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New Testament reading group
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kel Offline
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Post: #1
New Testament reading group
Per this post in the God Pill thread, I've been wanting to do some kind of Bible read-through as an inveterate atheist/agnostic who's exploring Christianity and wishes to benefit from some of the more religiously read of this forum.

Rather than labor over the decision, I've put together a 21-week reading schedule that goes through the whole of the New Testament. If that gets some insightful convo, maybe we can do more.

Here's the reading schedule. Every Sunday, start reading the book and passages indicated and we'll discuss it throughout the week. We'll start this coming week with the first half of the book of Matthew.

Code:
Week starting    Reading
-------------    ---------
February 16      Matthew 1-14
February 23      Matthew 14-28
March 1          Mark
March 8          Luke 1-11
March 15         Luke 12-24
March 22         John 1-11
March 29         John 12-21
April 5          Acts 1-14
April 12         Acts 14-28
April 19         Romans
April 26         1 Corinthians
May 3            2 Corinthians
May 10           Galatians, Ephesians
May 17           Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians
May 24           1 Timothy, 2 Timothy
May 31           Titus, Philemon, Hebrews
June 7           James
June 14          1 Peter, 2 Peter
June 21          1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude
June 28          Revelation 1-10
July 5           Revelation 11-22
02-15-2020 12:58 AM
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Roosh Offline
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Post: #2
RE: New Testament reading group
Pace seems reasonable. Though it'll probably hard to do this virtually instead of through an in-person group.

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02-15-2020 10:32 AM
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ed pluribus unum Offline
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Post: #3
RE: New Testament reading group
Which bible will you be reading?

For a long time now I've been telling myself I need to read the Bible cover-to-cover but never got around to it - thanks for starting this thread.

"Intellectuals are naturally attracted by the idea of a planned society, in the belief that they will be in charge of it" -Roger Scruton
02-15-2020 10:34 AM
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bucky Offline
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Post: #4
RE: New Testament reading group
(02-15-2020 10:34 AM)ed pluribus unum Wrote:  Which bible will you be reading?

For a long time now I've been telling myself I need to read the Bible cover-to-cover but never got around to it - thanks for starting this thread.

I favor the King James version, but that's largely because the denomination I grew up in used it. I also like the Shakespearean language, although it's likely not a good reflection of the very simple, everyday Greek in which the New Testament was written.

Translations do matter. I used to do Bible study with my wife with her Catholic Bible in Spanish. Some specific passages were wildly different from what I remembered from the KJV.

Feminism in ten words: "Stop objectifying women! Can't you see I've hit the wall?" -Leonard D Neubache
02-15-2020 11:10 AM
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kel Offline
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Post: #5
RE: New Testament reading group
Personally I'm reading the New King James Version (NKJV) since I have a physical copy of that (with helpful footnotes and context) and when possible I prefer physical copies over eBooks or especially traditional screens. I'm very interested in comparing versions, though. Places like Bible Gateway are good for that. I also saw a site once with the translation up top and word-by-word or term-by-term original Greek or Hebrew at the bottom so you could research an individual word. Kinda like this but better designed. Have not found it since.

I agree an in-person group is better, and I'm planning on doing this with some friends as well, but figured this was a good place to start as there are some well-read people on here and even after we're done the conversation could be a good resource for people to refer to later (if this place isn't SEO-shadow-banned).
02-15-2020 02:29 PM
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kel Offline
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Post: #6
RE: New Testament reading group
Oh yeah, and I likewise prefer the "thous" and "withers" of the KJV, gives it a feeling of ancientness even though I know it's just a translation reflecting the language at that arbitrary place and time. NKJV doesn't have that, but I'll manage.
02-15-2020 02:31 PM
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Doubting Thomas Offline
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Post: #7
RE: New Testament reading group
Around Christmas time I started reading through the New Testament. Initially I just was going to read the nativity stories, but then I figured why stop there. I had previously read a few of the Gospels maybe 10 years ago, so I thought it a good time to revisit it. I've been doing 2 chapters in the morning when waking up and 2 chapters before going to bed. For me at least, if I read too much at a time I can start to lose focus, so these small blocks help me concentrate on what I'm reading.

I started with the Gospel of John. I was much more familiar with the synoptic Gospels, so I wanted to start with John in case I lost focus and didn't finish like I planned. After John, I read Mark. Most scholars seem to agree that Mark was the earliest written Gospel and that Matthew and Luke both use Mark as a source. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but Mark is the shortest Gospel and there are only 2 small passages that are unique and do not tell a story not also found in Matthew or Luke. I read Matthew next, which having read them all now was the Gospels I most enjoyed reading. Lastly I read Luke. The author of Luke is the same as the author of the Acts of the Apostles, which I read next, so by reading in this order I kept some of the continuity.

I already had pretty decent knowledge of the information in most of the Gospels, as my parents are conservative Catholics and I went to Catholic schools my whole life. I had never read any of the epistles before, although at church the second reading would often come from the epistles. In the New Testament, the traditional order of the epistles is longest to shortest. In the Bible I am reading, there is a brief 2 page introduction to the epistles in which it lists the presumed chronology in which the epistles were written. I'm starting with the epistles written by Paul. So far I've read Thessalonians 1 and 2, Corinthians 1 and 2, and Galatians. I'm currently about 3/4 of the way through Romans.

Lurking this forum is another thing that probably inspired me to read through the New Testament. I only made an account here at the beginning of this month. If I am honest, my faith itself is not very strong, and I have many doubts, but I feel reading the New Testament has been a very positive experience regardless. It is something I would highly recommend to all whatever your religious beliefs.
02-15-2020 02:35 PM
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kel Offline
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Post: #8
RE: New Testament reading group
Sorry, I got busy this week and dropped the ball on this thread. I did read at a good pace, though.

Some notes from my bible that I found interesting:

1:3 includes the names of some women when listing the genealogy from Abraham to David to Jesus, "Each one was either a Gentile or a sinner... [this] prefigures the calling of Gentiles into the Church".

1:17 Summarizes that the whole genealogy breaks down into three sets of fourteen generations: fourteen from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to captivity in Babylon, and fourteen from captivity in Babylon to Jesus. "Fourteen is the numerical equivalent of the consonants in David... This also shows division of leadership of the Jews, being under judges until David, under kings until Babylon, and under priests until Jesus".

1:18-25 rationalizes Joseph getting cucked (by God, allegedly), and makes a link to Isaiah 7:14 prophesying the coming of the messiah.

In chapter 2 the wise men come. This event has worked its way into Christmas mythology and manger plays, although the text makes it clear that this was some time after his birth in fact. My bible says the magi - foreigners coming from the Orient ("most likely Persia") - "prefigure the Church, in which membership is determined by faith and not by ethnic lineage".

2:16 Herod orders the murder of all boys in Bethlehem under two, analogous to Pharaoh ordering the death of newborn Jewish boys in Exodus.

3:6 and 13-16 mention John the Baptist baptizing people, including Jesus, in the Jordan. You can visit it here from either the Palestinian or Jordanian side and be baptized. Anyone been? I remember seeing Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown be baptized there by what I think was a branch of the now-infamous Black Hebrew Israelites on some reality show like 20 years ago.

Chapter 4 Jesus is challenged and tempted by "the devil" (διαβόλου). I know the bible doesn't actually talk much about the devil, hell (fire appeared a few times in Matthew 3), the afterlife, etc. The nature of the devil is not entirely clear here.
(This post was last modified: 02-23-2020 01:52 AM by kel.)
02-23-2020 01:49 AM
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NoMoreTO Offline
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Post: #9
RE: New Testament reading group
I have read lots of the New Testament (perhaps all) but never in an ordered fashion. The old testament I mostly dabbled in - Genesis, Exodus, Sirach, Psalms, Proverbs.

I began a read on January 1 and I can say I feel relieved because I know that in one year I will have 'read the whole bible'. Particularly, all the parts I would typically avoid as other parts interest me more.

Imagine being a Christian and never being able to say with confidence to someone who didn't believe that you have read the whole Bible. Yes in a way that is fine to believe without reading the whole thing, but in another way if we want to be soldiers for Christ, or Christian Fathers to our Children it is important.

Once I have read the bible once, I will likely do more focussed reading on topics of interest to me. Or I will know where to go in the Bible, for specific understandings. I will have read the details of some of the stories, where now I only really have the 'coles notes'.

Great idea in your read! I'd encourage people to jump on the thread and read Matthew from the Douay Rheims. It offers a chance to daily chip away at something whenever you are passing time on the forum. I was saying on the thread that I am going to like the passages I read online. It's a Catholic translation from about the same time as KJV. The more guys we get we could potentially discuss also. We are only 4 chapters in so easy enough to catch up. I think the title leaves a lot of people missing the point of the thread.

Gospel_of_Matthew

For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Rom 1:22
(This post was last modified: 02-23-2020 09:26 PM by NoMoreTO.)
02-23-2020 09:22 PM
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ed pluribus unum Offline
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Post: #10
RE: New Testament reading group
How's the reading coming along?

I find I have to stop occasionally to look up the meaning of a particular phrase (e.g. "let the dead bury their own dead"). There are no end of online resources, but are there any preferred ones?

FYI the bible I am reading is the New American Standard aka the little freebie handed out by the Gideons. I picked it up years ago and have always carried it around with me, despite never actually reading it, so I figured I may as well start there.

"Intellectuals are naturally attracted by the idea of a planned society, in the belief that they will be in charge of it" -Roger Scruton
03-02-2020 07:24 AM
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Celibate Warrior21 Offline
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Post: #11
RE: New Testament reading group
The King James Bible is the most practical.
03-02-2020 07:42 AM
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An0dyne Offline
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Post: #12
RE: New Testament reading group
(02-15-2020 02:31 PM)kel Wrote:  Oh yeah, and I likewise prefer the "thous" and "withers" of the KJV, gives it a feeling of ancientness even though I know it's just a translation reflecting the language at that arbitrary place and time. NKJV doesn't have that, but I'll manage.

It wasn't particularly arbitrary. The Greek of the New Testament has distinction between the second person singular and plural which is reflected by the use of the second-person singular ("thou" and "thine"). This distinction still exists in other European languages (thou=du in German, tu in French/Spanish, etc., thine=dein in German, etc.). In fact, the forms are still used in some dialects in England. It only fell out of use in our language because the middle class felt insulted by the use of the familiar/less formal "thee and thou," as "you" and "your" were formal pronouns reserved for high class/nobility. Ironically we view thee/thou as formal today because they are almost exclusively used in ecclesiastical contexts, but they were not initially so.
(This post was last modified: 03-02-2020 10:44 AM by An0dyne.)
03-02-2020 10:41 AM
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kel Offline
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Post: #13
RE: New Testament reading group
Arbitrary in that it's just the language that was in use at the time and place that the translation happened.
03-02-2020 03:02 PM
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kel Offline
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Post: #14
RE: New Testament reading group
(03-02-2020 07:24 AM)ed pluribus unum Wrote:  How's the reading coming along?

I managed to lose my bible, so I balked on last week. I will pick back up this week, just reading online until I get a new one.

Book of Mark!
03-02-2020 03:02 PM
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Athanasius Offline
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RE: New Testament reading group
For study and reading I prefer the 1995 New American Standard Bible (NASB). It's honestly not the most readable version but is probably the most accurate translation. The NKJV is also good. The ESV is good and more readable than the NASB, but it makes a few lamentable choices w/sexuality issues that it shouldn't.

The KJV is incomparably beautiful, to be sure, with much of its language taken from Tyndale's translation.

John 11:24 (NASB) Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”

John 11:24 (KJV) Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
(This post was last modified: 03-02-2020 08:37 PM by Athanasius.)
03-02-2020 08:32 PM
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