The Old Testament

[A summer repeat – from June 11, 2012]

I just finished reading the Old Testament (also called the Tanakh).  Took me about 15 months (between other books).  What a journey.   Powerful.  Occasionally inscrutable.  Sometime scary. But also encouraging.  I did not come upon any Old Testament comedians though the word “laugh” does appear 96 times in 93 verses. . . .

There was a lot to relish in this literary endeavor.  Here are a few favorite verses:

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.”   Ecclesiastes 9:10.  I keep this on a 3″ x 5″ card.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying ‘who shall I send?  Who will go for us?’ and I said ‘here am I.  Send me.'”  Isaiah 6:8.  This one too. . . .

Isaiah 9:5 and 6 provides the refrain from Handel’s “Messiah.”   And Isaiah 40:1 and 2 gives the opening lines of Handel’s masterpiece.   

Isaiah 40:4 and 5 offer famous lines from Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech.

There is Psalm 17:8 which I quoted in my Father of the Bride speech at my daughter’s wedding:  “She will always be the apple of my eye and in the shadow of my wings.” 

And of course there’s Proverbs 17:28 — “Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise.  And he that shutteth his lips is deemed a man of understanding.”   This passage tracks my father’s not-entirely-Biblical counsel when I was young “better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you’re a fool, than to open your mouth and have them know you’re a fool.”   

The New Testament

In my post of June 11, 2012, I talked about having finished reading the Old Testament.  I referenced some of my favorite verses therein (especially a quote from my father of the bride speech at Lauren’s wedding).  Well I’ve just finished reading the New Testament.  Again.  Quite a trip.  The Gospels are interesting and inspiring as they have been forever.  But there are some verses which I just had to write down.  Because sometimes one needs “special” inspiration.   

I Timothy 5:23 gives sage counsel:  “Drink no longer water but a little wine for thy stomach’s sake. . . .”    So who doesn’t feel obliged to have a little red wine (maybe a nice Bacio Divino cab) now and then? 

I Timothy 4:8 admonishes that “. . . bodily training is of some value.”  So I (sigh) feel the push to go to the fitness center a few times a week.

Which leads to the whole reason for a personal trainer.  I mean it’s right there in Hebrews 12:12 “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees. . . .” 

But let me be serious too.  There is one very special chapter – that I discovered on a particularly gray day in 1969.  It is I Corinthians 3.  I’m no theologian and you will rightly conclude that I am unqualified to offer incisive comment on the subject of faith.  But for me, most everything in Christianity distills in these 23 verses.  I can read this chapter over and over.  It is an old friend.  I find peace.  And I find calm.  And faith.  If you read it, I hope you will too.

The Old Testament

I just finished reading the Old Testament (also called the Tanakh).  Took me about 15 months (between other books).  Wow!  What a journey.   Some of it was powerful.  Some inscrutable.  Some scary and much was encouraging.  I did not come upon any Old Testament comedians though the word “laugh” does appear 96 times in 93 verses. . . .

There was a lot to like in this literary endeavor.  I came across verses that spoke to me or just educated me:

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.”   Ecclesiastes 9:10.  I keep this on a 3″ x 5″ card.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying ‘who shall I send?  Who will go for us?’ and I said ‘here am I.  Send me.‘”  Isaiah 6:8.  This too. . . .

Isaiah 9:5 and 6 provides the refrain from Handel’s “Messiah.”   And Isaiah 40:1 and 2 gives the opening lines of Handel’s masterpiece.   

Isaiah 40:4 and 5 offer famous lines from Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech.

There is Psalm 17:8 which I quoted in my Father of the Bride speech at my daughter’s wedding:  “She will always be the apple of my eye and in the shadow of my wings.” 

And of course there’s Proverbs 17:28 — “Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise.  And he that shutteth his lips is deemed a man of understanding.”   This passage tracks my father’s frequent though not-entirely-Biblical counsel when I was young “better for you to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are a fool, than to open your mouth and have them know you are one.”