What is the Bible About Anyway?

The Bible can be intimidating right? When you pick it up to read, where do you start?  In the beginning? (#punning). Or do you start with the words of the wise in Proverbs? Jesus seems to be pretty important. Do you start by reading about His life in the Gospel books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

Whether you’re new to Christianity or have been following Jesus for a lifetime, knowing how to read the Bible and where to start can be a challenge.

Confession: I’m a 100% through and through book nerd. My idea of a hot Friday night? A good book in one hand a glass of vino in the other. I devour books as if they are a big ‘ole fat slice of pie. I love books.

THE BIBLE and the Bible

THE BIBLE is a huge hit. The Bible, not so much.

THE BIBLE, of course, is the recently aired mini-series that captured record ratings on cable television’s The History Channel. Produced by reality show guru Mark Burnett and his wife and former angel, Roma Downey, the five episodes that collectively covered the sweep of human history as recorded in the Bible were viewed by 100 million people. That’s astounding.

By comparison, the Bible, known by many as the Holy Bible, is the actual book you have in your home. To be completely accurate, if you’re an American, there’s an 88 percent chance you own at least one Bible. There’s only one problem. If you read it at all, you’re likely reading it just four times a year or less. That’s embarrassing.

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Why God...He in Scripture?

David Capes is the Thomas Nelson Research Professor at Houston Baptist University. He is the author of numerous publications and is one of the top scholars and writers for The Voice, a new Bible translation that reads like a story with all of the truth and wisdom of God's Word. Recently Dr. Capes was asked why the translators of The Voice used masculine pronouns to refer to God?

When it comes to pronouns, English provides three options: masculine, feminine, and neuter.  Think of it this way.  It is either God…He or God…She or God…It.

Well, you can rule out the 3rd option because “it” is used with impersonal antecedents. We don’t use “it” to refer to persons; we use “it” to refer to things. Remember too our theme is built around the idea of “the voice” that has been and continues to speak. Things might make a sound but they don’t have a voice. Only a person has a voice and the Christian Scriptures are clear that God is not an impersonal force or thing; God is a person.

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Welcome to The Way

Now that you’re here, you’re probably asking, “What is The Way?” Is it a book? A bunch of Jesus freaks? Hippies trying to make a comeback after 40 years of wandering?

For starters, The Way is a Bible. But not that type of Bible. The Way started out as a groovy, counter-culture Bible in the early ‘70’s. It wasn’t the straight laced, black-type, burgundy-covered piece of arm candy that you carried to church every Sunday. It was a Bible that, for the first time, offered honest reflections and stories from real people right next to the Bible text.

Millions of teens and twenty-something’s had their copy. Just ask around.

And that’s exactly what The Way is now. Everything’s different inside, but the idea is the same. It’s a place to come in, and a place to go out.

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The bestselling books of all time are stories

I've always been fascinating with Top 10 lists, especially when they involve books. I suppose that comes from being around books all my life: selling them, writing them and now publishing them. Just this week I ran across a Top 10 book list that made me stop and reflect on what makes a book a bestseller. Thanks to a post from Justin Taylor, I found a graphic showing the Top 10 books over the last 50 years (If you can't quite read the graph, click here for a closer look). It's a fascinating and instructive list for one very simple reason: 8 of the Top 10 books are stories.

Number one, of course, is the Bible, the greatest Story of all (and the bestselling book, not just in the last 50 years, but for all time and by a wide margin), followed by Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Alchemist, The Da Vinci Code, The Twilight Saga, Gone With the Wind, and The Diary of Anne Frank. The only exceptions are Quotations from Chairman Mao (otherwise known as The Little Red Book), and Think and Grow Rich (one of the bestselling "self-improvement" books of all time). And if you throw out Quotations from Chairman Mao, mainly because it's probably required reading in Chairman Mao's home country, you're left with just one book in the Top 10 most popular books of the last 50 years that isn't a story.

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God's Word in Action

ConversantLife is excited to partner with Thomas Nelson, Inc. and World Vision in a unique and biblical campaign called "God's Word in Action." Through this comprehensive campaign, Thomas Nelson's Bible Group is donating at least $100,000 through March 2012 to World Vision to help eradicate poverty and preventable deaths among children.

At ConversantLife, we're all about content that encourages conversations about faith and culture. So when we heard about a leading Bible publisher teaming with the world's largest relief organization, we immediately wanted to be involved. The way we see it, the Bible contains life's most important content, and helping "the least of these" is at the heart of the gospel message.

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Finding Connection in the OT

Life is noisy. Life is loud. Life is fast. To find solitude, peace and quiet is like trying to find water in the Sahara Desert.   Too often it seems that any ‘down time’ we might have, we fill with internet surfing, social media chatter or any use of our cell phones. We’ve been told these gadgets will help us stay more connected to friends and family and yet, these things and more seem to only isolate individuals, creating little islands of wandering souls constantly seeking connection but never fully attaining it.

This past summer I began reading through entire books of the Old Testament. I was captivated by the stories I read and by the way the Lord was fully active in their lives.

Isaiah experienced the God who completely engages with every one of Isaiah’s senses. First, Isaiah sees God.  He then hears singing unto the Lord on his throne. He felt the ground shake as the glory of God was upon him. He smells and tastes the smoke that filled the temple. Immediately upon seeing and experiencing this, Isaiah confesses his sins before the Lord. And then something incredible happens. The Lord touches Isaiah’s lips with a hot coal, atoning for his sin and making him clean. At this, God reveals his mission and Isaiah accepts the call to follow him. How could you not after an encounter such as that? Isaiah reminded me to be aware of my culture and to pray for my people. (Is. 62:6,7).
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