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u/fingurdar · 3 pointsr/Christian

Very happy to hear this, my friend!

As a few others have already stated, reading the Bible with an inquisitive mind is a good start. You may need some advice on translation and what books to check out first, so I've provided my opinion below:

  • Regarding translation, there are two types: "word for word" and "thought for thought." The former is more accurate to the original Hebrew/Greek, while the latter is meant to be more comprehensible to a modern audience. If you want "word for word," then I and many others -- including Bible scholars -- enjoy the ESV (English Standard Version). It's a modern translation that's both precise and clear. The NKJV (New King James Version) is also a good "word for word" translation, and it comes on free YouTube audiobook. If instead you want "thought for thought," I'd suggest the NLT (New Living Translation). It's the only "thought for thought" translation I'm familiar with that doesn't seem to regularly distort the text on the finer points. You can access nearly every translation for free on the website Biblegateway.

  • Next, once you have your translation, you need a reading plan. I strongly recommend starting with the Gospels. There are three "synoptic Gospels" (the word synoptic comes from the Greek synoptikos, meaning "able to be seen together"). These three are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The synoptic Gospels each tell the story of Jesus from a relatively similar perspective, but differ in various details (like writing style, emphasis of themes, the recording of Jesus' parables, etc.). Then there is the fourth Gospel, John, which takes a totally different and unique perspective from the synoptics. Therefore, you should start by reading one of the synoptics (Mark is a good choice) and then read John, to familiarize yourself with the heart and soul of Christianity: the story of Jesus Christ.

  • After this, I suggest you read some of the "Epistles," found in the NT after the Gospels. These are letters -- sometimes addressed to a specific person, other times addressed to an entire church or community -- that Jesus' Apostles wrote after His death. They give greater depth, detail, and clarity into the teachings of Christ and Christianity. Most of them are quick reads, but at the same time, packed full of meaning. In no particular order, I suggest you check out, especially, the following Epistles: 1 John (pronounced "First John", different from the Gospel of John but same author); Romans; Ephesians; 2 Corinthians ("Second Corinthians"); 1 Peter ("First Peter"); and James.

  • You can also choose to read Acts, which is the historical account of what the Apostles did after Jesus' death and resurrection (and offers insight into how Christianity went from a tiny community of Jews living in first century Judea, to more than 2 billion believers worldwide).

  • At any time during this process, you can "take a break" from the NT and go to the OT. The OT is further removed from modern-day and thus, naturally, will sometimes be more difficult to decipher -- but it gets easier the more you go at it! In the OT, I would suggest first checking out the Psalms (absolutely beautiful Divine poetry), Genesis (the account of creation, Eden, the fall, the flood, Abraham, etc.), and Proverbs (a collection of short statements of powerful wisdom).

  • When you feel comfortable, consider finding a church nearby to attend, so as to surround yourself with a community who can help you on your path. Also -- again, when comfortable -- consider praying. Prayer need not be complicated; it can be as simple as talking to God about how you're feeling.

    This should be enough to keep you occupied for a little while. :)

    There is also an excellent YouTube series called "Read Scripture" by the channel The Bible Project. It's a collection of 8-12 minute illustrated summaries of each book of the Bible. I find them incredibly well-done, easy to watch, and insightful. I'd recommend using this as a tool. Here is a link to their NT playlist and here is a link to their OT playlist. (You can also consider purchasing a Study Bible, which has footnotes from Bible scholars helping to clarify the text -- I personally own and enjoy the ESV Study Bible from Crossway.)

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    TLDR:

    Translation: ESV or NKJV for precision, NLT for clarity.

    Reading List: (1) Pick one of Matthew, Mark, or Luke. (2) John. (3) Epistles [I recommend 1 John, Romans, Ephesians, 2 Corinthians, 1 Peter, James, in any order]. (4) Acts. (5) At any time, take a break from the NT and check out the OT book of Psalms, Genesis, and/or Proverbs.

    Helpful Study Tools: The Bible Project on YouTube, the ESV Study Bible, and Biblegateway.com

    Next Steps: When comfortable, consider finding a church community to become a member of. Also when comfortable, consider simple prayer.

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    The Bible is the best-selling book (technically, library of books) in the history of the world, and for good reason. If you subscribe to the Christian religion, as I do, then it represents nothing less than the all-powerful God of the universe's personal revelation to mankind. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16). God loves you without limit, in your best of times and worst of times, and desires deeply to have a relationship with you through Christ. "[Jesus said,] 'Abide in Me, and I in you. . . . As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love.'" (John 15:4,9). This relationship of love can utterly transform your life, as it has my own.

    And frankly, even if you're not a Christian, the Bible is still packed with wisdom, value, comfort, and even entertainment (I would love the stories regardless of whether I was a Christian).

    -

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    That's all I can think to say for now. Please feel free to reach out to me by PM if you ever have any questions (even if you need to 'save' this comment for future reference just in case)!

    "[Jesus said,] 'Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.'" (Matthew 7:7)

    Thanks for reading and God bless you.
u/TooManyInLitter · 2 pointsr/atheism

> How did you come to the conclusion that God doesn't exist?

The person making a positive claim assumes the burden of proof. Your Christian friend rejected the null hypothesis that {supernatural deities exist} and accepted the alternate hypothesis that {supernatural deities exists}. What evidence is there to support/justification of the null hypothesis and accept the alternate?

Ask your friend to please present the reasons they believe in the God Horus. If you have evidence to support Horus as your God, evidence that is verifiable and falsifiable, or a philosophical argument that can actually be shown to be linked to a natural physicalistic causality-limited universe, evidence that is not an emotional or feeling based subjective experience based upon confirmation bias from prior knowledge of what your "God" image may be, please feel free to present it.

How is that justification for belief in Horus coming along?

I don't think the Christian believes in Horus. And this is the basis for the atheism worldview.

It's not so much the evidence that one can provide (unless you will accept the 'lack of evidence' as evidence) for atheism. Rather it is such an overwhelming lack of any credible evidence that one can identify, or is put forth by others, to support a belief in supernatural deities. One cannot justify rejection of the null hypothesis that {supernatural deities do not exist} and accept/justify/support the alternative hypothesis that {supernatural deities do exist}.

It is possible to argue that this same position can be used for a theist to justify their belief structure over other differing theistic positions, as many theists claim that they believe based upon a feeling or emotion and/or have Religious Faith (i.e., religious belief without evidence) that supernatural deities are real and that their religious belief in supernatural deities is correct.

However, this position of Religious Faith for their own religious worldview is often the same reason they do not subscribe or believe in many other theistic worldviews - there is no evidence to support belief in the supernatural deities of other religious worldviews; they do not have Faith in other supernatural deities. For example, do adherents to any of the following example supernatural deity triads accept or propose belief in the existence of the other triads listed to which they do not have Religious Faith (or belief without evidence)?

  • Egyptian: Osiris, Isis, Horus<br />
  • Canaanite – Early Israelite: El the Father God, Asherah the Wife/Consort (depicted as a Serpent), Baal-Hadad
  • Hindu Trimurti: Brahma - the Creator, Vishnu - the Maintainer, Shiva - the Destroyer
  • Olympian Greek Religion: Zeus, Athena, Apollo
  • Roman Capitoline Triad: Jupiter, Juno, Minerva
  • Sumerian: Anu, Ea, Enlil
  • Babylonian: Shamash, Ishtar, Tammuz
  • Christianity: Yahweh, Holy Spirit, Jesus

    Related statement concerning the belief in "God": We are all functionally atheists, there just is no evidence to justify support of one, or more, (depending on mono- vs. poly-theistic beliefs) supernatural deity(ies) than a Christian, a theist does.

    &gt; Return and repent before its too late. Death may be around the corner...

    Pascal's Wager? But let's take that self-serving piece of shit statement at face value - What is the purpose of an infinite eternity in Heaven?

    Why? Or better, why strive for Heaven?

    What is Heaven? According to Christianity, heaven is the purpose of all things. Heaven is the reason we live. Heaven is the reason Christ came and the reason he died for our sins. Heaven is the motivator of all of the apostles. Nothing is more important than heaven. Family, love, money, all of these things come second to heaven. [Source]

    Then;

    What is the purpose of Heaven? Heaven is life in its perfected state. We, as creatures of God, are not designed to live in an imperfect world. We are designed to live in a world free from the corruption of sin. We are designed to live in the presence of God where we are free to worship, socialize, and discuss. This life is only a temporary existence. Heaven is where we can exist forever. The day heaven’s gates are opened is the day we begin our lives, not here on earth. The purpose of heaven is to provide a place for us to live. [Source]

    Then;

    What is the purpose of living for eternity in a perfected state with God? In a perfected state with God to provide all it would be Eternally Perfect (and ultimately, Undifferentiated) Bliss, all there is to be known would become known; eternal life in Heaven would quickly become static, unchanging, unremarkable and boring spent in worship of God. Eternal life is ultimately pointless and without merit.

    The real question is: Ultimately, what is the difference between heaven and hell?

    Nothing. Against an infinite eternity, Heaven and Hell are interchangeable.

    ----

    Here are some suggestions for Christian debate topics:

  • The actions attributed to God in the bible are all of a positive morality
  • Yahweh is and always been the one and only true God
  • The purpose of an infinite eternity in heaven and why that purpose is good for those in heaven
  • Evidence to support the mind-body dualism of a soul
  • Evidence to support that the Christian God is the creator of the universe and still intervenes within the universe in a meaningful way
  • Present a coherent definition of God and show how free will is possible (or impossible) under that construct
  • Evidence to support the resurrection of Christ that is non-Biblical
  • Why has prayer never resulted in the healing of an amputee to include at least one healed and fully finctional bone joint?
  • How the conclusion of the parable of the Ten Minas concludes with a positive morality:

    Luke 19:27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them — bring them here and kill them in front of me.

  • Genesis 3 (if you are a Genesis literalist) - Justify Christian morality against the Serpent (or Adversary) giving humankind morality (knowledge of good and evil) when God/Yahweh had decreed that humankind was not to have morality (forbid humans to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil).
  • Why the divine or inspired word of God and Christ and the Spirit was so directed and appropriate for a small low-population tribe of desert dwellers with it's late bronze age/early iron age society applies to today's society.
  • Why the overwhelming majority of Christians, in the one true religion for the one true and only God, seem to be only located in geo-political-socio-groups that they were born, and indoctrinated, into rather than distributed throughout other regions where other religions are prominent.
  • Does God have free will?
  • Why worship a God, Yahweh/YHWH, as the one true and only mono-theistic God when all historical documentation shows that Yahweh did not start out as anything more than a subordinate desert rain/fertility/warrior god to the Canaanite/Ugarit people that would later become known as Israelites (and hence to Jews and from there Christians and Muslims). During the period that Genesis and Exodus (1450-1410 BCE'ish) were (supposedly) being written, represented a time when the religion of the region was still in convergence, differentiation and displacement (synthesis and syncretism) of the polytheistic triad of the most prominent Canaanite and Ugarit Gods: El (the father God), Asherah (goddess, wife or companion to El), and Baal (storm/rain God, son of El) [though there is reference in Ugarit documents to Yahweh also being one of the sons of El] to the monolatry of the storm/rain God Yahweh and from there to monotheistic worship where Yahweh took the supreme position. References to Gods that predate, and are contemporary to, Yahweh can be found throughout the old testament.

    More online references with discussion the origin of the monotheistic God of Israel:

  • Israelite Religion to Judaism: the Evolution of the Religion of Israel
  • The Origins and Gradual Adoption of Monotheism Amongst the Ancient Israelites
  • The evolution of God
  • Ugarit and the Bible

    Other:

  • The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel by Mark Smith
  • The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts by Mark S. Smith
  • A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong
  • The Religion of Ancient Israel (Library of Ancient Israel) by Patrick D. Miller
  • Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches by Ziony Zevit

u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/Christianity

Harm,
I'm glad to hear that you're growing in your new faith! I was an atheist up until 3 years ago when I discovered 'Mere Christianity', so I feel like I'm on a very similar path

&gt;How should I read the bible everyday? I have just been picking it up and opening to a page, but I am sure there is a better way.

There are a number of plans that people suggest. One popular plan involved a daily reading of 1 New Testament chapter, 1 Old chapter, and 1 from Proverbs.

Honestly, I've found it better to just read 1-3 chapters of the same book and plow through it so you get a better flow. For example, I just started reading Acts because I have an intense love of the early Church. I also love Luke, since he approaches the story of Jesus as somewhat of a historian/investigative reporter - all facts. You should find something that you like - preferably New Testament at first - and go through it.

I highly recommend getting a study bible. I love my ESV study Bible which you can get here.

As a new Christian, it's important to put things into context. You may read something and say "huh?" or "what?!?! I can't believe that God said that!". The study Bible has commentary on each verse and puts things into context. There are also great introductions to each chapter which tells you about the author, date of writings, theme, etc. Plus, the maps and additional essays are FANTASTIC.

&gt;How do I stay strong in the face of setbacks?

If you truly are trying to follow God, then you will want to challenge your faith by asking the tough questions. I've seen so many Christians lose their faith because they blindly accepted the Bible...then they were questioned on it by an atheist, couldn't answer, and lost their faith. You should ask the tough questions and then look for the answers. There are tons of apologetics (defense of Christianity) resources out there.

Of course, if you have any confusion over something, please ask us here or search of google. If anything is really bothering you, feel free to message me if you want

&gt;Anything else you would tell a new Christian?

Faith is worthless if you do not apply it to your own life. Let your light shine before all people by being truly loving, kind, and compassionate to all those around you. Spend a few hours at the soup kitchen. Look for an open, thriving church to join. When you wake up in the morning, take a few minutes to say thanks for your material and spiritual blessings and recognize that we deserve none of it but by His grace and love for you, he has provided you a second chance to wipe yourself clean of all sins

u/amslucy · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

&gt; Should I recite prayers or make up my own or do a combination?

Combination. I'm currently reading Spe Salvi, and Pope Benedict explains it like this (paragraph 34):

&gt; For prayer to develop this power of purification [to open us up to God], it must on the one hand be something very personal, an encounter between my intimate self and God, the living God. On the other hand it must be constantly guided and enlightened by the great prayers of the Church and of the saints, by liturgical prayer, in which the Lord teaches us again and again how to pray properly. [...] Praying must always involve this intermingling of public and personal prayer. This is how we can speak to God and how God speaks to us.

The "formulaic" prayers that we memorize are important, in part because they teach us how to pray. Most likely, you'll go through times in your life where you'll feel "dry", and you'll struggle to know what to say to God, struggle to feel his presence. Especially during these times - but during other times as well - these prayers are a real treasure. We can also pray together with the whole Church when we pray these prayers, because many of them are prayers that the whole Church has in common.

But you need to make up your own personal prayers, too. Ultimately, prayer is talking with God, and prayer is about building up a relationship with God. And just like in any relationship, you need to communicate your own personal (unique to you) hopes, fears, sorrows, longings. So you really do need both types of prayer.

&gt; What are the most common or popular prayers for you guys (other than the prayers involved in the rosary, of course)?

There are so many out there. A morning offering is a good idea (that can be recited or in your own words). There's the Angelus, which is often prayed at noon each day (and sometimes at 6 am and 6 pm as well). It's also good to get in the habit of doing a brief examination of conscience before bed, followed by an Act of Contrition (again, either recited or in your own words).

&gt; How do I achieve meditative prayer?

The rosary is a meditative prayer, so there's that. Personally, I really struggle with the rosary (I tend to get overwhelmed by trying to do so many things all at once: counting with the beads, praying aloud, meditating on the mysteries), but you can also do meditative prayer in other ways: the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Lectio Divina are both meditative prayers, and prayer before icons or before the crucifix can also be meditative.

The Catechism has a good section on expressions of prayer which discusses meditative and contemplative prayer.

&gt; How can I study the bible correctly and be able to recall passages as some of you do in the comments?

I can't speak to recollection (I think some of that just comes with time), but a couple of suggestions for Bible study: Probably the easiest way to start is to find a Bible Study at a local parish. It's also a good practice to read from the Bible regularly, ideally with the help of a good study Bible. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is good, but it's New Testament only. Other resources might be a Navarre Bible or the Didache Bible (also from Ignatius press).

&gt; And finally, how does one properly do the process of Lectio Divina by oneself?

For Lectio Divina, check out this explanation.

u/aletheia · 7 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

Regarding the eternal state of those outside the Church: We can say nothing about the eternal state of anyone, except that we believe the saints are in heaven praying for us. We must ask for mercy on all people: Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, heretic, Muslim, atheist, etc. alike.

http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/the-geography-of-heaven-and-hell/

&gt;'Tell me, supposing you went to paradise, and there looked down and saw somebody

&gt;burning in hell-fire — would you feel happy?'

&gt;'It can’t be helped. It would be their own fault,' said the hermit.

&gt;The Staretz answered him with a sorrowful countenance:

&gt;'Love could not bear that,' St. Silouan said. 'We must pray for all.'

We also don't think God is trapped in our altars. He can certainly worth other places, and even in other faiths if he so chooses. We believe ourselves to be the full expression of the Christian faith, but we acknowledge that other Christians have 'this or that' things correct as well. For example, most Christians can faithfully say they believe the Creed, with perhaps (what we regard as) a faulty understanding of what the 'One, Holy, Catholic and apostolic Church', or the addition of the filioque which regard as an improper insertion.

&gt;The only way I can see to confirm any existing denomination is via the Bible, which seems kind of a backwards approach if we're not supposed to interpret the Bible and the Bible itself originates from these traditions. The Bible has earned my trust, but it has done so through reading and interpretation, which is apparently something I wasn't supposed to do.

This might be apropos to your thoughts here: http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/is-the-bible-true-2/

&gt;how would one distinguish if someone in the Church is going against the Church if the Church itself is, in the first place, what they're supposed to listen to.

The teaching of the Church is not simply what is taught in this moment in history: We can look back on the census of the Church through the ages. That consensus is what we are to learn from.

&gt;Specifically, the hierarchical clergy, as if someone is better than someone else.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but this system has existed even from the New Testament where Paul lays out the qualifications for an elder. Even most protestant groups have a similar structure.

No clergyman should think of himself as better than you. It does happen, but then, we are all sinful. The struggle for humility is one of the great battles of being a Christian. Even with the things that can go wrong though, we need these people to help guide us in our faith and growth so that we do not stumble off back into darkness.

&gt;I dislike the whole "if you do X, we excommunicate you" approach

Excommunication is fixable through repentance. The reason excommunication exists is twofold. One is to distinguish who is 'not us' (although, properly, that's being declared anathema -- reserved for those teaching things contrary to the faith of the Church). The other is that it is a pastoral tool to help us. We believe communion to be the real body and blood of Christ, and to take communion with certain rots and attitudes in our hearts is harmful to us. Certain things need to be taken to confession and worked on so that we do not hurt ourselves. The desire for communion, since we regard it as the greatest expression of our faith, when it is denied to us can be a powerful incentive to mend our ways.

&gt;Then, the icons, which I find difficult to reconcile with the commandment of "do not make any graven image of anything above or below".

I will be posting a lecture video in this sub on icons that was given at a university. In the mean time:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icon#Eastern_Orthodox_teaching | http://orthodoxwiki.org/Icon

&gt;I feel like we should be humble instead of showing off with pretty things, before we start worshiping said pretty things.

We're not showing anything off. We have simply included beauty in our worship to remind us of the beauty we will encounter in heaven. If we worship the things then we are Doing It Wrong. I have seen plenty of Orthodox Churches that are decidedly ugly on the exterior, but still functioning and containing beautiful icons of Christ in the form of their people.

&gt;Is there anything I need to know before going to an EO church as a non-baptized Christian who knows approximately nothing?

http://www.frederica.com/12-things/

&gt;Is there such a thing as an EO Bible?

In English we have a study bible. I don't know much about the Russian bible market. The only difference is the inclusion of the deuterocanon, and we base our OT off the Septuagint instead of the Masoretic text.

u/BobbyBobbie · 2 pointsr/Christianity

&gt; Thank you for saying that. You seem sincere, and I misinterpreted some things you said as well. When you said "You have much to learn", that came across as arrogance to me. Like "Buckle up, Junior, let me take you to school." Clearly, I misread that and I apologize, for the misunderstanding and the harsh words.

I can see how it came across that way, but yeah, I assure you that is very far from my intention. Trust me, I'm a fellow learner with you.

&gt; It's going to take some time and effort to wade through this. Christianity really did a number on me. If you've never experienced it before, losing your religion is a gut-wrenching, world-shattering process. And I really do have this tremendous fear that I'll pour my heart out into this project only to have Christians tell me that I was "never a real Christian" or I just "didn't get the heart of the message" like they have so many times before. So I'm harboring a little hostility, I'm sure, but I do want to learn the truth about the Bible to the best of my ability. Thanks for understanding.

Aside from being a great INXS song, I've never lost my religion, because I didn't grow up with one. I imagine it's something like the reverse of what I felt when coming to trust in Christ? If so, yeah, it sounds harsh and unpleasant. Like losing a friend I guess, yeah?

I see from your other posts that you live in the "Bible belt", and if I'm totally honest, I don't know if I'd be a Christian if I grew up there. I'm very fortunate to live in a place where churches are filled with people who are a lot more level headed, love and incorporate science into faith, and aren't scared of living for Christ in a place where that isn't the norm. For me, evolution is a fact, as is an old Earth. I would reject any faith that told me to choose between it and science.

Anyways, I'm glad we could sort this out.

As an actual practical suggestion, I respect both authors to the NIV Cultural Background Study Bible: https://www.amazon.com/NIV-Cultural-Backgrounds-Study-Bible/dp/0310431581

They both do some seriously good work in investigating the ancient world. One thing I've recently realised is that while it's obvious we need linguistic translation to read the Bible, we don't realise we also need cultural translation. I understand from this thread that you've already purchased a Bible? If you're willing, we could work out a way for me to shout you this book and get it delivered to somewhere near where you live. I think you'd find it helpful in your journey.

u/lexnaturalis · 2 pointsr/Christianity

A lot depends upon the resources that you have at your disposal. If you don't have any physical resources (books, commentaries, etc) then you can find most of what you need online. So let's start with resources and then go on to techniques. I'm going to assume that you don't know things, so please don't be offended if I explain something that you already know.

There's a great program available for PC called e-Sword and it allows you to have access to a ton of different Bible translations, commentaries, word studies, and other resources all for free. You also have the option of purchasing additional study material from within the program, but I've found that the free options are quite extensive.

I highly recommend buying at least one study Bible if you don't already have one. The one that I currently use is the ESV Study Bible. There's a Kindle version if you don't want a physical copy, but I prefer a physical copy.

I used to have a hard-copy concordance, but I actually got rid of it because I found myself using electronic versions more. If you don't already know, a concordance is just a giant index. It lets you look up a word (baptism, salvation, propitiation, whatever...) and it gives you a list of all the verses in the Bible that use that word. It can be very useful if you're doing a word study (more on that later). You can find them online or download them (like e-Sword or any other similar tool), so a physical copy isn't necessary.

Once you have those, you're ready to start. So now what?

Well, there are several different ways to study the Bible. If you don't already have a copy, I highly recommend Rick Warren's Bible Study Methods. Regardless of what you think about Rick Warren, that book is a very practical hands-on discussion of different methods of studying the Bible. If memory serves, he covers most (if not all) of the methods I'll talk about.

Now, onward!

  • Word study - This is basically taking a word and seeing how it's used in the Bible. Suppose you're studying baptism. You get a concordance (as discussed above) and look up "Baptism" and it'll give you a giant list of verses. Then you'll probably want "Baptize", "Baptizing", etc. Take all of the verses and start going. If you want to take it a step further, start to look at the underlying Greek/Hebrew words. That's where tools like e-Sword come in handy. You can find a Bible that lets you click the English word and it'll tell you the Greek word. So then you can search the Bible for all other times that the same Greek word is used. That can be useful because the same Greek word can be translated several different ways.
  • Personal Application - This is a quasi-study method. It's basically what the Life Journal uses. You do a series of readings and, using the SOAP acronym, find personal application. I say quasi-study because you're not really using tools to "study", per se. It's extremely useful, though, because if you're journaling every day you'll start to see themes emerge. That's where the study comes from. You can see how God has been guiding you and how God is speaking. At any rate, SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. So you find a scripture and write about it (i.e. provide context, what it's saying, etc) and then how you can personally apply it to your life (not "I believe it means X" but "I ought to do X as a result of this") and then a prayer (obviously related to the scripture/application). It's also nice because you end up reading a lot of Scripture and the Bible is its own best commentary.
  • Book study - This is where you read an entire book and then study that book. Let's choose Ephesians. You read the entire book in one sitting. You then outline the book. It's an epistle (fancy word for letter) so who wrote it? Who was it written to? What are the themes? After you do that, then you read it again and start to pull out verses/passages that apply directly to your life. If you have access to commentaries/tools then you'd also use them to read about the history of Ephesus, the context of the letter, and other background information.
  • Theme study - This requires a bit more work because you need access to a lot of tools. You'll be studying something like "reconciliation" or "salvation" and then doing A LOT of reading. Unless you have the entire Bible memorized you'll need to find tools that will give you passages to read based upon that theme. A lot of study Bibles will have a theme index that will help you. At this point you'll also find commentaries useful because they'll frequently reference other passages and then you'll find yourself bouncing all over the Bible. Taking good notes is required for this, because otherwise you can forgot where you were or why you ended up in Ecclesiastes.

    There are other methods, of course, but that should give you a good start. Hopefully this is helpful.
u/Aristox · 6 pointsr/Christianity

I would thoroughly and enthusiastically recommend the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation of the Bible; specifically The New Oxford Annotated Bible. It is a bible with excellent study notes and important and interesting contextual information included alongside the actual text of the Bible. I did a good amount of research when I wanted to buy a new Bible and I am confident that this is the best Bible that exists in English today. (I mean, Oxford University is a pretty well respected university, right?) If you get this Bible, you'll be sorted for any kind of Bible study. 10/10.

If you don't wish to get this one, i'd definitely still recommend the NRSV as the best English translation, unless you are under about 15 years of age, in which case you might benefit from the New Living Translation (NLT) or The Message: Remix, which is a paraphrase of the whole Bible by a guy called Eugene Peterson.

Do not trust anyone who recommends you to use the King James Version. The King James Version was created in 1611! It is over 400 years old and therefore does not benefit from the advances in scholarship over the past 4 centuries that modern translations do. On top of that, it is written in very hard to understand English comparable to Shakespearean English. Even if it were a trustworthy translation (which it most definitely is not) it would not be worth bothering with simply because of how hard it is to read.
____

Concerning which church to join, I can't really help you there by directing you to a specific place, but make sure that wherever you go does not prioritise adherence to specific doctrines over the value of community. Make sure it is always a place that allows you to ask whatever questions you like and find your own faith- not be forced to conform to someone else's conception of what it should be. Also, every Christian church needs to be active in their local community helping with the physical and emotional needs of people, not just 'preaching the gospel' as if that were all Christians are meant to. A faithful church should be making sure to provide for the needs of the poorest in its community and offer protection and acceptance for the outcasts in it's society. If a church is more focussed on telling you what you shouldn't do rather than what you should do, it probably isn't a great church.

____

If you are just new to Christianity (or even if you're not) please feel free to private message me and we can chat about any questions or whatever you might have and I can share with you whatever wisdom I might have. :D

Peace :)

u/The_New_34 · 31 pointsr/Christianity

As a Catholic, I can assure you Catholics ARE Christians. Mel Gibson is a Catholic... sort of. He's a Sedevacantist.

Man, call yourself a Christian! I would also recommend looking into the Roman Catholic faith or the Eastern Orthdox faith (we're the OG Christians, lol).

Yes, get a Bible, but DON'T read it cover-to-cover. Once you get to Leviticus, you'll be like, "What the actual f--- is going ON here?" Start with the New Testament, specifically one of the Gospels. I personally love the Gospel of Luke because of how it portrays Mary, but the Gospel of John is quite good, too. It's very symbolic and is perhaps the one you could study the deepest.

if you're finding it hard to understand some of the New Testament of the Bible (the part with Jesus, the letters of Paul, and the Book of Revelation,) I would recommend buying the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. It's an actual, readable Bible that contains commentary throughout. The version I linked is only for the New Testament. The Old Testament analysis is still being compiled, but it's almost done.

Also, listen to Scott Hahn's podcast where he breaks down various sections of the Bible.

As for reading materials outside the Bible, I can highly recommend Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis, Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton, and Chesterton's other work The Everlasting Man.

Oh yeah, PRAY! Just have a conversation with God! Talk to him about anything you want! Pray to God, ask the Blessed Mother for intercession, or any of the saints

If you're confused about the various denominations of Christianity, Here's a basic flow chart.

Here's the Nicene Creed, which is a mash-up of what (most) Christians believe

Also, I highly recommend the Podcast Pints with Aquians! It's an analysis of the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, who's life mission was to combine faith with human reason and prove that it was not unreasonable to believe in God, but perhaps it is unreasonable to not believe in God.

I, along with everyone on this sub, will be praying for you! Good luck on your faith journey!

u/Ibrey · 7 pointsr/Christianity

Some key concepts and interesting facts:

  • The deposit of faith comprises not just the Bible, but also sacred tradition. Traditions that have been passed down from the days of the apostles are as authoritative as the Bible.
  • Catholic Bibles contain 73 books rather than the 66 you're probably used to, with longer versions of Daniel and Esther. The difference is known to Catholics as the deuterocanon, and to Protestants as the Apocrypha.

  • The Catholic hierarchy derives its authority from apostolic succession. Each bishop has been consecrated by another bishop, who was consecrated by another bishop, who was consecrated by another bishop, in a line going all the way back to the twelve apostles, and they have inherited the teaching authority of the apostles.
  • The Pope is a bishop specially elected to succeed to the place of the apostle Peter, whom Jesus named the head of the apostles and the rock on which he would build his church. The Pope is the Bishop of Rome because that's where Peter was bishop when he died.
  • The body of bishops, when united with Peter's successor as its head, is infallible. That is, the Holy Spirit will prevent the bishops from teaching an error in faith or morals as binding on the faithful. The Pope individually can also make infallible pronouncements. This doesn't mean that the bishops are free from sin, or that they are infallible on other subjects like physics, economics, or geography.
  • The Eastern Orthodox Churches believe almost all the same stuff as Catholics and also have valid apostolic succession, but deny that the primacy of the Pope is anything more than honorary. The Anglican Church claims apostolic succession, but Catholics reject the validity of their orders due to changes in the ordination rite in the 16th Century.

  • A saint is anyone who is in heaven. The Church declares some people to be saints after a rigorous investigation, but this isn't meant to imply that no other people are saints.
  • Catholics honour the Blessed Virgin Mary above all other saints for her special participation in Jesus' mission of salvation. It is Catholic dogma that she was conceived free from original sin, remained sinless her entire life, and was assumed body and soul into heaven. (Note that she didn't ascend of her own power like Jesus, but was assumed.) However, this doesn't mean she didn't require salvation by Jesus.
  • People have reported Marian apparitions going all the way back to 40 AD (when she was still alive!). The Church declares some of these to be "worthy of belief," but they're considered private revelations no matter how many people witness them, and do not add to the deposit of faith. Catholics are not required to believe in them.
  • Saints can pray for people on Earth. When Catholics pray for the intercession of saints, they're not asking a saint to make some direct intervention of their own, but to pray to God on their behalf.
  • Catholics do not worship the saints, nor Mary, nor anything other than God as the Trinity.

  • The Mass is not just an hour or so of worship music, prayers, and a sermon, though all of those are included; Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is re-presented (not represented) in the Eucharist. It is the same sacrifice, in that it is offered by the same person (Jesus), it has the same victim (Jesus), and it has the same effect (the remission of sins).
  • The doctrine of transubstantiation holds that when the priest holds the bread and wine over the altar at Mass and says the words of consecration (in which moment he acts in persona Christi), they cease to be bread and wine and become the actual body and blood of Jesus, although to the senses they remain indistinguishable from bread and wine.
  • A consecrated host is often publicly displayed for purposes of Eucharistic adoration, a practice which became popular around the 14th Century. Since the host is Jesus, it is right to worship it.
  • If you visit a Catholic Mass, you should know that non-Catholics normally aren't supposed to receive the Eucharist.

    Further reading:

  • Catholicism for Dummies
  • Rome Sweet Home
  • New American Bible
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church
u/themsc190 · 8 pointsr/GayChristians

Welcome! We’re glad you’re here as well. It’s a great community, and I’ve grown so much from it. And I’m so glad folks in your new church are so friendly!

In terms of resources, I’d definitely encourage you to check out the Resources page over in /r/OpenChristian. Reading the Bible is tough, but there are ways to make it a little easier. I’d recommend an academic study Bible, like the Harper Collins Study Bible or the Oxford Annotated Study Bible, which have notes to contextualize and explain confusing concepts. (Be wary of some study bibles, because lots of them just promote fundamentalism under the guise of scholarship.) My suggestion on where is start is the Gospel of Mark, which is the oldest story of Jesus that we have in the Bible, and it is short, just about the length of a short story. If you try to read from front to back, it’s easy to get bored or lose track. Most Bible reading plans actually recommend jumping around!

I’ll highlight a couple resources from that list that you might like. If you’re interested in queer readings of the Bible, QueerTheology.com has a weekly podcast that’s just like 7 minutes long, which is a good place to get introduced to some techniques for reading the Bible as an LGBTQ person.

Two books that might interest you are Jennifer Knapp’s Facing the Music and Vicky Beeching’s Undivided, which are memoirs from lesbian Christians who were in the Christian music scene and subsequently came out.

If you have any more questions or want any more recommendations, feel free to ask or PM me! Peace!

u/davidjricardo · 4 pointsr/Reformed

Here's the relevant section from The DJR 2016 Holiday Gift Buying Guide (Mostly Books). The story Bibles all have images of Jesus, so fair notice it that is a conviction for you. The second one leans more Lutheran than Reformed, but is still highly recommended.

&gt; #10. Resources for Teaching Children About Jesus

&gt; [The Jesus Storybook Bible](http://www.amazon.com/The-Jesus-Storybook-Bible-Whispers/dp/0310708257) - does a great job of teaching Bible stories as a unified story of redemption and not just moral fables. About 30 or so stories.

&gt;
The Story Bible - Best job I know of retaining the biblical wording in simplied form. More than any other children's Bible, this one sounds like the Bible. About 150 stories, great illustrations. Excerpt

&gt; What's In the Bible? DVD series that shows how the whole bible fits together to tell the gospel story. Absolutely fantastic. Most adults in the church would learn many things from watching it. Here's a 1 minute introduction video.

&gt;
A catechism for young children - a simplified version of the Westminster Shorter catechism. Even young kids can memorize a bunch. Depending on how close to her second/third birthday your daughter is, she may not be there yet, but she will get there soon. Both of my kids also know the Lord's Prayer and the Apostle's Creed.

&gt; * Sing the Bible with Slugs &amp; Bugs. There are a lot of good Bible song collections out there, but this one is the best. Lyrics are mostly straight from scripture. Quirky and catchy so that kids will learn the songs within a play or two, but grownups can tolerate (even enjoy) repeated plays. Also contains the only children's song version of [Deuteronomy 14:21].

New to the list for 2017 are:

u/SonOfShem · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I apologize in advance if this seems preachy or me trying to influence you, that's not my intention. I just want to help you understand what Christianity really is. There's lots of confusion.

-----

First, you don't have to be baptized to get saved, or go to heaven (Jesus told one of the criminals on the cross that "today you will be with me in paradise.", and he didn't get baptized). Baptism is a demonstration of your faith, but not a prerequisite to salvation.

Second, be careful any time you start adding/removing parts of the Bible, that you aren't doing so just because you don't like it. Because if that's the case, you will end up worshiping a god of your own creation, rather than the God of all Creation. (not saying that there are no transcription/translation errors in the Bible, but just be careful, and make sure you have substantial evidence [not just the opinions of random guys on the internet] supporting your decision).

&amp;nbsp;

But to address your worry about not being a "true Christian" for a while: Christianity is not about following rules, going to church, or trying to do good. These are all byproducts of Christianity, but if you try to just go after these, you WILL fail (1). Being a Christian is just about making a decision that you will give the creator of the universe complete and total control of your life (2).

The benefits of this, is that when we seek after God (try to get to know him better through prayer and reading the Bible), all those things people think are Christianity will start to show up in your life. You don't have to stop drinking, but you'll want to at some point once you have spent time with God.

&amp;nbsp;

And as far as finding a denomination, I'd suggest a careful, methodical approach: be incredibly suspicious of anything the pastor says, and do your own research. Pastor says healing is not for today? Go up to him after service and ask him (politely) where you can find more reading about how he came to that opinion. Pastor says healing is for today, but not for everyone? Same thing. Pastor says healing is for today, but and is for everyone? Ditto.

Combine that with constant prayer asking God to show you the right church for you, and you should find the right one in God's time. (I personally had to do this, since I grew up non-denominational, and then moved out of state to a small-ish city for work, and had to find a new church to go to). You may not find a church you 100% agree with, but before leaving after a small disagreement, ask yourself how important your disagreement is. Is the pastor saying Jesus wasn't actually the Christ? Probably time to find a new church (is that even a church at that point?). Does the pastor say God's favorite color is red? Maybe not a big deal.

Another thing to look at is the results of the ministry. (3) If the church is changing peoples lives for the better, then it's probably a good church (maybe not your church, but a good church none the less).

Make sure you take time observing any church you go to though. You can't tell how good or bad a car is in a glance. Sure you can notice if something's really bad, but some problems don't show up unless you take your time to really examine the car, and/or give them time to exasperate.

&amp;nbsp;

Bottom line is, think analytically about scripture, compare that to what's being preached, and judge (examine) the ministry by the effects they have on those around them.

&amp;nbsp;

P.S. Strong's Concordance, and a good study Bible (4) are essential tools to study and understand the original text, to check for translation errors. I prefer physical copies, but you can find Strong's and plenty of free study bibles here. The Strong's is like a Dictionary for Greek and Hebrew words, so if aren't sure of the meaning of a word, you can look it up there. Study Bibles are great resources for looking up if a verse or group of verses mean what you think they mean (obviously this one is more subject to the author's opinion).

&amp;nbsp;

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(1) "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God", Rom 3:23. The Greek word translated sin means continuous, habitual, intentional disobedience to God.

(2) The Greek word translated "Lord" in Romans 10:9 is the same word used to describe slave-masters. So we should consider God in this way. We submit our lives to him, not on a case-by-case basis, but overall, in every area. Note that this does not become a reality immediately, but is instead a continuous process of change.

(3) "You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. [...] A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit." Matt 7:16-17.

(4) the link is to my favorite (and a theologically neutral) study bible. It puts things into context, giving you insight into the culture of the time, and scholar's notes on events and their significance. Obviously remember that the study texts are the opinions of a man, or group of men, and are not infallible.

u/i_make_song · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The Bible is a collection of small works written by many people from a select variety of cultures over a period spanning many (many, many, many) years. Each separate work was frequently changed intentionally and unintentionally (in insignificant and significant ways), and as I understand it we actually don't have any of the original manuscripts. There is a ton of physical evidence for the frequent changes to various manuscripts because we have so many copies. The Biblical manuscript page of Wikipedia does a much better job of explaining this.

So even if we had perfect translations of the existing bajillion manuscripts (we don't) it wouldn't matter because they aren't the original manuscripts. I don't think it's very likely that they had any sort of otherworldly knowledge on them, but hey anything is possible right? It's just not very likely. I think a better exercise when debating is pointing out clearly immoral passages that cannot be interpreted in multiple ways (try 2 Kings 2:23).

Any serious historians (including Christian historians) do not believe we have an inerrant Bible. Although that sure seems to be the rhetoric coming from the religious right.

Some translations are also much more academically rigorous than others. Rupurt Murdoch literally owns the NIV translation and the NIV translation is overseen by only 15 people. You can interpret that however you would like.

I personally recommend the The New Oxford Annotated Bible. I have it in Kindle format (basically a DRM protected PDF) as it's a fantastic translation. As I understand it is the translation most often used by biblical scholars.

The Bible is actually fairly complicated compilation of writings with all of the different sources and languages that are complied together, but it's a fairly interesting story.

I'm by no means an expert on this stuff, but I've tried my best to be as accurate as possible. Someone let me know if I've slipped up somewhere.

Honestly, the topic is extremely deep, and my interest in the bible has become almost nonexistent over the past few years.

I've debated with countless "the Bible is the inerrant word of God" people with pretty solid evidence and points and it all seems to be that these people use circular logic. I'm not saying they're unintelligent (they're actually quite intelligent) they seem to be clinging on to an improbable belief or in some sort of delusion/denial state.

I think a better question is who decided these people literally talked to "god", and how did they determine what was canonical? Why couldn't I just write a new chapter of the Bible today?

Sorry if my rambling is incoherent.

u/MegasBasilius · 4 pointsr/AskLiteraryStudies

I discovered Fadiman and Major's book when I was 20 y/r and did this very thing. It was the best decision I ever made. A few notes:

1.) The Durant's "Story of Civ" is excellent, but is so antiquated that it's approaching literature more than history at this point. It's also so long that only segments of it are brilliant, and quite a lot is tedious for the non-historian. I suggest only browsing through it as meets your fancy.

For a good, condense, and reasonably up to date history the world, the best I'm aware of is by the late J.M. Roberts, found on Amazon for $25.

2.) I started chronologically, and had mixed results. If you take that route, take periodic breaks with newer material to keep things interesting.

3.) Don't worry about them being "too complicated to comprehend." These books will always offer you treasures no matter the age. Read and reread them as you see fit over your life time.

4.) The 4th ed of Fadiman's book is the best, but the third edition has a superior introduction. See if you can find a cheap paperpack of it somewhere.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Edit: If you want to add the bible to your collection, this is the best edition out there. (A new ed is coming out April 1st!)

u/Earthtone_Coalition · 2 pointsr/atheism

A lot of people here have claimed that "there are no unbiased books." This is simply not so, unless it's meant in some facile sense--presenting evidence to support a thesis ought not be interpreted as a bias for that thesis (though the thesis, on its own, may be biased).

Mind you, finding an unbiased book on religion is not so easy. Practically all the New Atheist books are right out, so no Harris, Hitchens, or Dawkins. That's not to say that these aren't fantastic writers, but they obviously wouldn't fall into the category you describe elsewhere of "an agnostic that states all of the beliefs of both sides and arguments for it without pushing towards a particular side."

My recommendations would be as follows:

God is Not One by Stephen Prothero -- This is a book on comparative religion in which the author seeks to demonstrate that the major religions of the world are not all "different paths up the same mountain," as is sometimes expressed to infer that all theists worship the same god. He gives a pretty balanced, if brief, account of the major underlying differences between the world's religions. Informative and interesting, but not particularly profound.

The Case for God by Karen Armstrong -- Here Armstrong examines how religions have changed over time. There's a focus on Christianity and she does a good job of demonstrating the immense changes that the religion has undergone since its inception. Arguing that today's systems of beliefs and views of God are starkly different from those our ancestors, Armstrong makes a strong argument for a return to the Gnostic tradition for those seeking to understand the supernatural. Sadly, she does devote a chapter at the very end of her book (needlessly, I think) to criticizing the New Atheist movement.

The Shadow of a Great Rock by Harold Bloom -- This is simply a literary examination of the King James Bible. No position is taken on the merits of the claims made in the Bible or of individuals who believe these claims. It can be very slow at times, as Bloom painstakingly demonstrates the careful literary decisions made by the authors of the KJV and compares it against contemporary examples like the Geneva and Tyndale Bibles. Obviously, this book is only tangentially related to the topic of religion since it focuses so intently on only one book--having said this, I never really understood or appreciated how people could consider the Bible such a beautiful literary masterpiece until I read this book. Bloom conveys his love of the work (in a purely literary sense--he's Jewish) on every page.

HONORABLE MENTION: The New Oxford Annotated Bible -- It's a study Bible with lots and lots of footnotes and maps and cross-references. Very thorough. It makes everything generally clearer and easier to understand. I can't vouch for a lack bias, since I'm not knowledgeable enough on the topic to discern what parts of the footnotes and introductions are questionable bias on the part of the authors and what's just the straight dope. Further, as with any translation of the Bible, bias may be inherent within the very text itself--though this version does a good job of mitigating that by indicating where and how other translations differ.

u/ledhead0501 · 2 pointsr/exmormon

It's hard to say what most Christians think of the passage. What Isaiah meant with this whole thing is probably entirely local, small, and broadly insignificant. The chapter starts with Yahweh talking about how he is going to let Israel be ravaged by its enemies, but then, later, Israel will rise again like a voice from the dust. And then the LORD (Yahweh) will come and help Israel, and confound those Prophets and Seers (who are probably the ones saying that Israel is completely doomed). They will not be able to understand this here prophecy, the one that the author is writing, because they will call it like a "sealed book" and they "won't be able to read"... but Yahweh will have the upper hand. He will confound the wise, and their "wisdom shall perish," because Israel, despite the odds, will survive the onslaught. And then Lebanon (which is like the whole area in which the Israelites lived) will be like a forest again, and the blind shall see, and everything will be right again. And all will glorify the God of Israel (Yahweh), because he, despite what the wise ones were saying (those that thought Israel was doomed), saved Israel.

This is what it is saying, by almost all standard readings of it. The LDS reading makes no sense, and it certainly doesn't make sense with any more accurate translations. It only works with the outdated KJV, and only if you squint really hard. I would recommend picking up a NRSV Study Bible, if you'd like further explantation. Here is a fantastic choice, with some of the most up-to-date Biblical scholarship

edit: More on this "sealed book" thing. The NRSV, which is one of the most accurate translations out there, says exactly this: "The vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to those who can read, with the command 'Read this,' they say 'We cannot, for it is sealed.' And if it is given to those who cannot read, saying 'Read this,' they say, 'We cannot read' "

The author is using a simile. It is not literally a sealed book, it will just be like a sealed book, because the other "wise" people in Ancient Israel will refuse to heed the words. If you think that this writing had anything to do with 19th century America, trust me, Isaiah is rolling in his grave over that.

u/MapleLeafEagle · 2 pointsr/Christianity

In addition to what others have said, use many different translations and study bibles.

Personally, I find the ESV, NIV, and NLT to be a great mix. ESV offers the closest "word for word" translation, NLT offers the best "thought for thought" translation without straying to far from the original words, and the NIV is a great middle ground between the two. Occasionally I use the NASB as well which a professor recommends as another "word for word" translation.

As for study bibles, I own many but the three I use most often are The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, The Reformation Study Bible, and the NIV Study Bible. I have also found Audible audiobooks to be a great service. The NIV Listener's Bible is excellently performed and well paced. I was able to listen to the whole bible in a little over a month using this audio version!

Prayer will help you properly interpret scripture. Often I find picking a particular book to spend lots of time with can be very helpful. I usually recommend starting with Luke, John, or one of Paul's Letters. Go through the book with a fine tooth comb, paying close attention to the cross references and footnotes. The bible is beautifully interconnected and studying one book closely will help you learn other scriptures as well!

u/devnull5475 · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

The answer is no (as many people have already said). However, the question is interesting.

  • Reading or hearing the whole Bible is a good goal. I read it through myself some years ago, and it was satisfying.
  • But, it's not really edifying. The Bible just can't be absorbed that way. It's a huge, sprawling collection of ancient texts. Too strange to absorb like a beach novel.
  • By the same token, hearing 80% or 90% (whatever %) read at Mass, out of order, isn't going to be a very effective Bible Study.
  • On the other hand, Mass isn't Bible Study. That's an idea we should guard against.
  • I realize that many people praise the new post-conciliar Lectionary because it includes a big percentage of Bible. My response is: What makes that a good thing? Is it because now Catholics know the Bible better? ~SNORT~ Is it because now Catholics understand Christianity better? ~SNORT~
  • In fact, the old Missale Romanum, with its Top 50 approach, probably did a much better job of teaching Catholics what they need to know. Kinda like the stained glass and the statues: The Basics. What You Need.
  • Anyway, Bible Study is good clean fun and I recommend it to anyone. FYI, NAB and NIB are very good resources.
u/greym84 · 7 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Here is more info on the King James Version (KJV) compared to other translations.

On the KJV Today

Due to archaeological discoveries (e.g. Qumran), improvements in linguistics, and other things we have better translations. It's not uncommon for Christians to believe that the Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant, but some fundamentalists believe that the King James is the only divinely inspired translation (note, even the KJV has undergone updates and revision).

Why are there different translations?

While all translators have some bias, most are very deliberately objective. The variance in translation usually comes in style: Accuracy vs. readability.

How are they different?

BibleGateway is handy for comparing translations. Here's a familiar passage in several translations. The first translation is the KJV (revised from the original 1611, but not the most recent New King James). The second is the New American Standard Bible (NASB), which is the most literal and accurate English translation. It's modern English, but wordy. The third is the New Living Translation (NLT), designed to be easier to read.

Which translation should I use?

There is no best translation. There are solid modern translations that try to combine the accuracy of the NASB and ease of the NLT. The New International Version (NIV, 2011 update preferred) is the most popular translation, with the English Standard Version (ESV) probably being the best (I recommend the ESV as the go-to translation).

However, if you were going to own one Bible for academic study, I'd seek out a cheap used copy of the New Oxford Annotated Bible (the translation is a kin of the ESV). If you want to just read it, I recommend The Books of the Bible which is in a pleasant single column format, uncluttered by footnotes, verse numbers, etc.

u/otiac1 · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

Start with your interests. You may find that certain topics pique your curiosity more than others. A lot of what I've learned about Catholicism resulted from having a question, and wanting that question answered. Sometimes these questions are the results of selfish desire (ie, "Why can't I just have sex whenever I want?" or "Why do I have to give money to the poor?"), sometimes they're the result of professional interest ("What my employer is asking me to do seems immoral. Am I cooperating in evil?"), and sometimes they've just sounded interesting as I browse an FAQ box on various Catholic websites. Typically these questions will have a simple answer, with as deep an understanding that can be pursued as far as we want to take it (such as the relationship between man and woman being reflective of the Trinity, or the universal destination of goods being such that it isn't wrong for us to want nice things as long as recognize the source and ultimate orientation of those goods). Catholics Come Home may be just the thing for you, whether or not you consider yourself a 'returning Catholic' or a non-Catholic looking for the Truth. They've got some great spots airing on television and radio, one or two of which you may recognize (my personal favorite is Epic - I wish they offered it in high definition).

If you're looking for a video (or series of videos) to watch, Catholicism by Fr Robert Barron is amazing. He also offers a series of short videos on youtube via his Word on Fire ministry.

If you're looking for a Bible or companion thereto, Dr. Scott Hahn has a lot of great resources with links for ordering on his website. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is one that I own and recommend. It's got a lot of great footnotes and embedded resources for really giving you a better understanding of the literal interpretation of Scripture.

If you're looking for simple audio commentary suitable for listen on the way to work, on a plane, or in a train, check out Lighthouse Catholic Media. Lots of very affordable CDs that offer talks in chunks of about an hour from popular Catholic speakers.

Last but not least, you can't go wrong with some primary sources. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a great place for answers, though they may be a bit deeper than someone starting out may feel comfortable with. The latter is especially true of the Code of Canon Law.

And, of course, you're always free to use the search function on /r/Catholicism or post general queries on the sub itself.

Welcome home.

u/iusedtolovelegos · 2 pointsr/AskParents

I don't think you're overthinking, I think you're doing awesome. I think even as a religious person who actively studies her faith, I will sometimes struggle with the theological questions my kids throw at me. Sometimes they are deep! I think honesty is one of the most important things in the world and I think it is good say "I don't know" when you really don't know- but I usually follow with an "I'll find out" or I try to lead them to where they can (so in this case it seems like Grandma.)

Now as a Catholic, I don't teach my kids to believe God is a magical genie who grants my wishes. That is definitely not true (I don't know any religion that teaches that) and I think can be very confusing and ultimately heartbreaking for a child because when they realize God doesn't always grant you your wishes then it's because they did something bad or because maybe God doesn't love them or because then he must not exist. If you are not wishing to challenge her belief in God, I wouldn't tell her you don't believe in Jesus or that you give her things and not God because that's confusing- basically I wouldn't deny God's love for her or his existence. She's your daughter and she wants to know you and what you believe. So it's not something that you're against but more so neutral on- that's what I would communicate to her. So when she says these things, I would just tell her "That's not something I don't know too much about." Or "I don't know about that." She will get the picture you don't have certainty one way or another on the subject so she can choose to believe what grandma taught her but she also can choose your ambivalence toward the subject as well.

I do agree with other posters that buying her books would be positive. If it's a connection you want to foster between her and your parents then maybe let your parents spearhead that. There's one little Bible I like that I think is kid level but pretty deep at the same time that a good friend of mine likes- she is very Agnostic while her husband is a light Catholic but follows her lead on the kids. It's called the Jesus Storybook Bible. Look it up and see if it suits you. Good luck!

u/majkui · 2 pointsr/exjw

I will give my response to your post. I read the other comments, thinking that I would just add to what they said without repeating what had already been said, but realized that then my own comment would become fragmented if I took that into account, so I will ignore what others have said.

&amp;nbsp;

&gt; I lied to the elders by saying I read it when I got baptised after they asked if I read the bible everyday.

I think this is a very common lie. I don't think many elders have read the Bible either.

In fact, every single time some Jehovah's Witness say "I know this is the truth, because I have investigated the evidence myself" they are lying.

Another very common lie: "I don't masturbate"

The truth is, almost everyone masturbates, most people have not read the Bible, and every single one that has actually investigated the evidence for themself has left the religion, at least mentally.

&amp;nbsp;

&gt; I’m a slow reader (I think I might have adhd. Should I see a doctor?) and I’m up to Genesis 3.

Going to a doctor could be a good idea, perhaps. I don't know the extent of your problem.

Personally, when I haven't been reading anything for a long time, in the way I read the Bible, then it will be slower. But then if I keep at it for a few days or a week I will speed up. Sometimes if I read two hours straight, the first hour I will read with difficulty, but the second hour I read much better. Another thing that could speed up your reading is if you don't speak the words, neither out loud nor in your head, because it takes time to "pronounce" the words. But reading text without even pronouncing it mentally is not something everyone knows how to do, and I don't know how to teach it.

Though, even if you only read the text in the same speed as you speak normally, you will still easily read through the Bible in a year, unless your life is busy.

&amp;nbsp;

&gt; I’m very very confused about Genesis 1 and 2 so far as it seems like it contradicts itself so much.

My understanding of the scientific explanation is that Genesis 2 was written first by one author, and later Genesis 1 was written by another author and added to the beginning of Genesis, and the theologies of those authors are different.

The first author, who wrote Genesis 2 about Adam and Eve, thought, according to my own understanding of the text, that humans were first created as mere animals, and then they gained "knowledge of good and bad" and became more than animals. This was why they were naked without feeling any shame, because they were just as any other animals. The author was a child of his time and culture, and thought it was uncivilized to be naked, unaware that it is a cultural idea not universal to humans.

This might also explain why the snake could speak: the author might have thought that as Adam and Eve were just mere animals, they could speak the same language as animals. Though there are other possible explanations.

Christians usually describe the events in Eden as "the Fall", but this is not supported by the text. Instead, it is "the Ascension". The two trees represent two qualities of gods that set gods apart from animals. The "knowledge of good and bad" represents the author's understanding of the mental difference between humans and animals, which he believed originally only belonged to the gods.

Jehovah lied to Adam and Eve about the tree, essentially saying that it was poisonous, to keep them from eating and ascending to the level of the gods. The snake revealed the truth, and they ate and became as gods. Jehovah felt threatened by this, and expelled them from Eden to prevent them from gaining the second quality of gods: eternal life, by eating from the tree of life.

This was the author's explanation why humans are partly divine, by having knowledge as gods, and partly animal, by being mortal as animals.

The second author, who wrote Genesis 1, disagreed. He thought God created the humans in the image of God from the outset. There was never any time when humans were only mere animals, and no "Ascension". There was never a "tree of knowledge".

The second author plagiarized a pre-existing creation myth, and made some changes. One of the changes was that he removed a battle between God and the cosmic waters, because according to the second author, God is omnipotent. The original audience knew the pre-existing myth, and could notice the difference, but most modern readers don't know about the pre-existing story.

Genesis 1:1-3 should read something like

&gt; When God began to create sky and land—the land being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of Tehom and a wind from God sweeping over the water—God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

In the original story, there was a battle between the gods and Tehom. In Hebrew, "Tehom" is a proper noun, a name, even though most translations hide this.

The Watchtower Society brags about not hiding the fact that "YHWH" is a name, and transcribes it as "Jehovah", but they are still guilty of hiding the name "Tehom" and other names in the Bible such as "El". (Also, as others have stated, the Watchtower inserts the name "Jehovah" into the Bible where "YHWH" is not found, like in the New Testament.)

This is just how I understand it, though it is also based on what I have heard from scholars. I may have gotten details wrong.

When I was PIMI and read it not too carefully, I thought that the story about Adam and Eve "zoomed in" on the sixth day of creation. Thus, Genesis 1 described the creation of heaven and earth and humans, while Genesis 2 took a closer look at the creation of humans. Now I don't believe this is correct.

If one tries to read Genesis as a single coherent story, to the limited degree it is possible, then this is probably how I would read it today: First God created sky, land (a flat earth in an earth-sized snow globe), and humans in six (literal) days, then he rested on the seventh day, then after an unspecified time, Jehovah created Adam, that started out as a mere animal, but then ascended. Thus Adam and Eve were not the first humans, though it seems the first humans were gone, because there were no one to tilt the ground.

&amp;nbsp;

&gt; Anyway, what translation should I use? ... Of course, there’s the King Lebron James Version, the American standard version and a bunch of others too. I want an actual physical copy of the bible too, I’m a young person but I’m so sick of looking at technology all the time so I’d prefer an actual bible. I also don’t want a biased translation or one that may have just added or removed things from the bible where they see fit. I want a bible as close to the original texts as possible.

I like the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) (specifically as The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 5th ed.) and the New Jewish Publication Society's Tanakh (NJPS) (as The Jewish Study Bible, 2nd ed.).

However, there is no translation without bias, or even without mistranslations. At least not one of the whole Bible in a single volume.

But there are definitively better ones and worse ones.

Some things that speak in favour of NRSV:

  • NRSV is an Ecumenical translation, involving Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox, and the Old Testament involves a Jewish translator as well. This means that when they disagree about the interpretation, they tend to stick to the more literal reading that they all agree on. It still has bias, but not as much as translations made by a single denomination.

  • NRSV is created by non-fundamentalists, which means a higher acceptance of a scientific understanding of the text.

  • NRSV is on the spectrum towards a formal translation, which means it is closer to a word-for-word translation. This means it has less smooth English, but also less room for bias.

  • NRSV is recommended by academics, both by secular scholars and non-fundamentalist Christian scholars.

    When I first started researching different translations to decide which ones I should get, I thought "Using 'Jehovah' or 'Yahweh' is superior to using 'the LORD', so I will start looking at translations that use 'Jehovah' and 'Yahweh'", but I soon realized that the winner was NRSV despite not using 'Jehovah/Yahweh'.

    The Watchtower brags about getting "YHWH" right, but the name "YHWH" is only about 1% of the total number of words. Getting 1% of the words right, while being dodgy about the remaining 99% isn't that impressive.

    Sometimes the gender neutral language of NRSV is criticized. An example of the gender neutral language is that in the New Testament the phrase "brothers and sisters" is used where many mainstream translations use "brothers". This isn't necessarily wrong, because the Greek word could refer to an all-male group or a mixed gender group. But some have said that NRSV occasionally use gender neutral language where the intended meaning is not gender neutral.
u/digifork · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

I have a few book recommendations for you. I don't know what you can find in French, but that is what I recommend.

Bible:

  • I found the Oxford Catholic Study Bible: Personal Study Edition to be a great resource. It is a NABRE translation and has tons of notes and a reading guide. It really helped me when reading the Bible for the first time.
  • A priest at my church uses the standard Oxford Catholic Study Bible. I hear that the notes in that edition are more theological and not intended for beginners.
  • Finally, if you just looking for NT, I hear the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is a great RSVCE study Bible.

    Books:

  • I really like Scott Hahn books. He does a really good job distilling the faith into layman's terms. His book, Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians lists different topics about the Catholic faith in the eyes of the Church Fathers.
  • Also, if you want to hear good lectures, The Modern Scholar lecture series on Audible gives really good treatments on specific topics of the church.
u/centurion88 · 7 pointsr/Reformed

&gt; Asking r/Reformed if you should be Reformed

Seriously though, I will echo what others have said here.

Your first priority should be finding a solid church that teaches the Bible, preaches the gospel, and loves people well. Being a Christian in this world is hard, and you can't do it by yourself. Denomination wise, in my experience, PCA is good, Acts 29 is good, and SBC churches are sometimes good and sometimes bad (I haven't been to a whole lot of churches. There are people here that could give you a lot more suggestions on this end). If you feel comfortable giving your general location, I'm sure someone here could give a good recommendation.

Study the Bible. You should only be Reformed if you believe it is biblical. I would start with the book of John.

A good practice I learned is that as you are reading a passage in the Bible pay attention to and write down:

-what it says about God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: their character, their attributes, and their actions in the world and their actions between each other.

-the audience, the time period: context, context, context is crucial when studying the Bible. The ESV Study Bible really helps in this as it gives all the historical and contextual information about each book in a couple of pages before each book

-direct commands that are given and just as importantly, to whom they are given.

There are many great commentaries that are online that you can reference to help you. John Calvin has a commentary. Matthew Henry's commentary is really good. Charles Spurgeon has a sermon on every passage in the Bible. John Piper's website Desiring God probably has a sermon on every passage in the Bible. There is an endless supply of solid material that can help you in this, but I would caution you to keep the focus on the Bible itself.

Joining a solid, local church, however, would help you the most in learning about the Bible.

Edit: Also, begin to pray regularly. Pray about these things and any thing that worries you or anything that you are thankful for. Praying can be hard, I still struggle with it myself even after being a Christian for ten years, but reading the Bible and getting involved in a church will help you in this as you learn more about who God is.

u/EACCES · 2 pointsr/Christianity

&gt; I'm not attending at the moment nor have I in quite some time.

Well, obviously, everybody is going to say you should fix that! Maybe try out several different churches, so you can find the best place, and maybe you'll feel like you've chosen it on your own, instead of just following along with family or whatever (even if you end up at the same church as before).

&gt;I've read the occasional scripture but not recently. I am in the market for my own bible (never owned my own though).

You should read a gospel or two, and a nice Epistle. How about my favorite synoptic, Matthew. Then read John, and then Romans or 1and2 Corinthians. There are several good Bible translations available now. The most popular ones for this subreddit are the NRSV and ESV, and then maybe the NABRE. I've got this Bible; it's a good translation and it has tons of notes.

&gt;No books.

Just about everybody likes CS Lewis. NT Wright's stuff is very good.

&gt;I guess I'm wondering if it is odd to feel so lost?

I don't think so, I think it happens to most people. It's good that your family kept you in church, but at some point you've got to take over the task yourself, and often you don't know what you need to know. You should be trying to fix it, but it sounds like you've started that task, so I'd just keep at it, and don't worry about it.

u/NotADialogist · 1 pointr/Christianity
  1. Read Matthew and Luke through three times.

  2. Then read all four Gospels.

  3. Then re-read all four Gospels in parallel with the Praxapostolos (Acts/Epistles/Revelation). However many chapters of the Gospels you read, read the same number of Praxapostolos chapters.

  4. When you finish #3, start #3 again, but now add a Psalm a day. Maybe break up Psalm 117 into 3 pieces.

  5. In parallel with #4, you might add a chapter or two from the Wisdom Books each day. Make sure your Bible has the Deuterocanonical books Wisdom of Solomon and Wisdom of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus). These books were included in the Bible canon by all Church councils in the first millennium and are very valuable. I recommend the Orthodox Study Bible or Oxford Annotated RSV (not the NRSV) with "Apocrypha". The Wisdom Books are Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach.

  6. Then, in parallel again, you might add a chapter or two of the remaining books of the Old Testament, starting with Genesis and reading through all of the prophets.

    I would also recommend you get some first millennium commentaries. For the Gospels you might get the set of Theophylact's commentaries, or consult the commentaries of John Chrysostom (Matthew, John) or Cyril of Alexandria (Luke) online.

    I recommend first millennium commentaries because (1) you will find that they are the source of many of the key ideas expressed in later commentaries; and (2) they come from a time before there was a separate "Roman Catholic Church" or "Orthodox Church" or various Protestant churches, all with conflicting interpretations of the Bible.
u/_RennuR_ · 1 pointr/Bible

Seems like a pretty cool, from what it looks like in the passage you have shown us, it seems to be a more Hebrew and Picturesque interpretation of the bible! My personal favorite version is ESV, mainly because of the fact it is the translation for one of the best and widely known Study Bibles out there.

Could you possibly share another excerpt from it showing more differences?

Thanks in advance and thanks for sharing! Also hello everyone, my name is RennuR(if you couldnt tell), and I'm new to this community! I look forward to being a good contributive member, and make it my goal to spread The Great Commission and learn and teach about the Bible!

u/nowxisxforever · 1 pointr/MMFB

Yes, actually. A. C. Grayling wrote The Good Book, which is a 'humanist bible' and something I find very comforting. This site has some quotes from it. I recommend taking a look at Consolations, specifically, which is centered around grief/death. Lamentations is pretty cool too. It takes the form of the Bible but is secular.

Accept the mortality of ourselves and those we love, and see that to give life is to prepare to lose it, to love is to prepare to grieve, and yet: love, and give life, and be full of courage and honour, for this is our human lot, and we must make it as fine as our powers allow. Consolations 13:18-19

u/PXaZ · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Get an NIV study bible and see what a modern translation and competent commentary will reveal as to the meaning of such verses. I like this one: https://www.amazon.com/NIV-Cultural-Backgrounds-Study-Bible/dp/0310431581 Seems to be from the perspective of open-minded believers.

For that verse, it comes across very similarly in NIV as in KJV. But as you say, especially the word "faith" is open to interpretation in English. And if you want to go crazy, check it out in the Greek: https://biblehub.com/interlinear/ephesians/4-5.htm

Mouse over each of those words and see a range of definitions drawn from a concordance. "faith" comes from Greek "pistis" which has to do with confidence, trust, belief. Look it up in Wiktionary https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CF%80%CE%AF%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B9%CF%82 for further definitions. You can come up with your own translation, e.g. "one Master, one confidence, one rite of baptism" or whatever.

Other people have pointed out that a church can't even be true or false. What does it mean for an organization to be true? Could UPS be true? Or the United States government? Of course it's shorthand for people believing in the main teachings of the church and having confidence that its leadership inspired by God. So ask yourself if those things are true, and how you might know it, etc.

There's a whole world of scholarship on the bible ranging from faithful (non-Mormon) commentaries to atheistic deconstructions. The documentary hypothesis stuff is interesting but not nearly so scientific as it's made out to be. But it seems clear that the bible was assembled from a number of contradictory sources and cannot be ascribed to the hand of God himself. It evolved over time. It's an amazing book, but the pure word of God it is not. Whether God works some purpose through it is up to you. It is the mythical foundation of our culture, and that is not something to be mocked, but rather honored. It's an entire library gifted to us by many generations past. It has things to say.

u/MrTimscampi · 20 pointsr/SzechuanSauceSeekers

Let's at least link to a well translated version of the book, shall we ?

Here's the New American Standard Bible

Note: I'm atheist, but I've been doing some research about bible translations out of an interest to read the thing at least once and pretty much everybody says the New American Standard Bible is the best translation available in English. It's translated from the oldest versions of the texts available, has translation notes and removes some passages added by the King James version.

Edit:
Some of the conversations that resulted from this post pushed me to research a bit more. In the end, for my reading of the Bible, I ended up going with The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha. It features a more neutral translation and is generally the standard for academic studies of the Bible. It uses the NRSV translation, which you can read here.

It has been brought to my attention that, while it features a more than correct translation, the NASB is a bit more geared towards Protestants. As my main goal for researching the various Bible translations was finding a good, neutral Bible to read as an atheist, I decided to further my research a bit and found out about the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), which is approved by pretty much everybody but the most conservative sub-branches. The specific version I used mentioned above contains commentary from Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Atheists, so I feel that it represents as wide of a belief spectrum as possible and satisfies my objective better. It is also the de facto bible used for academic studies and research.
End of edit

u/PeacePig · 2 pointsr/bestof

That's an interesting point. I shouldn't have said he was always in heaven. But he was always welcome there, for he was a divine being among God's council. Also, you have to be careful when trying to read translations written recently/written by believers (by which I mean a lot of scribes, over the years, have "cleaned" stuff up or altered stuff slightly to suit their needs (a good example is when they changed "sons of El [Canaanite God]" to "sons of Israel" in order to erase the memory of Israelites' polytheistic/henotheistic origins. I can't remember which passage they specifically changed.) They can often stray from the source text. I just googled the passage you mentioned to quickly see and was surprised to see it straight up call him Satan. In my translations, which are for scholarly purposes, he is called ha'Satan.

Check these out if you're curious.

Tanakh as translated by the Jewish Publication Society. Quite good. I believe translated directly from the oldest manuscripts available of each text.

Harper Collins Study Bible. This is a great one. Not a typical "study bible" that you may be used to seeing. This is for academic studies. It also has some great essays and explanations of stuff. Very, very nice text.

u/christiankool · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

&gt;See the issue with that is that if you believe the Bible is supposed to be "God's word" then why did God let it become so misinterpreted?

The Bible is not God's Word, Jesus is ( John 1 for an example). The Bible is a library/collections of different types of literature (i.e. poems, myths, histories, fictional accounts [ex. Jonah], letters, apocalyptic texts, etc.

So, why do Christians revere the texts found within and how did the texts get chosen anyway? Well, that's a long story do we're going to have to go general.

The Old Testament books were chosen on what Judaism was using around 1 CE, the Septuagint (Greek). In fact, it's thought the Jewish canon was chosen in reaction to Christianity and only had what is known as the Hebrew Bible. For some reason, Protestants kicked the extra texts found in the Septuagint to a different location in the bible and called it "Apocrypha". It was still on there until "recently" when they wanted to save printing costs. For instance, Lutherans, Anglicans, etc. still have readings from the Deutrocannon.

The New Testament is different. In the West, there was no "set canon" until the Reformation and Council of Trent. In fact, Luther wanted to kick out James (because he thought it was contrary to "faith alone) and Revelation. Though he kept Revelation because he could use it against Rome.

The New Testament canon was formed before they were set, however. (I believe the earliest canon was Marcion and then the earliest that resembles the current one was Augustine?) The letters of Paul were being circulated throughout the area. The Gospels were written as "remembered history" as well as interpreting Jesus through the Septuagint. With this in mind, the church chose the texts based on the author of the text (Apostles), how common they were found throughout all the churches, how "catholic"/"orthodox" they were, etc. And the Church is thought to have been guided by the Spirit in these matters.

Now the nature of scripture is that it's both human and divine. Humans wrote the scriptures in historical contexts by certain literary means. So, of course you're going to get contradictions on the surface level of reading. There's 4 different gospels telling the story of Jesus in at least 4 different ways! (But that's why you have to know they're written as "remembered history" and interpretations.) That doesn't diminish the "authorship"/inspiration of God. That is only found in the proper context: liturgy and prayer. As Robert Sokolowski wrote:


&gt;The role of the church as the speaker of the scriptures is brought out when she presents the scriptures as the word of God, but this role is even more vividly performed when the church reads the biblical passages in her liturgy and when she incorporates parts of the scriptures in her teachings and prayers and makes it possible for us to think and to pray in the same manner. We take fragments from the scriptures and compose our prayers and thoughts from them. The church’s use of scripture in her teaching and actions makes possible for us a way of life that is coherent because reconciled with God. It is in such situations of prayerful reading, whether in the church’s liturgy and teaching or in the private prayer of believers, that the scriptures most fully come to life. It is there that they serve, not as an object of our curiosity, but as the words through which God speaks to us and we to God. At this point the primary author of the scriptures, God himself, comes to the fore and acts as author, as the one who authorizes and speaks. At this point the human authors, who have finished their work, recede into the background. - Phenomenologies of Scripture (God's Word and Human Speech)

I don't agree with him on everything (I take a more Eastern view of Holy Tradition), but it's a start.

&gt;The lake of fire.... English King James Version... but there are other reference through the Bible to the furnace and such.

Firstly, the KJV is outdated on scholarship. If you want a universally accepted translation, used in both Secular and Religious schools, I'd suggest the NRSV. I'd also suggest getting a New Oxford Study Annotated Bible or HarperCollins Study Bible. Just get away from the KJV.

I'm pretty sure I covered the gauntlet with my previous post. I didn't realize you wanted me to go super specific. But, just in case, Jesus speaks in parables a lot.

&gt;I don't really know what you're asking by rejecting God and rejecting idea of God, sounds like one and the same if you're only talking about abrahamic religion.

I'll provide an analogy to point you in the right direction. It is not meant as a literal 1-to-1 comparison. Say that I met your mother. I noticed she was yelling at the cashier at the grocery store. She tried stealing a lighter while the cashier was grabbing her cigarettes. He noticed that. She kept denying it and denying until she left cursing out the cashier.

To you, your mom doesn't even smoke and is as calm as Snoop with a doobie. Why would she ever be so mean?

We meet up and start talking about your mom. You bring up how wonderful she is and I start to get freaked out. I say, "That is not your mom. Your mom is rude. You must be talking about another lady. Because if that's the case, then your mom doesn't exist or was replaced." I'm not actually denying that your mom exists, only your idea of mom.

&gt;As for getting to hell God sends you there, I was raised Baptist and the interpretation I was taught was about believing in Jesus, if you believed in Jesus you went to heaven and if not you go to hell.

I grew up an Evangelical (Assemblies of God) where Genesis was to be taken literally. I remember in 9th grade (!) trying to argue with the science teacher about evolution (God, thinking back I cringe hard). Then I learned Genesis 1 is written as a poem and that Genesis 2 is not a scientific creation account, rather it's a mythic story outlining our relationship with God, the earth, and everything else. What I'm saying is, once you learn something new it will be incorporated into your "worldview" and you'll need to react.

A different example with a similar point: as a child I was taught that the USA Revolution happened because of the Tea Tax being too high. "The taxes are too damn high!" They said and fought off the Brits. Then, as I got older I learned that there was way more to it than I knew. Was I initially wrong? Well, no... But there was more to the story than I thought.

&gt;But the fun part is that our interpretations don't really matter anyway...

Literally everything is interpretation or at least affected by your biases and such. We've moved past positivism.

I'm going to skip over the hell bits because I'm obviously not your target audience. Everything your saying, I don't accept. Read the last post again and talk to me on my view, not this strawman you've created. Christianity is not monolithic. There are certain things that must be agreed upon (like the early church councils and creeds - whether or not you "accept" them, all Christians articulate their views) to be considered Christian - orthodox not heterodox. But, outside those, honestly few, points, you're good to disagree.

&gt;And if you want my real opinion and there is a God as described in the Bible he isn't worthy of worship, he's a psychopath who is just toying with us.

I'd like to remind you that humans wrote the texts in this library called the bible and that they had certain viewpoints and could have easily interpreted things as God's doing when it wasn't. Or that it's actually known that the YHWH is a step up from other gods. For instance, you know when God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac then says, "lol jk here's a ram."? Well, that story is not about God demanding Abraham to kill his only son (!), rather it's a story to show that God doesn't need human sacrifice! Unlike those gods over there...

&gt;The way that religion works...

You're not even close. Religions are the Forms in which the Divine/God is being experienced by human beings. They are the bones of a structure of experience. Religions are that which describe God as understood by the people.

Once again, I'm on my phone - though at home now.

u/deakannoying · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Are you familiar with The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel?

I'm still working my way through it, but it is fascinating (especially not being an archaeologist).

Vegetarian. Do you have tofu rack of lamb?? I would try it, I admit. I eat anything. But especially at Kosher delis. Knish FTW!! (They're very similar to the German ,,Klöße''). :D

Thanks for the clarification on the blessing. Uncle Mel(vin) was quite the character, and unfortunately we lost my aunt a while back who was my blood relation (she was "sort of" a Catholic-to-Jewish-convert). The line is drying up. :/

I only use YHWH because that's what I was taught in my OT exegetical classes -- we were counted off for not distinguishing YHWH, God, god, Lord, Lord God (small caps), Lord (small caps), lord, etc. I am familiar with Adonai, but few others are outside of a scholarly and/or familiar context, methinks. I like it though.

&gt; Jesus never says the Tetragrammaton in the New Testament

We also went through the Jewish Annotated New Testament. Talk about fascinating -- Hebrew scripture scholars / Rabbis commenting on NT writings!

I would absolutely love to know more Hebrew history. Alas, I must finish a couple courses this semester and then I can commit to more study.

u/MyPrehensilePenis · 1 pointr/Christianity

I don't know if this has been said but I too struggle with this. Got baptized very recently and was feeling the same way. Two books that have really helped are "Mere Christianity" as mentioned already, but I'd also recommend the "Jesus Story book bible." We're both infants in our faith and this book is perfect for us. I gotta say, it's really helped me quite a bit. I hope this helps you out, good luck, and God bless you. Welcome to the family!
Link to book:

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name https://www.amazon.com/dp/0310708257/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awd_zbHzwbE5SVR9Y

u/frankev · 2 pointsr/OpenChristian

This is the link to buy the NOAB on Amazon:

New Oxford Annotated Bible

It’s offered in a variety of formats, but I think the hardcover (which is akin to a textbook binding) is the best value.

The paperback binding makes the physical book too flimsy in my opinion. I have a similar Bible, the HarperCollins Study Bible (edited by scholars of the Society of Biblical Literature), in paperback and its “floppiness” drives me batty.

NOAB is in its fifth edition, but it is not substantially different from the fourth edition, so you can buy a used copy of the latter for under $20 USD. The third edition is also a good buy—it still incorporates the NRSV as the base text and can be had for $11 USD used. There were substantial changes between the third and fourth editions, including formatting and layout. (Some folks actually like the font used for the biblical text in the third edition over the one used in subsequent editions.)

As for reading strategies, you might like the brisk pacing of Mark (usually considered the first Gospel to be written and used as a literary source for Matthew and Luke, both of which include other material such as the birth narratives not covered by Mark). The Gospel of John, thought to be composed much later, is structured quite differently for various theological and rhetorical purposes.

The NOAB study notes will prove helpful as you read the biblical text, as well as the book introductions and a number of essays that are found in the appendices. Keep in mind that the individual biblical scholars who were engaged to write the notes are working against space limitations (lest a 2400-page book become a 4800-page book), so some of their annotations will be brief as a result. If you have more questions concerning the text there are other specialized resources available (e.g., individual commentaries) in which scholars have more space to address various questions one may pose of the text.

u/SpaceYeti · 2 pointsr/exmormon

On 1 Corinithians 14:33b-36 specifically:

The best commentary I have found on this is in a book by Gordon Fee, but I doubt that will suit your immediate practical purposes. This article is the best I could find on short notice. Also, the wikipedia entry for 1 Corinithians talks about this issue.

Other sources I haven't read but have seen cited:

  • F. X. Cleary (1980), Women in the New Testament: St. Paul and the Early Pauline Tradition
  • G. W. Trompf (1980), On Attitudes Towards Women in Paul and Paulinist Literature: 1 Corinthians 11:3-26 and Its Context
  • E. H. Pagels (1974), Paul and Women: A Response to Recent Discussion

    More broadly, about Deutero-Pauline pseudepigrapha in general:

  • Wikipedia has a great entry on the authorship of the Pauline epistles. Additionally, the wikipedia articles specific to each specific epistle have sections that address their authenticity pretty well (Titus, for example).
  • Encyclopedia.com has a number of sources.

    A great read that covers these issues as a whole is Marcus Borg's Reading the Bible Again for the First Time. Borg is a great writer in general, and it is through his writings that I first learned about the authorship issues in the New Testament. I have not yet read it, but I imagine this book covers the authorship issues in great detail.

    Finally, this is what I have in my NRSV translation of the bible: https://imgur.com/UTaZWDa.jpg
u/thephotoman · 2 pointsr/Christianity

I am a consensus reader across text traditions. Therefore, one Bible doesn't cut it for me.

  • My own Church publishes the Orthodox Study Bible ($50), but Amazon has it for cheaper. What's unique about it is that it is a mostly Septuagint translation. The psalms follow our numbering instead of Vulgate numbering (and you get Psalm 151).
  • I would recommend a more purely Vulgate translation--New Jerusalem ($30, typically available from Catholic bookstores, as it is their translation) is actually pretty solid in that regard.
  • And then, I'd recommend something out of the Masoretic Text tradition: This one, specifically. While I have problems with the NRSV (and its psalter in particular), this particular publication of it is quite fair. The price has come down since I bought my copy, too.
  • Get yourself a King James (not NKJV, just KJV) for the purposes of literary study. There are places that distribute them for free. Ask at church. (This is perhaps the best Bible for your phone or e-reader: it can be had in digital format for less than $1.)
  • A paraphrase can be helpful when you need a fresh look at the Scriptures, or if you're new to them. My mom really liked The Message (depending on the publication, it runs in the $15-$30 range) as a paraphrase, but I'll be frank: I've not used paraphrases for my own purposes. I tend to be good with written languages.

    If you're really apathetic about which version you get, as long as you get a Bible, ask at church. They will have Bibles for the asking.

    No, there are no referrer tags in my Amazon links. I do not do that.
u/paul_brown · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

Mr. Syme has offered a good list to begin. I would like to follow that list up with a number of other good works:

  • The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton

  • Theology and Sanity by F.J. Sheed

  • Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie

    The NAB you have is an approved translation, but I highly recommend using the RSVCE.

    It is certainly a good idea to buy Sacred Scriptures and the Catechism right now. These two pieces of literature are essential to any Catholic's library. The Missal is very good for your devotional life, especially if you are converting and have no prior experience with our Church.

    Be sure to balance your reading of non-fiction works with some good, rousing fiction as well. The brain needs to find itself in fantasy every now and then. Chesterton, Tolkien, Lewis, and Waugh are all good authors.
u/SabaziosZagreus · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Well, let's unpack all of this. First off, the basics. "Tanakh" is an acronym for the Hebrew canon of Torah (Law), Neviim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). The source which Jews use for the Tanakh is the Hebrew preserved in the Masoretic Text. The Masoretic Text is a textual tradition of very similar versions of the Jewish canon which were meticulously copied by the Masorete scribes in the early Middle Ages. The Masoretes invented a system of writing vowels (Hebrew is not, in and of itself, a language with written vowels) to assist in properly reading the Tanakh without affecting the actual written text of the Tanakh. Jewish translations of the Tanakh likewise are translations from the Masoretic Text.

There are two versions of the JPS Tanakh, the 1917 JPS Tanakh (old JPS) and the 1985 JPS Tanakh (NJPS). If you're interested in obtaining a copy of one of these texts, make sure it is the 1985 JPS Tanakh (also known as the New JPS Tanakh or NJPS Tanakh). The 1917 edition is largely a Jewish revision of the Revised Version (a Christian translation). The 1985 edition is an original translation undertaken by the Jewish Publication Society. The NJPS is a quality, modern translation which is regularly used by the Jewish community and is also used in more academic settings involving Judaism.

Most modern Christian translations of the "Old Testament" are also translations from the Masoretic Text (KJV, NIV, ESV, NRSV, NASB, NLT, etc.). Thus, the NJPS and most Christian translations of the Old Testament are both translations of the same source (however Catholic translations will include a few additional books not found in the Masoretic Text). There are still some differences between the NJPS and Christian translations. One notable difference is that the NJPS follows the structure of Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim while Christian translations arrange their Old Testament in a different order. Christians have historically relied on the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate in understanding the Old Testament. Some Christian translations will rely on this legacy more than the NJPS. Christians also typically understand the Old Testament in light of the New Testament; the NJPS does not give undue preference to the New Testament or Christian theology. Thus the NJPS translates some verses in ways somewhat differently than Christian translations might.

A regular copy of the NJPS will include the Tanakh translated into English with occasional footnotes (mostly noting instances where the Hebrew is unclear or where other ancient sources have differing readings). You can also obtain a copy of the NJPS English translation alongside the Hebrew. If you'd like to peruse the NJPS translation without purchasing it, you can find the translation online here and here. Another great option is the Oxford University Press' Jewish Study Bible which contains the NJPS translation alongside more in depth commentary and references to Jewish literature.

You state that your interest is reading what Jesus read. Unfortunately we do not know what Jesus read. We can conjecture about what a Judean Jew might have read though. Two thousand years ago, people did not have a single book containing the Torah, the Neviim, and the Ketuvim. Instead communities had individual scrolls for different religious books. Different communities would have different books on their bookshelves (they would have different canons); either due to ideological differences or simply because they happened to have access to different books. Generally there seems to have been some agreement on texts. Sirach from the 2nd Century BCE affirms as scripture the Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim; but he does not elaborate on what was contained in these categories. Josephus, a Judean Jew from the 1st Century CE who claims to be affiliated with the Pharisees, states that Jews affirm the Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim. Josephus affirms that this Jewish canon contained 22 books. The current Jewish canon contains 24 books. So either two books were in dispute during Josephus' time, or Josephus regarded two books now regarded independent as being a part of two other books of the Hebrew Bible. The Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran contain every book of the modern Jewish canon except for the Book of Esther, and they also contain other books not found in the modern Jewish canon. We can't really draw conclusions from this though; it is possible they had a canon which excluded Esther and included additional books, it's possible they had a canon which included Esther (just it wasn't persevered) and did not include the additional books (merely having or valuing a book does not mean you regard it as canon), or it's possible something else is true.

From the sources of the time, it seems that the canon of the average Jewish community would largely be the same books as the modern Jewish canon. So using the NJPS (or any other translation of the Old Testament) works fine. However different textual traditions existed; there were slightly different versions of the canonical books. The Dead Sea Scrolls are largely in agreement with the Masoretic Text, but differ in some regards (largely incidentally). The Samaritan Pentateuch and the Greek Septuagint also have instances where they disagree with the Masoretic Text. However, we have found evidence of the Masoretic Text tradition likewise existing in antiquity. Considering that Jesus was not Greek, not a Samaritan, probably not part of Qumran, and he probably was Pharisaic-inclined (as most Jews were), then it seems your best bet probably is using the Masoretic Text. Regardless, differences in the text traditions are not major.

Another important consideration is that Jesus likely did not speak Hebrew in his daily life. The colloquial language spoken in Judea at the time was Jewish Aramaic. The extent to which Hebrew was used and known is debatable. What seems clear though is that when texts from the Tanakh were read, there would be an accompanying reading of the passage in Aramaic. This may have simply been the reciter of the Hebrew text (being bilingual) providing an 'on the fly' Aramaic paraphrase of the text. Eventually this tradition of Aramaic paraphrases was collected and preserved in the 'targumim'. So what Jesus may have heard and understood would not simply be the Hebrew text, but also the Aramaic paraphrases. You can't exactly read the targumim, there are not readily available English translations of them and it would be a burden to read each one in addition to reading the Tanakh. I'd recommend again the Oxford University Press' Jewish Study Bible as it contains commentary which reference and discuss what the targumim say.

So, ultimately, if you're interested in simply reading the Masoretic Text, you can accomplish this by reading either the NJPS or the Old Testament most Christian Bibles. If you're interested in reading the Masoretic Text in the traditional order of Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim, then this order will be preserved in the NJPS while it will not be preserved in most Christian Bibles. If you are interested in reading the Masoretic Text without undue bias toward the Greek Septuagint, Latin Vulgate, and Christian New Testament, then the NJPS is a good option. If you're interested in reading a copy of the Masoretic Text with commentary referencing Jewish literature (including the targumim), then the Oxford University Press' Jewish Study Bible is a good option.

u/GregoryNonDiologist · 4 pointsr/Christianity

We do not have any complete manuscripts of the "original" Hebrew. The vast majority of English translations of the "Hebrew" Old Testament are not translations of the original Hebrew, but rather a translation of a form of Hebrew that was invented in the Middle Ages by a sect (largely anti-Christian) of Jews called the Masoretes.

So for the Old Testament your choices are to defer to translations of a post-Christian Hebrew text or to translations of the Old Testament in another language. The oldest complete version of the Old Testament in any language is the Greek Septuagint, which dates to the 2nd century BC.

In my opinion, the best place to go for a translation of the medieval Masoretic Hebrew text is probably the Oxford Jewish Study Bible, translated by and commented on by Jewish scholars.

The best place to go for a translation of the Greek Septuagint is probably the Orthodox Study Bible.

The advantage of a translation of the Septuagint is that it includes the entire Old Testament. Modern Jewish and Protestant translations omit a number of books.

In my opinion, the best English translation of the New Testament is the 2-volume Orthodox New Testament, but it's not terribly readable.

I agree with another suggestion that the RSV is perhaps the best overall version. If you opt for this, be sure to purchase a version with the so-called "Apocrypha" (actually called the Deuterocanon by the Church Fathers). The New Oxford Annotated Bible is a good choice. Definitely AVOID the NRSV - Get the RSV.

u/anathemas · 1 pointr/religion

What you're looking for is called higher criticism or the historical-critical method. I've been an atheist since I was a kid (raised Protestant(, but I still really enjoy learning about Christianity from a secular perspective.

For a Bible with commentary, I recommend the The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Revised Standard Version — you can grab a used version really cheap. Pair it with these lectures from Yale, they can also be found on YouTube and some podcast apps.

Here's a list of other academic podcasts and university courses that I recommend. If you listen to the two podcasts after following Yale, you should have a very strong foundation of Biblical and Christian knowledge.

There are some great reader recommendations in the wiki, and feel free to post your own questions at r/AskBibleScholars — just be aware that some questions are theological, and only certified scholars can I answer questions. r/ academicbiblical is another sub that you'll enjoy — anyone can respond to posts, but theological discussion is not allowed.

u/arachnophilia · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

college. i'm not fluent or anything, but i can read a bit. having a working knowledge of the language certainly helps in reading and understanding the bible.

&gt; I've never seen anyone translate the verse that way before

well, as i mentioned, there are several translations that render it similarly. my favourite is orlinsky's new translation for jewish publication society, and his notes strongly cite rashi, who is probably the biggest name in jewish commentary. i can provide said notes, if you're really interested. chabad renders it similarly, retaining the "of" construct but in a more literal manner.

i emphasize this so you know i'm not making this up. there are a lot of "internet experts" that make vague appeals to translation difficulties, in the hopes that you won't notice that they are simply distorting the text and arbitrary switching meanings and such. i am by no means an expert on the language (not even close), but i just want to make sure it's clear i'm not doing the same thing.

&gt; (probably because of the prevalence of the ex nihilo assumption)

perhaps. i suspect it's partly tradition. it's also worth noting that the hebrew text is actually unclear here. this is a relatively uncommon thing, really. the problem is, as i mentioned above, the verb has the wrong vowel points. it's pointed like standard perfect verb, which would generally translate as past-tense. this tells us that the people responsible for the vowel points, the masoretes, probably read it as a perfect verb -- not an infinitive construct, and thus, probably ex-nihilo.

for an example of what i mean, compare gen 5:1 with gen 1:1,

&gt;&gt; בְּיוֹם, בְּרֹא אֱלֹהִים

&gt;&gt; בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים

&gt;&gt; beyom bero elohim

&gt;&gt; bereshit bara elohim

gen 5 is very obviously referring to gen 1, and both happen to be from the P source. they match perfectly in structure except for those pesky vowels.

the only real reason to change the vowels is ideology, something we know for a fact the masoretes did with the name of god.

u/dan121 · 4 pointsr/Christianity

All of the major English translations are extraordinarily accurate. I don't think you really want something that's been "altered as little as possible." That would be something like Young's Literal Translation, where Jn 3:16 reads: "for God did so love the world, that His Son -- the only begotten -- He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during." It's virtually word-for-word from the Greek...but enormously awkward to actually read.

For general reading and study, I recommend a good study Bible, something like the NRSV Study Bible or the NIV Study Bible.

However, if you just want to read the Bible and absorb the big picture, you can't beat the New Living Translation for sheer readability. It sacrifices literalness in favor of ease, so if you really want to study the theological nuances of a passage you'd want to cross check it with other versions. But I think if you're looking to read the Bible more like a book and grasp the major and themes and messages of the text, it does a superb job.

u/samreay · 17 pointsr/DebateReligion

Sure, so apart from a lack of reason to accept those extraordinary claims I listed before, I would also defend the statement that we have firm evidence that Christianity is a human invention, a simple product of human culture.

This should not be too outlandish a claim, as even Christians can probably agree that most of the worlds religions are creations of our changing society (after all, Christians probably would disagree that Hinduism, paganism, Nordic, Hellenistic, aboriginal religions were divinely inspired/authored).

By looking back into the origins of Christianity, and the origins of the Judaic system from which it is derived, we can very clearly see changes in religious deities and stories, as the religion began incorporating myths from surrounding areas and as general patterns of beliefs changed. From what we can currently understand, it appears the the origin of Christianity started as a polytheistic pantheon with at least Yahweh, El, Baal and Asherah. It then moved slowly from polytheism to henotheism to monaltry to monotheism, as was relatively common in the Axial Age.

All of this points to the religion not representative of singular divine inspiration, and instead being representative of being a product of human culture, changing along with society.

This is a rather large topic of course, and if you want further reading, I recommend:

u/SF2K01 · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

My main recommendation here is usually James Kugel's How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now. I do like Ehrman, I really enjoyed his dissection of NT studies, but Kugel definitely covers areas that Ehrman does not.

&gt;are there perhaps any in-depth commentaries that are widely accepted that would make a good starting point for someone like me?

I guess that depends on what sort of commentary you are looking for.

One fantastic one I can recommend is The Jewish Annotated New Testament which gives both a lot of sorely needed context to NT texts with essays from many important scholars of Jewish studies, but also provides numerous cross-references in Rabbinic literature (probably only relevant for scholars more like myself) on relevant ideas.

u/Frankfusion · 2 pointsr/Christianity

There are book son the history of interpretation. Has the church always got it right? No. But, there has always been a consistent core of beliefs that are on the text plainly read. However, it's also become apparent as of late that reading books of the Bible according to genre with an eye to it's cultural context yields great results. If you want to read more on this, a book that has become pretty helpful to this would be How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth
Another book on the subject would be the book Grasping God's Word. Covers hermeneutics and exegesis and the latest ideas shaping those areas. Great for beginners. I should add that a Good study bible, like the [ESV Study Bible](http://www.amazon.com/ESV-Study-Bible-Crossway- Bibles/dp/1433502410/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1324140894&amp;sr=1-1) will cover a lot of these issues. Lately I've found great use from the ESV Literary Study Bible. They authors highlight all the literary styles and genres and motifs in the Bible. The glossary in the back is worth the price of it alone. Reading books of the Bible with their genre in my mind has been SO enlightening.

u/bks33691 · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

If you want some background on the Hebrew bible, The Pentateuch is a good starting place.

What I would recommend though, rather than trying to understand the theology is to just start with a good annotated translation. I particularly like the New Oxford Annotated Bible.

There are a million different theologies; almost every theologian has a different perspective on what "God" is and what the scriptures mean. You may have better luck approaching the book from a literary or historical point of view.

I also second the idea of not reading it straight through. You really won't get anything out of it that way. I would recommend reading Genesis, Exodus, Kings, Samuel and maybe Judges. In the New Testament, Mark, Matthew, Luke and the Epistles are great. I'm not as familiar with the rest of the NT, so I can't really offer much advice there.

There are other supplemental materials that are good if you are familiar with the stories in the Bible - "God: A Biography" by Jack Miles is great, for example.

u/iamthegodemperor · 2 pointsr/Judaism

Oh. Well in that case there's really a lot he could read.

  • Natan Slifkin might interest him. He's a rabbi &amp; a biologist. He also has a blog called Rationalist Judaism, which I really like. (He's written a few books too)

  • Marc Shapiro is also very interesting. He is Orthodox, but approaches religious subjects academically and is widely admired. He might like his writing or his video lectures. This subreddit is actually going to discuss one of his books, "The Limits of Orthodox Theology" in a couple months.

  • Mordechai Kaplan, founder of the Reconstructionist movement, was fairly prolific. It's not science related and it's super-old, but I think "Judaism as a Civilization" is still relevant.

  • While I'm at it, I don't think it hurts to have something like How to Read the Jewish Bible or The Jewish Study Bible around.

  • A final note, if he's into biblical criticism, I'd recommend Christine Hayes of Yale University. She has a YouTube playlist of her classes. Her presentation is exceedingly accessible. She works very hard to discuss the Hebrew Bible respectfully.


    Note: I decided to put biblical criticism here because it's something Jewish atheists (whatever we mean by atheist) eventually have to deal with. If an atheist is really is attached to their Jewish identity, they will somehow have to explain why they care about a library of texts that their friends on message boards etc. will routinely mock.


    Good luck!
u/trexinanf14 · 1 pointr/Christianity

I would absolutely agree on the NIV as a good general purpose bible, however there are some alternatives out there depending on what you are looking for. I would highly recommend either The Book of God by Walter Wangerin or The Message by Eugene Peterson, both of which are a re-imagining (read: they should not be used as a reference!) of the biblical stories, the former as a novel and the latter as a bible where the stories are told using language you or I would.

I also greatly support using a study bible, the good ones will give helpful context or reference to the stories you read, or you can just go all the way academic and grab a copy of the Oxford Annotated Bible (but from the sounds of it you wouldn't want that).

Although workingmouse, I would disagree that the KJV is the go-to bible these days for protestants, largely for the reasons you gave. Speaking of definitely not kosher, has anyone read the book Lamb? It's a pretty humorous read, but you really need to be ready to hold nothing sacred for a few hundred pages. =)

Good luck in your search OP!

u/DKowalsky2 · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Not sure if this will fit your needs, but I have the New Testament Ignatius Study Bible and it's full of all sorts of good information. I know Scott Hahn assisted in the footnote research and I'm blanking on the other name.

Dr. Hahn also did the Catholic Bible Encyclopedia which is exactly as it states - historically and scripturally developed writing on Biblical terms and characters.

Not sure where you can go for a reliable Old Testament with Catholic commentary, but I wish you luck on your search!

Peace and a blessed Advent,

DK

EDIT: Curtis Mitch is the other person who helped with the Ignatius Study Bible. Check it out here - http://www.amazon.com/Ignatius-Catholic-Study-Bible-Testament/dp/1586172506

Both books have Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur. Happy studying!

u/John_Kesler · 17 pointsr/AcademicBiblical
  1. Video lectures by Richard Elliott Friedman. (There is a fee, but they are worth every penny if you want to learn more about the Hebrew Bible.)

  2. Video lectures by Shaye J.D. Cohen. (These are free and include class notes.)

  3. The Jewish Study Bible.

  4. The New Oxford Annotated Bible.

  5. NIV Study Bible (This may seem like an outlier, but some of the notes are actually pretty good, and you see what the inerrantist view of certain passages is. I also give the caveat that the NIV is definitely biased toward Bible inerrancy and will fudge its translation accordingly.)

  6. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. "Dictionary" is somewhat misleading due to the thoroughness of the entries.

  7. A good commentary series or commentary about a specific Bible book.

    There are numerous resources that I could suggest, but these are a good start.

    &amp;#x200B;
u/Lovelyfleur86 · 0 pointsr/Christianity

Hmmm, there aren't many non devotional bible study books. I don't know if you know who Bart Ehrman is but he's one of the leading Biblical scholars so I'd check out some of his books. He also recommends reading the Gospels "horizantally" ie reading the same story in each gospel (the Crucifixion, the Nativity story) to compare the differences and similarities. I would also recommend getting a study Bible. I have the Harpercollins NRSV (http://www.amazon.com/HarperCollins-Study-Bible-Student-Edition/dp/0060786841/ref=pd_sim_b_1) which is about half biblical text and half notes (historical context, translation notes, etc). I love it.

Good luck and I hope you are able to find a good study plan.

u/bobo_brizinski · 8 pointsr/TrueChristian

So the ESV and the ESV Study Bible are getting tons of recommendations so I want to put a spotlight on excellent material that isn't as well known. I really like:

  • The Access Bible (NRSV) - scholarly and designed for beginners, very underrated in my opinion

  • The English Bible (KJV): Norton Critical Edition - scholarly, literary, superb footnotes and annotations, two volumes for the Old Testament and New Testament/Apocrypha. What I LOVE about this study Bible is how it contains a large appendix of Biblical interpretation spanning multiple centuries.

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV) - scholarly, very popular in seminaries and colleges, designed for more advanced students

  • The New Collegeville Bible Commentary (NRSV; Old and New Testaments in separate volumes) - scholarly, written by Roman Catholics but follows mainstream scholarship and good for non-Catholic students

  • The Life With God Bible (NRSV) - aka "the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible", this is a devotional study Bible edited by many great evangelical writers like Dallas Willard and Richard Foster. It focuses on spiritual disciplines.

u/herman_the_vermin · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Orthodox Study Bible it has great commentary, with only like one spot I can remember where I was like "ehhh"

But it does explain the use of the Septuagint, and explain some theology, and a glossary to different commentary. It may be a little pricey, but I really enjoy the commentary and am on my 2nd read through. It also includes the lectionary, or rather what the Church has every one reading on the same day of through the year =) hope that helps!
Met. Kallistos Ware has a few books "The Orthodox Church" and "The Orthodox Way" which are good primers of theology, life in the church, and differences between East and West

u/PetiePal · 2 pointsr/Catholicism
  • The YouVersion Bible App. (www.bible.com)
    I used to use Glo but it kinda sucks and they didn't update or keep up with new features. I can bookmark/highlight passages, create quotes and media, read and participate with my wife and friends in Bible plans not just readings but media built in. It's great and 100% free.

  • I own a St. Joseph's New American Edition of the Bible which I really like
  • I also own a St. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible which is amazing

u/infinityball · 1 pointr/mormon

The two best things:

  1. Read the NT with an excellent commentary. My favorite is the Orthodox Study Bible, and it will give you a much more traditional perspective on NT passages.
  2. Read The Apostolic Fathers. These are the writings of the earliest Christians right after the NT: so something like 70 CE - 150 CE. These are the people who would have known the apostles. It's fascinating what Christianity looks like from their perspective. (Hint: at least to my mind, not Mormonism.) What I see is a sort of proto-Orthodoxy or proto-Catholicism. And some of the letters are just lovely. (Some are strange.)

    I"m planning to read some other history book soon, happy to update when I decide on which ones.
u/IBlameTheMormons · 3 pointsr/AskBibleScholars

I got it for about 30 bucks on Amazon. So it’s more expensive than your standard pocket bible but it’s not bad as far as study bibles go. Considering the use I’ve gotten out of it and how much it’s helped me with both my studies and my faith, I would’ve gladly paid twice that. As a brother in Christ (sorry mods, I know that kind of language is kinda frowned upon here), I’d encourage you to splurge on it.

That doesn’t sound like a bad price for the ESV student bible if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, but I wouldn’t consider that and the New Oxford as alternatives to each other. They’re really trying to accomplish two different things. If you already have a decent grasp on fundamental Christian theology, I don’t think you’ll gain a lot from the ESV student bible, unless you just want to keep it around to compare certain passages, which I do still use it for occasionally.

Link on amazon: The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version https://www.amazon.com/dp/019027607X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_nqH6CbC9THYR6

u/reformedscot · 4 pointsr/Reformed

A commitment
A plan
An age-appropriate Bible
Maybe something catechetical like Songs for Saplings


Start and go. There are curricula all over the web. Most denoms have an education resource ministry. Check with them. Just beware of spending so long looking for the perfect resource that you don't actually get to the family worship. With a bible, some songs, an ability to think a little ahead about what you want to share, and an opportunity to pray, you're better of than nearly everyone who has to do it from the book. It will be more natural, centered to your family, and adaptive to the changing needs and circumstances of your own lives. For some a book can be helpful. For most, just get in there and do it.

u/rainbowcannon · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

I would recommend the New Oxford Annotated Bible (http://www.amazon.com/The-Oxford-Annotated-Bible-Apocrypha/dp/0195289609/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;amp;qid=1382149272&amp;amp;sr=8-1&amp;amp;keywords=new+oxford+annotated+bible)

It has copious footnotes about what different versions say and possible interpretations of the text. It also has fantastic essays on translations, exegesis (interpretations) and original texts as well as maps of Ancient Israel and it's surroundings. I don't think it's worth reading the bible without a study edition. It uses the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) translation which I feel is a nice balance between accuracy and readability. Many universities use this as the textbook.

The King James Version (KVJ) is probably the most famous english translation and the best written. It's also somewhat less accurate then modern versions and harder to read (think Shakespeare). I also don't know of a non religious KJV study bible. Even if you choose a different bible, you should consider reading Genesis and Exodus to get a sample of the language. Another major reason to read to bible is to get a greater appreciation of literature because of all the biblical references (think Dante, Shakespeare, Faulkner, etc.) If this is your biggest reason for reading the bible then you should read the KVJ.

In America, the most popular bible is the NIV (New International Version) which was written for people with an elementary school vocabulary and comprehension and it shows. I don't recommend this version.

You can find sample texts of all of these versions and more online and you should compare them yourself. Try the beginning of Genesis for a start.

tl:dr KJV for English Majors, New Oxford Annotated Bible otherwise.

u/Puzzle_Master · 3 pointsr/NoFapChristians

Everyone has their doubts from time to time. The book of Ecclesiastes, for instance, focuses exclusively on an existential crisis. The author determined that life was meaningless as everything would eventually pass away. If death is inevitable, what then is the point of living?

I'm in no means an expert in apologetics, but I do reccomend that you perhaps study the culturalal contect of the Scriptures. The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible may be of great help. Of course, there are other teachers online who should be just as capable of answering any questions that you may have.

Lastly, when I ever get discouraged, I usually listen to calming music. Two songs that I like in particular are from Tenth Avenue North. They are Beloved, which speaks of Christ's love for the church, and Hold My Heart, which conveys more of what you are experiencing right now.

Whatever you decide, peace be with you.

u/ziddina · 1 pointr/exjw

&gt; It actually gave me more respect for the old testament learning about its beginnings because it can now give me more understanding of that time

I'm currently reading another one of Mark S. Smith's books (he wrote the first book on my list), &amp; one of the things that most struck me was how he casually mentioned that the more the Israelites, Hebrews &amp; Jews were overrun &amp; conquered, the bigger, more ferocious &amp; all-encompassing their god[s] became.

The YHWH god went from a character who couldn't find his own ass with his own two hands find Adam when he was hiding in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3: 9), to a god who couldn't help Israel overcome another nation with more advanced Iron Age technology (Judges 1: 19), to being given the Israelites as his "portion" from Elyon aka EL Elyon (the Canaanite patriarchal god over a family of lesser gods - the Elohim) in Deuteronomy 32: 8-9 (but only in a Names of God bible can you see this clearly, since most translations disguise that handing off of power by a Canaanite deity)...

Eventually the Jewish priests wrote &amp; edited their national god into the god of the entire universe, as Smith puts it in his book The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts, in chapter 8, page 165, second paragraph:

&gt;First in the face of the great empires and then in exile, Israel stands at the bottom of its political power, and it exalts its deity inversely as ruler of the whole universe, with little regard for the status of the older deities known from the pre-exilic literary record. [bold mine]

Link to that book: https://www.amazon.com/Origins-Biblical-Monotheism-Polytheistic-Background/dp/0195167686

Israel was always a backwards, superstitious, trod-upon puny little nation. Its attitude towards progress was abysmal, as all those commands against interacting &amp; marrying with the other nations show - which kept Israel in the Bronze Age long after other nations had moved into the Iron Age.

Israel's isolationism did not serve its people well, at all. I've often mused that, had Israel managed to continue as a (puny) little nation &amp; had kept this attitude intact, the vaunted accomplishments of modern-day Jewish scientists &amp; other Jewish Nobel prize winners would never have happened.

http://www.jinfo.org/Nobel_Prizes.html

This may be a good analogy for the way JWs have to deal with frequent dissolution of familial relationships once they've exited - imo it was the breaking up of the Hebrews' closed-minded little theocratic system &amp; the subsequent scattering of the Jewish people that led to their later accomplishments.

u/sprittany · 1 pointr/RandomActsOfChristmas

I love this offer, books are one of the best things you can give in my opinion!

I want to enter for my 6 year old sister, Sierra. She just started school this year and is already falling in love with reading. She also loves going to church and learning about Jesus, so I am requesting this children's storybook Bible from her wishlist. She would LOVE it.

u/peonymoss · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

1- Bible: Any Bible with the word "Catholic" on the front (and without words like "Story", "Picture", "For Little Ones", etc) will suit your purposes. Your best bet is either the NRSV-CE or the New American Bible. Beyond that, it's completely up to you - different editions have different features. Just go to a Catholic bookstore and see which one you like best. This blog has some information on the different editions.

For the NRSV-CE, take a look at the Ignatius Bible

For New American, take a look at a St Joseph edition. I've also heard a recommendation for the Fireside editions.

Either one of those might fit the bill for "quintessential"

2 - For learning the prayers of the Mass, get a St Joseph Sunday Missal. Any edition will have the basic prayers. If you get the inexpensive paperback "2015" book, it will have the prayers of the Mass, but the Bible readings won't pick up until the new Church year starts in late November.

For learning more about the whys and wherefores of the Mass, the Catechism has a good start on this information. You might also like to check out Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper

3- printed Catechism - Get this one. If it looks intimidating, get one of its little sisters, the Compendium or even the YouCat

4 - Philosophy - The Catechism itself will have references. I like Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed

Hope this is helpful! Welcome aboard!

u/OcioliMicca · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

My favorites Scripture Scholars are:

  1. Brant Pitre
  2. Scott Hahn
  3. John Bergsma

    &amp;#x200B;

    They all have Bible Studies in specific topics (Eucharist, Priesthood, Covenants, specific Books) or more general. For Old Testament, I'd check out Brant Pitre and John Bergsma's somewhat recently released A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament. They have a New Testament one coming, but not sure on the date. But you do have Scott Hahn's Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament to cover your bases there! You can also look into Navarre Study Bibles, it's best to get them used on sites like Ebay or Amazon as they're pricey but worth it in commentary. Brant Pitre and John Bergsma has a lot of their work available at Catholic Productions. Scott Hahn has the St. Paul Center, which even has some online study course available free like The Lamb's Supper: The Bible and the Mass.
u/yibanghwa · 1 pointr/Christianity

The New Testament manuscript tradition the KJV was based off of is from the same manuscript tradition that Eastern Orthodox New Testaments have been based off of, which is, as far as I've seen, one of the big reasons why the Eastern Orthodox prefer the KJV and the NKJV for English translations.

It's just easy to fall into the trap of dismissing the KJV altogether because of the weird way some modern North American Protestants worship the translation, along with hearing that the KJV supposedly is a bad translation (it's not, nor are its manuscripts necessarily worse). The way KJV-onlyists regard it is obviously absurd, but it doesn't change the fact that the KJV is a solid and beautiful translation that does deserve our continuing respect.

That being said, the KJV is a very archaic translation for our times, and it's not something that anyone should recommend for an initial read or for usage as a "main" bible. If you want to read a respectable translation that is used by both the Catholics and the Orthodox, then I would recommend to you the [NOAB RSV] (https://www.amazon.ca/Annotated-Apocrypha-Revised-Standard-Expanded/dp/0195283481) or the RSV-CE. The RSV-2CE is also an option, and I have a personal copy myself, but it has some dodgy typesetting errors among other things, and I wouldn't wholly recommend it as it is now. I would recommend the RSV-CE over the RSV-2CE. I currently use the NOAB RSV as my main Bible. The NOAB RSV includes the Eastern Deuterocanonical texts, if you are interested in them. The only main flaw of the NOAB RSV for me is that it omits certain passages that are regarded by modern scholars as being late additions into the text, such as the story of the woman caught in adultery in John, which I think was a mistake by the RSV editors. It should have been kept in with footnotes noting its contested nature.

u/ITBG · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Short answer:
Buy one of the new ESV study bibles. It's very readable and has copious notes and references. If you ever want to use external references, a "King James Version", or "KJV" is very handy to have because so many reference works use it.

Less-short answer:
I am not an expert or a professional, but I am an interested amateur. I asked that same question myself a long time ago, and still years later learn more about the issues surrounding "bible versions" every month.

Different translations have different goals. Some are more literal and focus on translation of the words themselves. Some others are called dynamic and translate the intent of the words into modern equivalents. A common example would be the phrase "not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law", which really doesn't have experiential meaning to us today. A literal translation would keep "jot and tittle" (or iota and keraia in Greek, Yod and kots in Hebrew), whereas a dynamic translation might say "dot of an i, or cross of a t", which would have more meaning for us while keeping the spirit of the original and being close in the actual wording as well. Then you have the paraphrase bibles that just reword it into very readable form, but not necessarily keeping the words or structure of the original. In the same example, a paraphrase might say "not even the tinest part". Rather than giving specific examples of each version type, just know that the search phrases would be "dynamic", "literal", and "paraphrase".

Also, if we had a clear "original", there would be far fewer versions. Everything we have is a copy, and there are so many manuscripts and fragments with slightly different readings, and what weight the translators place on the different manuscripts and or manuscript heritage determines what they're translating from, much less how they choose to translate it to the target language. The existence of so many manuscripts with slightly different portions in them has made more than one christian lose his faith. However, once you remove obvious copying errors, like the easy-to-make error of dropping of the end of a sentence and continuing from that same word in a later sentence, the similarities in the manuscripts is far larger than the differences. I have heard 99% is the same, but I don't know for sure.

One thing I'd like to mention is that when asking this question, eventually a KJV-onlyist person will answer, and try to scare you away from any non-KJV versions. Since you're not christian, it probably won't matter to you, but should you ever become a believer, I want to say that many of their arguments for the superiority of the KJV are not good arguments, though I won't go into a big list here. While most (including me) think the KJV is a good translation, KJV-onlyists have the opinion that any versions other than the KJV are designed to fill your head with lies.

Long-answer:
There are many books on this subject, and probably hundreds of Web sites.

u/uncovered-history · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Not a Christian, but I own a New Revised Standard edition that I bought during undergrad since I was studying the New Testament and it’s regarded as the best translation by pretty much every historian I had read.

Edit: this precise one to be exact. Super helpful for anyone wanting to take more of a historical rather than theological approach to the Bible.

u/LewisTolkien · 3 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I find study bibles to be the most helpful because they have very detailed notes at the bottom of each page as well as thorough introductions. That way, if you get hung up on something, there are references. Also, Bible Gateway allows you to type in a verse or book and see what other translations have for that verse. Very nice for comparison

Maybe Orthodox posters can provide a better opttion but on Amazon, this is the top Orthodox study bible

ESV study Bible is a favorite among a lot of r/Christianity posters

Good luck with your journey, brother

u/cormac596 · 26 pointsr/standupshots

This bone is called the baculum. Interestingly, some people use it as an argument about translations of one of the sources of the Bible (The j source. wrote most of genesis, exodus, and numbers).

The argument is that Eve wasn't made from a rib. When most translations say "rib", some people argue that this is a mistranslation of "baculum."

To see their evidence, look at your scrotum (If you don't have one, I'm sure someone will be eager to help). For most men, the scrotum has a line that runs down the center from the base of the penis to the perineum. This is a product of sexual differentiation of the fetus. In males, the proto-labia fuse together and the generic gonads descend into it, forming the scrotum and testicles.

The argument is that God took the baculum out of Adam to make Eve. Hence the "scar", and why humans don't have a baculum when most placental mammals do.

tl;dr: scrotums have lines from where god removed man's penis bone to make eve.

EDIT: I should probably say that I'm not an expert about this. My knowledge is not really from a religious perspective. What I know about the bible is primarily from 2 classes I took 2 years ago in freshman year out of personal interest, which were more about secular biblical scholarship (i.e., study about the book itself. sources, authorship, its history, dynamic vs static translations, etc) than religious study. You can't truly separate studying a religious text from studying its meanings and interpretations, but the class as a whole was from a secular and objective perspective.

Needless to say I'm not an expert about this type of stuff. This theory wasn't mentioned in the class; I saw it somewhere online (wikipedia maybe) and thought it was interesting. I don't think that it's a very well known argument, but it does explain some things that a direct, literal interpretation can't. For example, if you have a finger, ribs, a willing member of the opposite sex, and the ability to count, you may notice that men and women have the same number of ribs.

Ultimately, interpretations of the bible are probably as numerous as the people who read it (and those who clearly haven't). The earliest source (the J source), was written somewhere around the 10th century bce. That's 3000 years ago, twice as distant from the modern day as from the last of the mammoths. The whole thing was written over a span of centuries. It's full of contradictions, unclear references, and obvious falsehoods. The oldest version we have is the septuagint, which is in ancient greek. What few sources we have in biblical hebrew are, as one might expect, in biblical hebrew, which is dead and massively distant from modern hebrew, so translations are entirely subject to interpretation.

There's a lot we don't (and much we probably can't) know about the bible. There are tons of theories and interpretations to explain things that don't make sense. I thought the one about the baculum was interesting.

If you want to know more about this kind of stuff, read a bible designed for scholarship. For the old testament/hebrew bible, I recommend the JPS translation and the NRSV translation for the new testament (nrsv is good for both, but jps is better for the hebrew bible b/c it's from a jewish perspective). The links are for the versions I have, which are really good.

u/CatholicGuy · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Hello TheEvilAlex! Search google and find a local Catholic Church! Call them and ask to speak with a priest or the parish youth minister! Explain your situation and they will help you!

The best bible out there right now is the RSV:SCE from Ignatius! You can get the hardcover for under $20 here on amazon. You can download the bible for free on your iPhone/iPod/iPad here.

You don't have to sing the Psalms. Most people read them as poetry.

If you have questions, feel free to ask here or you can even text questions to 'Catholic Facts" a small ministry I run that answers questions about the Catholic faith. Our text line number is 810-37-FACTS.

Cheers!

u/extispicy · 2 pointsr/atheism

Studying biblical history has been my obsession hobby for the past few years, and I first went through the bible as "homework" for this 'Intro to the Old Testament' course offered by Yale University. The class will give you all the background and historical context you'll need to know.

This Harvard Class has just recently been released, so you might check that one out, too. The professor is a little too casual for my tastes, but YMMV.

If you are sticking to the OT for now, just start reading at the beginning. Everything from Genesis through 2 Chronicles is a more or less chronological narrative, with the bulk of the rest being poetry and prophecy.

I read the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible, which uses the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation. A study bible will have introductory essays for each book, as well as footnotes at the bottom that will help make sense of the text. But, really, whatever version you find easiest to read is fine to start. BibleGateway allows you to compare versions easily: Sample of Exodus 15:26

Happy to answer any questions you have!

u/WalkingHumble · 2 pointsr/Christianity

&gt; I also don't have any kind of formal theological background to more deeply understand the text

A study version will help. They can be pricey, but tend to be a lot more dense and have extensive notes that lend context to the verses.

Crossway's ESV Study Bible is pretty reasonably priced and most chapters have an introductory footnote giving a high level discussion on their content, as well as more detailed introductions to each book.

I'm sure your Church should be able to help point you to other study bibles they can recommend or loan.

u/BoboBrizinski · 5 pointsr/Christianity

I dislike the ESV Study Bible - it obscures or dismisses the scholarly consensus on many books, which is academically dishonest.

I highly recommend the Access Bible. Its notes represent mainstream biblical scholarship. It uses the NRSV, which is a cousin of the ESV and is actually easier to read in my opinion (you can compare them on BibleGateway.com - the NRSV and the ESV are both revisions of the RSV.)

I would also recommend the New Oxford Annotated Bible.. It's a little more technical and meaty than the Access Bible. It also uses the NRSV. More importantly, its notes are excellent and represent mainstream biblical scholarship. It comes in an older edition (with shorter, more conservative notes) using the RSV (which is the basis for the ESV and very similar to it.)

Another study Bible I like is the Oxford Study Bible. This uses the REB (Revised English Bible) - this is a British translation that is not related to the RSV/NRSV/ESV family. It's a fresh, creative and easy to read translation that nicely complements the formal translations.

Finally, there is the Norton Critical Edition of the English Bible, KJV. It's very unique for a study Bible, because it focuses on how the KJV influenced English literature. Although the KJV is hard to read, the notes clarify some of the obscure English language.

So... I guess the lesson is that there are a lot of choices out there. But since you're a beginner, I'd highly recommend the Access Bible before you explore the other stuff.

u/MephistosLament · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Skryym,

To continue with your second point (I was at work, so could only answer the first point):

2) I can't take the Bible literally.

We have to understand what the Bible is. It is first and foremost a collection of books, not a single literary work. Every word is the inspired word of God, however its human authors are spread out over centuries, and contain multiple genres including history, allegory, psalms, gospels, epistles (letters), prophecy, etc. Before we look at a particular book, we have to ask a few questions: Who is the (human) author? What genre is it? What is its intention? Without knowing that, we can't come to a realization of what we are reading. For example, Genesis is not intended as literal history, but as historical allegory. For example, to God, time is meaningless. Time, properly understood, is the breaking up of existence into pieces. A person's existence is never fully grasped, but is known in a succession of moments. God is infinite and eternal, thus he contains the totality of his existence in one single action. Thus to say that creation of this or that thing took place in a "day" is meaningless to God because God is the very action of being and cannot be delineated into measurement of time. But it is sufficient for human readers to grasp the theological points of the text, which is the point. Similarly, Leviticus is written largely as a manual outlining ritual, legal and moral practices to help the Jews grow closer to God, and specifically in the setting of Jewish temple worship. Many of the practices are no longer followed by Christians, such as animal sacrifices, because Christ is the one sufficient burnt offering offered once for all. The books of the bible also have to be looked at in context with the rest of the books. The early church fathers looked at the Old Testament as containing the New Testament in hidden form, for example. The bible is difficult, as you say, which is partly why the church has teaching authority, to help us to understand the bible in its proper contexts. I would recommend a study bible such as The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible.

u/r271answers · 1 pointr/religion

By the way you may also like the NRSV Oxford Annotated Study Bible it's pretty much the standard Bible used in academia and contains tons of information about translation choices, maps, information about cultural references, etc. I study religion at a secular state run university and this is the standard Bible that all the religion professors recommend.

You might also find The Book of Moses from The Pearl of Great Price an interesting read if you are into creation story stuff. It's from the Mormon canon: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/moses/2?lang=eng

My favorite Christianity-related creation story though is On the Origin of the World

u/AviusQuovis · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

As a formerly religious person who now only approaches the bible from an historical and literary perspective, I like the New American Bible a lot. It's a well-done modern English translation that still does a great job of bringing through the poetry of the original texts. It also has extensive historical and cultural footnotes to put the strange ancient customs in perspective. As a bonus, it's put out by a group of Catholics, so it includes the Apocrypha as well, though this means the books are in a slightly different order than protestant translations.

http://www.amazon.com/American-Bible-Revised-Psalms-Testament/dp/0529064847

edit: see the reviews at the above linked Amazon page; they give a pretty good overview of the features!

u/SovietChef · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

Now that's a hard question to answer, mainly because there isn't one answer to it. Some part are allegory, some are literal, and others heavily dependent on the cultural context. The best way to view the Bible is not as one book, but rather as a library. In terms of how to view specific parts, a great way to examine this is to look at how the Church Fathers viewed the passage.

A great Bible for this purpose is the New American Bible which includes many helpful footnotes that can shed a lot of light on passages.