"And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears From Their Eyes; And There Shall Be No More Death, Neither Sorrow, Nor Crying, Neither Shall There Be Any More Pain: For The Former Things Are Passed Away."
The first book I ever sat down and read entirely in the Bible, was Revelation (not Revelations as some may think).
If that doesn't put the fear of God into you, I am not sure what will.
Demons and the Anti-Christ, lakes of fire, dragons, a woman, 666, Earth, Heaven and Hell brought together one last time for the final confrontation between good and evil.
The book is very intricately written, filled with a symbolic nature and very apocalyptic.
It is composed literature as opposed to spoken literature.
It was written by St. John and is the last book in the Bible.
To me, it was fascinating to read, as well as scarier than anything I have ever read.
It is also my favorite book in the Bible.
I have read the Psalm, I have read Proverbs, I have read James, Genesis and Job.
I am working on Hebrews and Ephesians and no, I don't know why I didn't just start at the beginning and work my way to the end.
It probably would have been easier that way, however when have you ever known me to take the easy route. :)
Many people read the Bible just to say they read it, however if you don't understand it and more importantly if you don't apply it, you are doing more damage to yourself in the long run.
You can't bring skepticism, and expect there to be a way to reconcile that with Christian theology.
You should bring an open mind, never coloring the theology with your own personal characteristics.
If at all possible you need to read the Bible as a truly independent reader, lay down what you have heard in your life, in your Church, from your parents, friends etc...
Approach it as a new book you just got from the book store, one that has sat at the top of the bestseller list, one you have been dying to read but just didn't have the time to do so.
Just open it up and read, doesn't have to be cover to cover, unless you start in the Old Testament...
Start with something beautiful ~ Psalm or 1 Corinthians or Proverbs or yes even Revelation.
Dont try to force it all in one sitting, nor try to make perfect sense of each book that you read, don't restrict yourself nor God that way.
From what I can gather, and sad to say, Christians are the most restricted Bible readers of all...
They have an almost neurotic need to see their theology reflected in every word and paragraph of every book of the Bible.
The consequences of finding something that contradicts their theologies are so profound and disturbing that they must close their minds to even the possibility that they may just indeed be wrong.
It's has to be all coherent and consistent, otherwise what have they built their lives on?
There seems to be an awful lot of tension here, tension between the need to respect the ancient collection of works and the need to twist it into something it clearly isn't, that is what makes it hard for Christians to read the Bible as it truly is.
The correct way to read the Bible, is without prejudice and you need to be prepared to let the passages that do not make sense, just not make sense.
Reading the Bible is like planting a seed.
You dig a hole, you plant the seed, you cover it up, you add water and you do the one thing I really hate doing -
Eventually, if you continue to water it, it will bear good fruit, however it takes time.
Yes, there are inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible and yes, for many, their faith will be shaken.
But the shaking of your faith is always a good thing, otherwise, how do you expect your faith to increase?
You don't get faith by believing things without questioning them.
I don't think God wants that.
That is not what Christians are supposed to do.
You faith increases when you are tested, when you withstand that test and when you overcome that test.
Whenever you even think you understand God, He will then throw you a curve, and you have to start at a new place, not necessarily starting over, because each testing of your faith is allowing some form of growth.
What is real about your beliefs, will be what survives, grows, flourishes and is then refined, what is not, is discarded.
Now, back to the book of Revelation.
Yes it is filled with an almost unnatural fear, this tremendous fear of hellfire and brimstone and judgement.
If you look past that, you will also see what I see, you will then know why it is my favorite book in the Bible...
A book filled with the promise of something new, a love, that no one will ever be able to even come close to matching, a home, more beautiful than you could ever imagine, a peace, that you have never even come close to knowing, everlasting life with Him.
Lord Help Me Keep From Breaking All The Rules
Give Me One Thing I Can Choose
Maybe Something You Can Use
Cause I’ve Only Tried To Live What I Believed
Never Looking To Get Off Cheap
This Is Simply Not My Best Me