Reading the Bible – Where to Start.

I was talking to my sons last night about creation. The oldest asked me if I believed in aliens and ufo’s, ” to which I replied I do, as the scriptures say that God created the heavens and the earth and in reality are to do with our life here on earth. Another time I was talking to a friend who was stuck in the Old Testament and hadn’t yet started reading the New Testament. Yet in another conversation with a new convert, I was informed they were encouraged to start reading the Bible from the book of Romans.

My own encouragement to those interested in starting to read the Bible for the first time is to start with the Gospel of Luke and follow it with the book of Acts. My reasoning for this is threefold. 

1) Luke who wrote these two books was a gentile doctor and a careful historian. He wrote them as a letter to his nephew to explain the Christian faith and the practical outworking of the Christian faith. The book of Luke carefully investigates the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. His second book shows the outworking of the early church in response to the truth of Christ.

2.) Getting grounded in both of these books will help prevent easy believerism , for Christianity is more then just believing a set of facts – its all about an encounter with the living God, and responding to his love in our personal and communal living.

3.) These two books will give us the setting of the early church. It will help us understand the nuances and settings of the Epistles and often will show us clues just why and what it is the author is writing what it is they are writing.

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About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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5 Responses to Reading the Bible – Where to Start.

  1. Tiribulus says:

    Ya know I love ya man, but I can’t help myself.

    Animal life not subject to the Adamic covenant as only man is a moral agent bearing the image of the creator God. The whole creation fell in Adam and groans awaiting the redemption of the sons of men (Romans 8:18ff). This means there cannot be moral agents bearing the image of God but not descended from Adam or else God has cursed innocent intelligent moral life by sheer caprice. A thing unthinkable of the just and holy God who reveals Himself in the bible.

    If there are intelligent moral agents not descended from Adam and not under his curse on other planets then the “creation itself” would NOT need to “be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (8:21 NASB) Not all of it anyway and not the highest part. Is there life on other planets? Bottom line? Animals maybe (and even that’s doubtful biblically speaking), but there CANNOT be intelligent morally accountable life anywhere in this creation except dear old earth.

    Also If there IS life anywhere but here, is it amoral low intelligence animal life? WE will have to find IT. IT will never come to US. ET was cute and close encounters a cool flick but if we are to take our scriptures seriously they are literally just movies.

    • Craig Benno says:

      Greg. The Scriptures deal with God’s relationship with earths humanity.. and besides the creation account in 1st Genesis has nothing to do with the standard creation theology that abounds.

      In a nutshell, Moses is standing on a hill, talking to the Israelite s, telling them their story and who God is.. and within that framework – he shows them how God is greater then all the Egyptian gods in that account.

      • Tiribulus says:

        Romans 8:
        18-For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19-For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20-For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21-that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22-For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23-And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24-For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25-But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

        All of the vast cosmos, “the creation itself”, “ALL the creation” (πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις) fell in Adam who was it’s covenant representative. In some eschatological sense the now cursed creation will be glorified with us through the redemptive work of Christ. If there are moral agents anywhere who are not sons of Adam then they have been capriciously and hence unjustly “subjected to futility”. An impossibility with a flawlessly just God.

        If there are moral agents anywhere but earth that have NOT been “subjected to futility” then this passage is a lie. Another impossibility. Therefore, there are no moral agents anywhere except earth and unless you are wiling to posit the notion of beings capable of space exploration who are nonetheless not moral agents THEY will never find US if they exist.

        Why ya gotta work me like this man? Can’t ya ever jist break down and accept the truth without us goin back and forth 🙂

      • Craig Benno says:

        Greg. You are hard pressed to prove that their is no other life in the vastness of the universe through Paul’s writings, as his priority of creation was talking about the earth and humanity.

        Within Paul’s cultural understanding, he would have had no intention of writing about any other form of life elsewhere in the universe.

        But, I am buggered to understand why you are nit picking on one small element of my post and not engaging with the whole thrust of it.

  2. Tiribulus says:

    “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture:” The Westminster Confession of Faith of 1646: Ch 1. Sect. VI-a
    I agree
    Craig says: “Greg. You are hard pressed to prove that their is no other life in the vastness of the universe through Paul’s writings,”
    I just did.
    Craig says: “his priority of creation was talking about the earth and humanity.”
    Yep. His priority WAS that, but you are mistaken if you think that his statements concerning the “the whole creation itself” did not conjure the inclusion of sun moon and stars in the minds of those dwelling in Rome as they read this. Now that we know how much more there is, by good and necessary consequence, his statements include the rest of the universe too. Always have. We just needed to find that out.
    Craig says: “Within Paul’s cultural understanding, he would have had no intention of writing about any other form of life elsewhere in the universe.”
    No doubt about it. The thought of ET’s never crossed Paul’s mind. OR the minds of his readers. BUT, by good and necessary consequence his θεόπνευστος words now teach us that it is not possible for morally accountable life to exist anywhere but here. Yes. We ARE that special. Which goes right along with what the church has ALWAYS believed about Genesis before all this pagan modernist apostasy came about.
    Craig says: “But, I am buggered to understand why you are nit picking on one small element of my post and not engaging with the whole thrust of it.”
    I told ya I can’t help myself didn’t I? 😀 It’s not a small element overall and speaks volumes as to the method one brings to the scriptures.
    Your recommendation of Luke/Acts for biblical novices is fine and for the reasons you gave.

    To further nitppick though (I’m pretty sure you’ll think that’s what it is), I must also say the following.:
    Craig says: “for Christianity is more then just believing a set of facts”
    Ohhhh indeed it is.
    Craig says: “its all about an encounter with the living God, and responding to his love in our personal and communal living.”
    I say, as does the bible, that a true Christian is one who has been raised from actual death in an actual first man Adam to new resurrection life in the last Adam Jesus Christ. One for whom this is actually case absolutely WILL “respond to his love in their personal and communal living.” It is who and what they are now.

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