18 July 2010

Jul 18

Reference links:
Old Testament

More boring lists. Chronicles is my least favorite book of the Bible so far. The only thing remotely interesting today is this statement:
When David took his census, he did not count those who were younger than twenty years of age, because the Lord had promised to make the Israelites as numerous as the stars in heaven.
It is interesting only in so far as it makes no sense. The first part does not, in any way that I can understand, follow from the second part.

New Testament

Paul talks about the importance of faith in having a right relationship with God. While I have not done a through study, it seems to me that faith in the Bible (at least so far) is applied differently than faith today. Faith is never considered necessary for belief in God or belief in Jesus' power to perform miracles. Rather, faith applies to the idea that God will keep his promises or that Jesus is the Messiah.

Consider this fragment from today's reading:
God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead
In isolation, I think the modern English speaker would assume that "believe in him" means "believe in his existence". However, in context, it is pretty obvious that Paul is referring to believing in God's promises.

To some degree, faith was not applied to the idea of God's existence because the idea of some sort of deity or deities was taken as a background fact. Until we advanced enough in our ongoing development of finding better ways to explain things, the idea of external conscious beings was as defensible an explanation as any.

But still, I find the contrast between modern and Biblical usage interesting.

Psalms and Proverbs

Nothing of particular note, although I do agree that helping the poor is a good idea.