Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
O. (Psalm 105:1-4): I love the beginning of this Psalm. This was written for the Israelites, but I think we could apply the first two verses to our lives, but more of as a collective charge. We have talked way back to where we should use discretion when proclaiming God. If you shout out today how wondrous God is, chances are you’ll get some weird looks. (If you have enough confidence to shout His praises, more power to you. Go for it. I would stop to listen!) But, if you testify in the right place at the right time, it can work. Or, if this could be more a collective charge where this first two verses are addressing Christians as a whole to have God on our mind, act godly and proclaim Him whenever possible, we can apply it to today. Verses 3 and 4 are right on! The more I search for God and request His thoughts, the easier my life is.
O. (105:7): We have read a lot about that. Those folks should have woken up after all the destruction God did and then rebuilding.
O. (105:8-45): The rest of this Psalm is about how God never faltered on His covenant with Abraham. Despite all the anger and humiliation God had to endure, He still put up with them. He kept the covenant.
Q. (106): This Psalm takes us, and the original authors of this passage, way back through lots of generations — 700 or so years worth. But, they tell it like it just happened yesterday. And now, we are reading it 2700 years later (I think my estimations are correct). It’s just amazing how God and the Bible have lasted through all of these years! Just an off-the-wall curious question: I would assume that the Bible is the oldest book of any religion. Any idea how far other religions date back?
A. When it comes to monotheism, you would be correct, the OT is the “oldest” major religious text. But there’s a reason: both of the other major monotheistic religions both spring from Judaism — Christianity (circa 30 AD) and Islam (622 AD). But the oldest still practiced religion is Hinduism, which is a polytheistic (many gods) and pantheistic (everything is god) religion, the primary faith of the Indian sub-continent. Though there is no official “founder” for Hinduism as Judaism associates with Abraham, an ancient form of the religion in the Indus river valley can be basically traced back nearly 5000 years (to circa 3000 BC), so it gets the title of “oldest still practiced religion.” Among their sacred texts are what are called the Four Vedas (truths), and though it is generally accepted that their final composition/editing occurred around 600 BC, they are much older than that, and probably date to an older period than the OT.
Now you can make the argument that forms of spirit worship, the worship of nature, and other such forms of what we would call “paganism” can go back many more thousands of years to primitive mankind even tens of thousands of years ago, but there is no “direct” line from these religious positions to a modern form.
Major Monotheistic Religions:
Judaism (circa 2000 BC)
Zoroastrianism (circa 600 BC)
Christianity (circa 30 AD)
Islam (622 AD)
Sikhism (1469 AD)
Mormonism (1820s AD)
Baha’i (1844 AD)
Major Polytheistic Religions:
Hinduism (circa 3000 BC)
Shintoism (800 AD)
Major Agnostic Religions/Philosophies
Jainism (circa 900 BC)
Buddhism (circa 500 BC)
Daoism (also spelled Taoism, 400 BC)
Confucianism (circa 400 BC)