for example) seem to have passed me by. Although, to be fair, I’ve never travelled to Egypt, so perhaps all its diseases will only strike me should I venture there.

Fair to say that the more I study it, the less I believe it.

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Re: The Bible, what happens when you read it?

Post #9

Post by OnceConvinced »

Isn't the spirit just another part of the mind?

When I was a Christian I would often read something and it would stand out at me and have some kind of meaning. But then the book is full of things that could potentially do that, so I don't think it's anything supernatural. If you have something on your mind and you read the bible, you're bound to come across something relevent sooner or later.

As a Chrisitan I used to find Paul's writings truly inspiring. Now I think he was a deluded idiot. A sexist and misogynist fellow.

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

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Re: The Bible, what happens when you read it?

Post #10

Post by Difflugia »

Tart wrote:What happens to your spirit when studying these things? I have heard a lot of people say that if you read a Bible it will make you an unbeliever, and i question that.
Reading Genesis and Exodus straight through is what pretty decisively killed inerrancy for me, which I couldn't divorce from inspiration. If I had either had a more liberal version of Christianity that didn't rely on inerrancy or had been better trained to excuse inconsistencies in the text, it probably wouldn't have shaken me the way that it did. I no longer think that way, but I was an atheist before I found ways that I could have reconciled the Bible with theism.
Overcomer wrote:I've been studying the Bible for years. It's like a gold mine that I keep going back to, getting more and more ore out of it with each trip. I find that I can read a verse 100 times and then, suddenly, when I read it for the 101st time, it clicks! I finally get it!
I still feel that way now as an atheist. The only shift is that while I used to read the Bible looking for what a single God was telling me, I'm now looking for the messages of many human authors. Once I realized that no two authors mean exactly the same thing by "sin," "sacrifice," or even "Levite," then the Bible became a tapestry of threads. I felt like I was finally seeing the forest for the trees.

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