Sorry, this is rather long winded, but I want to get my points across. Begin rant: One day seven-year-old Josh goes to talk to his Sunday school teacher. Josh had an idea, he explains. He wants to memorize the Bible one verse at a time. He plans on just opening it at random once a week and memorizing whatever his finger falls on. His Sunday school teacher messes up the kid's hair, thinking how cute he is, and tells him "that's a wonderful idea". Thus begins an absolutely terrible Bible study plan for Josh that's lible to make him NEVER understand the Bible, even if and when he eventually abandones the plan. Thanks alot teacher, maybe you should base things more on what is reasonable, not what is "cute". This is of course a dramatization, but at the same time, it actually happens. I'm so tempted to make a website and have one the feature be the "daily insperational verse" today its: "Jesus wept" tomorrow its: These were the sons of Sier the Horite, who were living in the region: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeion Anah. And then the next day, since we were asked to give greater context on the last verse: Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These sons of Seir in Edom were Horite cheifs. This would be done to make a statement of course, about the modern treatment of Biblical material. Out of context it's impossible to know what any one verse is refering to, they're not meant to be stand alone and no the Bible is not a giant feel good or feel bad book. It presents you with the truth, take or leave it, it doesn't matter how you feel. And so out come the Bible study plans. First read John three times, John is the apostle of love (but isn't Genisis first- yes but Genisis is confusing so read John first-), now read the other three gospels once, and then reread John. (Do you just have an obsession with the book of John?- whatever makes you think that?-) Now read the Romans, Galations and Ephesians... and then John again. Now read Psalm 150. (Why? - It's the longest chapter in the Bible- I agree it's practically a book itself but still, why read it stand alone? - no more questions!). Now read Revelations, it will be hard to understand (I wonder why! -silence!-) at first, but with cross referencing and reading these seven various devotional books by various authors, you might just be able to piece things together. Now read the Books of Moses, except Numbers, only read that as a point of interest. (I thought Numbers was PART of the sacred text.) Now read 1st Samuel through 2 Chronicles, Joshua is a history lesson, don't worry, you can read it later. (Yes but aren't 1st Samuel through 2nd Chronicles also history lessons?- what did I say?- ) Now read the rest of the books however you like. (What... what they aren't important or you didn't want to come up with junk plans like this for all 66 books?) Again, a dramatization, but for a point. Reading the books of the Bible out of sequence and focusing major attention on some and not others leads to obvious problems. After reading John three times, when you finally do read Genisis, it will be through the lense of John, and you'll be checking everything against John. When in fact, it was intended that you verify John with Genisis, not the other way around. It's Genisis that starts the story, and John that finishes it. John makes little sense without Genisis, but you don't need John to interpret Genisis. (Remember, one existed for thousands of years WITHOUT the other.) The books of the modern Bible weren't just slapped into place and can fit anywhere and still make sense like a series of legos. The fathers of our faith had reasons for putting the Bible in the order it's in. The main reason, it seemed to make the most sense in that manner. By this, should I read the books in their universally accepted order, or in the order some silly preacher made up, seemingly without much thought to consistency and what makes sense? Read your devotionals if you like, take your study plans. But remember, there is NO substitute for reading the books of the Bible in a sensible order, such as the order they're already in. Study plans are great... or can be... in any case, they should be done AFTER reading the Bible like a normal book that you intend on UNDERSTANDING. What do I mean by, understanding? How about this: read the Bible in order, come to something you don't understand, read on a little bit. If it doesn't become clear, cross reference with other translations and try back tracking. Translation: read it how you would a normal book. ____________________________________________________ On quoting: The verses of the Bible are NOT stand alone. Without context they contradict, make no sense and often have little value. It's like reading Moby Dick, one random sentence at a time. It will never make sense. They wonder how the Sceptics Annotated Bible, dispite being a colossal momument to stupidity, convinces people of anything. Simple, because, its non-sense demonstrated study habits and quoting habits, match what Christians do all the time. I'm guilty of this myself and am trying to improve on my quoting and studying habits. But it's hard to leave behind what seems like the Christian norm, which it would seem, is outright disrespect for the word of God. If I'm not the only person who feels this way, I would like to put forward a new forum rule. Humbly I address this, but I think it should be done. Verses MUST have proper context given. This will force people to think about what they are saying and will avoid confusion. Maybe even, heaven fobid, having to put things in context, will force some to reexamine their beliefs... in fact almost garantee it. It forced me to do so. As to what correct context is, yes that can be debated, but most Bibles actually outline different sections. Just sticking with, quoting an entire parable, instead of just one sentence from it, for instance, should be satisfactory. Context explains, purpose, setting, the individuals concerned and the events concerned with a sentence. It can be several chapters or a few paragraphs. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/context Rarely if ever is it one or two sentences... stratch that, CONTEXT IS NEVER ONE OR TWO SENTENCES. Not in the Bible anyway. ___________________________________________ Wow that was alot. Okay. So yea, my thoughts on the subject are pretty set, but still, I want to hear what other people have to say. At the very least we can learn how such practices pick up.