The new (to me) Bible cost a bit more than two and half paper grocery bags at Half-Price Books. Well, they gave me the money at the back of the store; I gave it back to them at the front.
Mindful of what being buried alive in too much of a good thing means, thanks to a reality cable show, I have become diligent about discarding what others might enjoy or profit from reading. But a recent quote by a favorite author spurred on my disposal: John Piper told seminary students to stop reading so much John Piper and start reading the Bible. (Bible Study: Following the Ways of the World, by Kathleen Bushwell Nielson)
I like his books, and I’ve collected several on timely topics – they are surely biblical. That is, he anchors his opinions with Scripture. But books taking up space on a (dusty) shelf wasn’t why the man wrote them; hoarding them, afraid I may not find another copy, shows I may not have fully grasped the many ways Dr. Piper wants his readers to be in the world.
Anyway, I had to find space for the books from Maryland we just shipped to Texas and I needed a smaller Bible. Study Bibles – Bibles with footnotes, concordances, charts, cross references, and maps -- I have. One that is more portable, yet with print large enough to decipher, that I can carry to and from Bible study, which just began, I didn’t have.
So, I traded in a stash of books for just one -- I wonder why the one who disposed of their Bible got rid of a brand-spanking new one. Maybe the NIV edition wasn’t scholarly enough for their studies? I sure hope it wasn’t because they didn’t want it. Too many Bibles on Half-Price Books’ religion shelves look like folks couldn’t or wouldn’t use them – although I honestly am not sure what the protocol is for Bible disposal.
Anyway -- in the coming months, I will be reacquainting myself with apocalyptic literature, and using a Bible with no notes, scholarly, or my own. (It does have cross-references and a concordance – and maps.) It is a letter to me, in the church, and given so that we non-scholarly types could understand from God how He sees us. And I pass along the following, if Revelation piques your curiosity, dear reader:
Study Questions for Apocalyptic Literature
1. What is the situation or what are the conditions among the people to whom the apocalypse is written? How does the text reveal the situation?
2. What images and symbols are used in this text? What effect does it have on you as reader?
3. Where do the symbols appear elsewhere in the Bible? And what, if any, connection does the author intend for us to make?
4. What in the text demonstrates that we are reading about events from God’s vantage point of history? What comfort and insight does this provide for our human perception of history?
5. How does the text anticipate or recall the death resurrection and reign of Jesus Christ?
6. What is the tension or conflict in the text and how does it relate both to the original readers and us?
7. How does the text compel us to respond to the death, resurrection and reign of Jesus Christ?
(from Bible Study: Following the Ways of the Word, pp 176-177.)