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Top Ten Posts for 2012 at The Bible Blog

Here are the ten most popular posts at The Bible Blog for 2012. Thank you for reading these posts:

  1. Biblical References in Jude
  2. Samson and Delilah
  3. Which Gospel Should I Read?
  4. Book Review: A Generous Orthodoxy, by Brian McLaren
  5. Omni God
  6. The Origin of Purim
  7. Beware the Adulteress
  8. Enlarge My Territory
  9. Fact or Fiction?
  10. Contemplating Cain

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

2013 Bible Reading Plans

The 2013 Bible reading guides are now available.

With a commitment of just five minutes a day, Monday through Friday, you can read the entire New Testament in one year.

By upping the commitment to 10 to 12 minutes a day, you can read the entire Old Testament in one year.

If these options seem like too much, we have some alternate monthly Bible reading plans as well.

Learn more about the Bible at A Bible A Day and check out our Bible reading plans.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

A Personal Note From God

When Moses went up the mountain to get the 10 Commandments (the second time), God said “I will write on [the tablets] the words…” Imagine that, God providing written communication for Moses.

But it’s not just Moses, a few centuries later David said, “I have in writing from the hand of the Lord…” God wrote the instructions for David about building the temple, with “all the details,” so there’d be no confusion.

Wouldn’t it be great if God would write things down for us?

Wait, he did — and we can read it every day.

As we approach a new year, I encourage you to read what God said every day. Consider it a New Year’s Resolution, one with eternal ramifications.

Check back next week for the 2013 Bible reading plans.

[Exodus 34:1 and 1 Chronicles 28:19]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

Ten Most Difficult Books in the Bible

Just as I have favorite books in the Bible, I also have a few I struggle with. You’ll likely agree with some on my list, but others may surprise.

My least favorite books of the Bible are:

1. Leviticus is packed with laws, rules, and expectations. With patience, there’s much insight to discover. Yet, after a while, my eyes glaze over.

2. Deuteronomy repeats some of Leviticus and adds more. The implications are wonderful, but it’s a tough read for me.

3. Isaiah is loved my many with its frequent allusions to Jesus. Yet it’s also long and plodding for me to read.

4. Jeremiah is an interesting tale, but a discouraging read and may not be in chronological order, adding confusion.

5. Lamentations is a series of five poems or laments, formatted not unlike a funeral dirge. This is not my preferred genre.

6. Ezekiel contains perplexing visions and strange imagery. There’s a lot to unpack.

7. Psalms is essentially a prayer journal. It’s raw and honest, resonating with many, but often distressing me.

8. Hebrews contains incredible information connecting Jesus with the Old Testament, but I struggle to work through it.

9. John is the “go to” gospel for many people, but his poetic style doesn’t click with me.

10. Revelation is a book of an epic battle between good and evil. Good wins. The end. But the details weigh me down.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

Top Ten Books of the Bible

The Protestant Bible contains 66 books, while the Catholic Bible adds seven more. I’ve read them all, seeing value in each one. But I like some more than others.

Here are my top ten books of the Bible:

1. Luke was a doctor and the only non-Jewish author in the New Testament. He writes as an outsider, more readily connecting with those on the outside. Luke has a straightforward style, with compelling language.

The book contains details not found in the other gospels and includes the oft-read Christmas story of Jesus.

2. Acts, also written by Dr Luke, continues where the book of Luke ended. Luke and Acts comprise a gripping two-book combination. Noteworthy in Acts is nearly 100 mentions of the Holy Spirit.

3. Daniel begins with six stories about Daniel and his three buddies. The last half contains four visions from God about the future.

4. Jude encourages believers to “contend for the faith” and contains warnings about ungodly people who have infiltrated the church.

5. James presents many practical teachings. Some misunderstand the book as setting aside faith in favor of good works, but this is not the case.

6. Genesis contains accounts of some colorful characters whose actions are sometimes hard to understand. Yet this is life: raw, perplexing, and occasionally, shocking.

7. Ruth is a captivating story of a widowed woman’s loyalty to her mother-in-law and the resulting reward for her devotion.

8. Esther is an intriguing story of obedience, duty, risk, and love.

9. Tobit is a supernatural epic adventure. It would make a great paranormal movie. Really.

10. Judith is the tale of a beautiful woman who daringly delivers her people from their enemies, using beauty and charm, all the while maintaining her virtue.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

4 Johns but 1 Mark

In “Another Man with Two Names” we talked about a guy known as John Mark. Although no one knows why he’s called John Mark, it does distinguish him from other men in the Bible named John.

In addition to John Mark, I count four guys in the Bible with the name of John:

It seems there is only one guy called Mark. Mark is mentioned eight times in the New Testament (three times as John Mark, twice as Mark, but referring to John Mark, and three times as Mark, likely referencing John Mark.)

Lastly, John Mark (sometimes called Mark) may have been the author of the book of Mark. Wouldn’t it be confusing if we called his book John-Mark, instead?

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

Another Man With Two Names

Last week we talked about Simon Peter, a guy with two names. Another man with two names is John Mark.

Unlike Abraham and Sarah who received new identities from God and Peter who got his second name from Jesus, the origin of John Mark’s two names seems to lack divine origin.

Perhaps his parents gave him one name at birth and his other label, a nickname bestowed by friends. Maybe he needed two names to avoid confusion with other guys named John and other dudes called Mark.

Regardless John Mark’s dual name does not seem to have any spiritual significance, but to simply be practical.

Even so, John Mark is a fun name to say.

[Read more about John Mark in “Lessons from the Life of John Mark” and “The Comeback of John Mark.”]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

9 Guys in the Bible Named Simon

In the last post, we talked about the disciple Simon, who Jesus named Peter.

I only know of one person called Peter in the Bible, but there are several guys named Simon:

  1. Simon Peter (the disciple)
  2. Simon the Zealot (another disciple, which may be why Jesus called the other Simon, Peter)
  3. Simon the brother of Jesus (his other brothers were James, Joseph, and Judas)
  4. Simon the leper (the owner of the home where Jesus’ head was anointed with oil)
  5. Simon from Cyrene (who carried Jesus’ cross)
  6. Simon the Pharisee (the owner of the home where Jesus feet were washed with perfume)
  7. Simon Iscariot (father of Judas Iscariot)
  8. Simon the sorcerer (who asked to buy Holy Spirit power)
  9. Simon the tanner (who Peter stayed with in Joppa when Cornelius sent for him)

I would have never guessed there were this many Simons in the Bible.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

Jesus Gives a New Name to Simon

One of Jesus’ disciples was Simon, who Jesus renamed Peter.

According to the Amplified Bible, Peter means “stone” or “a large piece of rock.”

Sometimes the Bible refers to him as Simon (47 times) and other times Simon Peter (33 times) but mostly just Peter (139 times).

Peter was the first leader of Jesus’ followers, so calling him “rock” fits. Perhaps Jesus gave Peter a new name to preview his future as a leader.

Even more interesting is a play on words Jesus uses in Matthew 16:16-18. The implication isn’t apparent in most versions of the Bible, but the Amplified Bible captures it nicely (even throwing in some Greek to make sure we don’t miss it).

Peter (Petros, “a large piece of rock,” essentially a rock) gives a proclamation (Petra, “a huge rock-like Gibraltar,” essentially the rock) saying Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus affirms Peter’s words, declaring them to be the foundation on which he will build his church.

Peter is not the foundation, but his testimony is.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

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Bible

Blindness Leads to Sight

When God needed to turn Saul’s life around, he used a supernatural light, an unseen voice, and temporary blindness to get Saul’s attention (Acts 9:3-9).

Some time later, Saul (Paul), under the power of the Holy Spirit, did the same thing to a guy named Elymas. Elymas was supernaturally blinded for a time so God could get his attention (Acts 13:9-11).

These two accounts have amazing similarities.

Before both of these occurred, Jesus healed a blind man. When questioned about it, the man said, “I once was blind, but now I see.”

What he said literally about Jesus healing him, we can say figuratively about Jesus saving us.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.