On this blog, I write paragraph-long summaries of 4 chapters of the Bible every weekday, accompanied by introductions and commentary. If you think my summary is inaccurate, or that it missed something important, please tell me know in the comments! If you’ve read the chapters and think you can write a better summary, please include it in the comments.
This blog is not meant to promote or attack Christianity; it is meant to document my journey in examining the Bible from a critical scholarly perspective. Nothing I say should be offensive to a Christian, atheist, Muslim, or person of any other religion. Since I am not a Biblical scholar or a historian, I can only do my best to gauge what mainstream scholars think about a certain issue. If I make a mistake, please correct me.
At a pace of 4 chapters a day, I’ll finish the Bible in February 2016, after slightly more than a year. After finishing the Bible, I’ll probably proceed to other religious texts like the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita.
On New Year’s Day of 2015, I made a resolution with a fundamentalist Christian friend: we would both read 4 chapters of the Bible every weekday and send each other summaries. The summaries were meant to keep us honest. If one of us neglected our homework and didn’t send a summary, or sent a completely inaccurate summary, the other could start humiliating the slacker.
Eventually, I decided to put these summaries in a blog. This has three benefits. First, it would give me even more motivation to keep to schedule because more eyes would be checking on my progress. Second, I hope the blog helps people who want to know what is in the Bible but don’t have the time to read it themselves. Third, a blog is a great place to safely store my work. If my computer crashes, I won’t lose every summary I have ever written.
I will occasionally post my own commentary on the Bible reading. When I do, I’ll try to keep the commentary in line with the majority opinion of Biblical scholars. Even though most Biblical scholars are Christian, the academic consensus on many issues will shock the average Christian. For example, the New Testament contains 13 letters allegedly by Paul. Among those, 7 are undisputed–virtually every scholar agrees they were actually written by Paul. Three others–namely 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus–are also undisputed, in that virtually every scholar believes them to be forgeries written in the name of Paul. The remaining three letters, namely 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, are believed by some scholars to be genuine and others to be forgeries.
Every weekend, I plan to write an essay about an interesting topic. So far, I’ve written about the historical Jesus, the Gospel of John and its differences with the synoptics, and the diversity of early Christianity. If you have any good ideas, let me know!
These are my main sources for this blog:
- The New Oxford Annotated Bible
- The Jewish Study Bible (second edition)
- The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, by Bart Ehrman
- Two courses by Yale University: Introduction to the Old Testament and Introduction to the New Testament