Intro: My One Sentence Bible

BibleEach year my goal is to read the Bible all the way through from cover to cover between January 1 and December 31. I have accomplished this goal each year since 2000. But it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it this year, and that bothers me.

It bothers me not because I’m missing a goal, but because it means I’m not ingesting and spending enough time with my Lord’s words. I just feel more alive when I am reading the Bible everyday … not necessarily an exhaustive study, but a careful read with my spirit open for the Lord to lead and speak.

As of today, August 18, 2009, I have made it from Genesis 1 (January 1) to Psalm 119 (August 15). I figured a great way for me to keep myself accountable is to write a one sentence summary of a particular verse or passage that moves me within whatever I chronologically read that day. I don’t have a set amount of verses or chapters I read each day – I let the Lord determine that. I read and then pray until my spirit is satisfied. The following one sentences are my chronological one sentence Bible, starting with Psalm 103, when I started writing the summaries.

Benefits of God: forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, compassion, satisfaction, renewal and justice. Psalm 103:1-6

“God does not treat us as our sins deserve.” Do I do that to others? No. Do you? We must re-adjust! Psalm 103:10

God is enduring no matter how many times we run. He will never give up on us, if only we would never give up on Him. Psalm 117:2

Society continues to use the fields of psychology, biology and politics prove its validity. Yet we’re doing the same thing to prove ours! Your assurance is in what? Psalm 118:8-9

One more day closer to death, or one more day ready to live? Get out of yourself and look what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17

I hope that throughout the upcoming days, months, years, these will be a blessing and an encouragement to you as they are to me. As long as I can get the internet each day, I will post my one sentence (yes, along with my usual posts as well).

YOU CAN FIND THE WHOLE SERIES OF ‘MY ONE SENTENCE BIBLE’ HERE

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • Mrs T

    I find it hard to read the Pentateuch, so I try to avoid having it fall in the winter & early spring(which in Chicago is still winter). I also read a Psalm a day(with dividing a few of the bigger ones & the 119th) which makes it twice a year for the Psalms, which we need! Therefore there is less of the other books to read daily. Now I am trying to read the Bible in a year & a half. I did it yearly for a while, then in 2 years, but ended up doing it faster. Now, I am into this pattern. [I like the KJV, but it is too slow to read & have ben reading an NIV I had for years.] I prefer the NT, but doing this forces us to remember the other parts. After reading about the kings so much, I get a feel of how God judges countries & how he may judge ours–not exaclty, but a general idea of how things go when we persist in ignoring Him. It also shows how merciful He is. Enjoy your new trip to California! :)

  • Audrey

    The male god of the male bible. Makes no sense for lesbians, I'll tell you.

    Let's get the male supremacy and male entitlement out of biblical quotes; it's a lesbian christian issue. If we are talking about bridges to lesbian christians, we certainly don't want to see this male centric everything.

    • b mc

      The Hebrew God was not a man. YHWH is gender neutral term, and in fact isn’t even a name proper.

      The ancient Jews taught that God was beyond gender, and even beyond personality – totally beyond human understanding. The Jewish God encompassed both the masculine and the feminine and yet was more then either.

      Hope this helps. :)

      B

    • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

      Over the last year since I first posted this Series I have been intentionally trying to reference God and the Holy Spirit not as a ‘he’ or ‘she’ but as God and the Holy Spirit. It’s been difficult, but something I want to do. Thanks for keeping it real.

  • Kevin

    Audrey,

    I was wondering if you had some suggestions related to the words "he" and "his" as they are used in traditional scriptural translations and in conversations referring to God for someone like me who believes that God is not a he or a she but that God transcends gender. It can apply to any piece of scripture where God is typically referred to as "he" or "his" is used for God, but to use Genesis 1:27 as an example I might typically say something like "God created man and woman in God's own image." I will continue to use the word "God" in subsititue for male centered langueage or if I feel like I am using the word "God" too much and it is sounding fairly repetitive I will preface using "he" by saying "for lack of a gender neutral pronoun." I think that even many who hold a more conservative or traditional interpretation agree with you that God is not male or a "he" but struggle with this in speech as there are not gender neutral pronouns as the construction of the english language we use today has no doubt been influenced by and infected with the sentiments and beliefs so prevalent in the patriarchal society we find ourselves in.

    • b

      The reason the male pronoun was used by the ancient Jews in reference to God, was due to the influence of the ancient Sumerians and their practice of using nature as a picture of creation.

      The ideal was that the sky was masculine as it rained down upon the Earth and fertilized it, much the same way that a male fertilizes his mate with his ejaculate. It was thought that it took both parts of this interaction to create, so both the Earth and the sky were “God.”
      Thus God was masculine *and* feminine.

      The Jews used the Masculine pronoun because the sky in this scenario was the initiator of the transaction – the “First Cause” if you will- and this squared with their ideal of their invisible, all powerful God, being the “First Cause” or initiator.

      Would it helped if you gave this information to your audience? So at least there is an understanding that the Semitic conception of God was not meant to be sexist?

  • Audrey

    Actually Kevin, you could probably find some really good resources from MCC on worship services that use "he/she" interchangably. "She" is THE most powerful word you can use for god, because it takes back the power of diety and gives it to women, just as men have had this power. And it is about power, don't mistake this.

    We changed all the words to hymns, for example in the Hallejuja chorus, we had "font of life and fire of love" which completely eliminated pronouns altogether. Sometimes I made a comic transition "And for us a dog is given" because I really love dogs, and if I imagine god as a big old loving dog that is changes the paradigm.

    Contact WATER — I think it stands for Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual— Mary Hunt's organization, because her partner, Diane Niu is a liturgical expert, and their newsletter is filled with rituals, readings and inclusive creativity.

    Largely, it is an act of poetic creativity. Kittredge Cherry, in her book "Equal Rites" has a whole bunch of inclusive and also gay and lesbian centered services. Many ministers have used her "marriage" ceremony in the book.

    Language is everything. Whoever controls the use of language controls culture and thought process. In order to undo patriarchy in my mind, I never want to have those words coming at me anymore. So I'm pretty vigilent in not being in places where "he" is used.

    Interestingly enough, when I was at a Jewish funeral service, the cantor was a woman. Later at the shiva service in a relative's home, one of the family members (a man maybe around 62) said that when lots of women started becoming cantors, he couldn't sing along with the service as easily as he did when it was all men as cantors. He said this completely without irony, never once thinking that Jewish women might not have been able to sing in the "male key" for 5000 years. Little details… :-)

    There are many "Inclusive Language Lectionaries" out there. Really, if a church thinks this is important, the resources have been there for decades now.

  • http://www.nuggetsnbits.blogspot.com Janet

    Andrew – Thank You. Very encouraging and inspiring. I get in a rut sometimes when reading the word. You’ve inspired me to go beyond the “reading” and comprehend the word by writing what it has spoken to me – in one sentence form. Great suggestion.

  • http://na b mc

    I find your passion laudable, but I think you may be doing yourself a disservice reading the Bible this way.

    I was so passionate about the Bible that I learned Greek, and studied Hebrew (which I still can’t read) and learned everything I could by reading the opinions of the greatest experts in the fields of Biblical scholarship and archeology.

    What I found out was that 85 – 90% of the experts agree about what the Bible says and means. Because I did this, the Bible makes total sense to me now, and I no longer have any questions or confusions.

    My guess is, you still struggle. I know this because I used to try to read the Bible the way you do and it only confused me and made me feel guilty for not being more inspired. Reading the Bible the way you do isn’t generally recommended by Bible experts.

    Anyways, I hope I haven’t offended you. If you find reading the Bible this way helpful then ignore me, but if you don’t then I’m happy to give you any help you like.

    b

    ps

    And no, Bible scholarship didn’t make me lose my faith. I now believe stronger then ever.

    • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

      Thanks! But just so you know I learned Hebrew and Greek while I was in seminary.

  • Dora

    b–
    You need to do some reading. I don’t really do feminism or christian feminism 101 anymore.

  • Caroline Barnor

    I pray the Lord give you more ego to read on as I am a reader of the bible at Church and you site gives me more morale. Though I fear it is going into the spiritual world too much.

  • http://www.noahorphansexchange.org.za Phila Khumalo

    I wished to read and finish my Bible every year I start but in a few months I find myself loosing track of the chapters and start with new books of the Bible.
    My achivement is that I had asked God to help me to wake up every day at 02:00 in the morning to pray this has been going on for days and I encounter good moments with my Creator and my days flow with peace each day.Though at times I fail.
    Since I got saved God has been soooo! good to me I even see His footprints in my life even befor I knew Him as my Lord and savor.He has been with me ,Loved me cared ,provided and prtected me in most things.If can start to share what the Lord has done for me I just wont stop.

    • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

      What a story Phila! Waking up at 02:00 to pray is great! Just make sure you’re getting some sleep though too…we need sleep to keep living. Don’t let the devil bring guilt upon yourself through this. Much love! :)

  • Samantha

    It’s beautiful that you are so focused on reading the Holy Scripture! WONDERFUL! Do you have a good bible study guide/companion to help you understand this incredibly deep and meaningful text? I recommend Scott Hahn’s Understanding the Scriptures.

    Happy reading!

  • http://www.championwebdesign.co.uk Maxie Hally

    Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa? My blog discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!


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