Posts Tagged ‘reading the bible’

Eating on the go

July 8, 2010

“This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. ” Exodus 12:11

The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version

There is one part of the passover story that really captures my imagination.  The passover was not a great feast.  It was to be shared standing up.  Thanksgiving when America celebrates freedom is done sitting down.  Fourth of July maybe outside, but we pull up lawn chairs.  Freedom in our culture is sitting down, we revel in it.

Freedom in the Old Testament for the Israelites is something that is not to be relished.  The price of freedom, the death of the first-born in Egypt is not to be celebrated.  Death of innocents and not so innocents is not a joyful feast.  It is a bitter feast, not to be savored but to be eaten hurriedly.

Perhaps, our communion feast in church is too slow.  Maybe every once in a while we need to eat standing up.  Deacons and servers rushing people through the line.  The price of freedom is not to be savored, but we must eat hurriedly.  The grape juice is warm, the bread is hard…that is OK.  We are eating on the run.  We are one’s who lives are being spared and now is the time to go.  Just a reminder of the sacrifice of the incarnation and the cross.  I don’t eat standing up often, I am not a slave.  I eat leisurely most days.  However, maybe on the side of the road at a hot dog stand maybe to eat standing up, car keys on my finger, will remind me of who paid the price for my freedom.


The First Core Spiritual Habit: Pick Up and Read

April 8, 2010

When I was a teenager, I opened up my leather bound King James Version bible given to me by my grandparents.  I tried to read from Genesis, but soon got lost in thou and thees of the Old Testament.

I looked to know the stories of Jesus.  Who was this guy?  His story is more important than the old stories.  So, I noticed that the four gospels of the New Testamet were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (They are in reverse alphabetical order if you need a memory trick.)  I wanted to read one, so I looked at which was the shortest.  Mark.

I read through Mark and felt good about it.  It started me on to reading the others and more of the Bible.  When I got to college and took my first class on the New Testament.  We picked up with Mark.

I have grown to appreciate Mark and it is my favorite.
Bill Tenney-Brittain wrote how to begin reading the Bible for spiritual formation.  I found his insights quite good.

The First Core Spiritual Habit: Pick Up and Read.

As a follower of Jesus or one who is curious about Jesus.  I encourage you to pick up the gospel and begin there.  I have provided a reading plan and background on Mark below.

Introduction to the Gospel of Mark.


Mark was most likely the first gospel written.  Scholars give two key reasons, being the shortest of the gospels and most of the stories found in Mark are found in Luke and Matthew.  It was most likely written around 66 AD.  This was right before or during the war between Israel and Rome.  It also was a time when the apostles were dying and they wanted to keep the story alive. 


Mark is fast paced and a quick narrative

He uses many literary devices, but two are particularly interesting.

1.)   Movement-Mark has two feeding stories, 5 thousand and 4 thousand.  One takes place in a Jewish area and the other in a Gentile area.  He has parallel healing stories and  one is Jewish and one is Gentile.  Why might Mark do this?

2.)   The Messianic Secret-You will notice that Jesus will tell almost everybody be quiet about who I am. Why might Jesus want people to be quiet?


There are multiple endings.  Mark 16:8 is the ending of the gospel, but it is incomplete.  The scholars suggest that either Mark left it that way as a mark of genius…it ends with a conjunction  “and….” as if to say the story is still being written.  Or, a page got missing early on in a manuscript.  You choose.


Reading of the Gospel of Mark starting April 5


How to read the Gospel of Mark-don’t parse every word and sentence.  This is a good story.  Read it like a novel, but feel free to underline something seems important to you.


Day one

Mark 1:1-2:12

Day two

Mark 2:13-3:12

Day three

Mark 3:13-4:34

Day four

Mark 4:35-5:43

Day five

Mark 6:1-6:56

Day six

Mark 7:1-7:37

Day seven

Mark 8:1-8:26

Day eight

Mark 8:27-9:29

Day nine

Mark 9:30-10:31

Day ten

Mark 10:32-10:52

Day eleven

Mark 11:1-12:44

Day twelve

Mark 13:1-14:11

Day thirteen

Mark 14:12-72

Day fourteen

Mark 15:1-16:8