Bible Meme

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Kevin Sam tagged me with this meme. I don't always get around to following up on these things, but this seemed like less work than the post I'm working on that I'd otherwise be completing right now.

1. What translation of the Bible do you like best?

I probably use the ESV more than anything else.

2. Old or New Testament?

Uh ... they're both the Bible. I spend more time in the Old Testament just because it's bigger and takes longer to get through.

3. Favorite Book of the Bible?

I can't name a favorite, but some favorites are (in one particular order) Philippians, Isaiah, Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes, II Peter, and Habakkuk.

4. Favorite Chapter?

Again, I have to list several, but near the top would be Psalm 139, Philippians 2, II Peter 1, Genesis 50, Isaiah 10, John 17, Acts 17, Zechariah 14, and Genesis 5 (I'm not kidding about the last one, either; it's the key to a major theme of the book and of the entire Bible).

5. Favorite Verse?

Phil 3:12-14 isn't one verse, but it's one sentence that would be hard to break up.

6. Bible character you think you're most like?


7. One thing from the Bible that confuses you?

I don't know if it's really confusion, but one recent wondering that comes to mind is how the Ithamarites ended up with the high priesthood by the time Samuel was born given that the descendants of Phinehas the son of Eleazar should have had the high-priestly role.

8. Moses or Paul?

After my answer to #6, I can't resist saying Paul.

9. A teaching from the Bible that you struggle with or don't get?

I'm currently working on the fact that Paul can see the unknown God in Acts 17 as God, but he doesn't think someone believing a different gospel believes in the same Jesus as he does. He's got to be working with two different senses of "the same as", but I need to figure out what those two senses might be exactly. What's worse is finding the same phenomenon going on within one text in II Kings 17 with the syncretistic practices of the resettled peoples in the former northern kingdom counting as both fearing and not fearing YHWH.

10. Coolest name in the Bible?

Melchizedek is one of my favorites, but it's hard to resist mentioning Maher-shalal-hash-baz. I'm sure there are a few that I might like even more, but I won't be able to remember them now. Or is this a trick question, and it's supposed to be the tetragrammaton?

I have to tag five people, so here they are: Mike, Danny, Mark, Sam, and Nobody.


I put my list up.

Maher-shalal-hash-baz Pierce. Someone needs to make this happen.

You go right ahead.

Oh, please, I believe you were first in line.

I put my list up. I see there are other votes for Mephibosheth.

That Acts bit sort of came up in a conference about evangelizing Muslims. Dude was saying how Allah is the generic name for god just as we wouldn't say YHWH's personal name is God. He then was pointing out (in my very brief boiled down rehash) how elohim (in Gen 1) is even used throughout as the generic name for gods (Ex 18:11) and how Aaron pointed out the Golden Calf to be YHWH. So Paul in Acts 17 could say they're worshiping agnostos theo (generic) then talk about the theo who is making Himself known.

Some very dour-faced old-school Plymouth Brethren didn't seem very happy hearing that this guy was (in their minds) saying that Allah and God were one and the same so in the Q/A he was asked to clarify.

He sort of answered this way: The way I like to answer this is like this -- Were Cain and Abel worshiping the same God? Well in one sense, yes: it was a matter of their faith and their worship which was weighed. In another sense no, since Cain was approaching not-by-faith and therefore rejecting the only way this God would be approached.

He did go into the proper naming of Allah but that's just me rambling at this point.

Rey- Do you use the name YHWH? In my church we do. We were just discussing this very topic yesterday. All over Exodus 3 YHWH is saying this is my name and make it known. Also, all over the bible it says there is power, authority etc. in His name. There is no power in the name God. It is YHWH.

I see this as if people just called me Pastry Chef because that's my occupation. Is it not demeaning to call YHWH by his title "God"?

Ken, I think it's good to use the name God revealed himself to Moses with. I do think it's good to keep in mind the ancient near east's sense of the significance of a name, though. A name stands for a person's character or very being. The revelation of God's name in Exodus 3 and then the subsequent one in Exodus 34 aren't just announcements that he's called YHWH. The first reveals him as self-existent and as creator, and the second reveals his perfect justice and mercy, among other things. Also, speaking in someone's name is speaking with their authority. It's not a magical use of the name as if you say some magic words. I don't think that's what you meant, but I think it's a lot broader than just the physical sound coming out of your mouth.

When the ancient Hebrews called God 'El' and 'Elohim', I think one of the things they were doing was proclaiming him as the one true God, the one who rules over all. I don't think it's empty to call God "God". But there is a reason there are many other ways of talking about and to God in the scriptures, including the proper name YHWH. But I do think the word 'God' in English has become a proper name, just not the same one. Someone can have more than one proper name. The same person could be called both Superman and Clark Kent, and both are proper names, neither of which is actually his birth name, which is Kal-El.

Ken: I personally use YHWH but mostly to make a point when specifying The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (as in identifying Him directly to history instead of an ambiguous reference to someone Jesus died to appease).

Side note: I had to do a google search because this discussion sounded hauntingly familiar and then came a reference to Kal-El. January 2005, we weren't talking about names as such but the separation of the Father and Son. Pretty cool.

Hi Jeremy, I only just stumbled across this by accident today. Google Reader hasn't given me any of your posts for the last month. I was subscribed to index.xml. I've switched to atom.xml now and all seems to be well. I'll post my answers this week if I get the chance.

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