Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Love Chapter, A New Perspective...

The Love Chapter, a new perspective…

Spoiler alert, you may never look at First Corinthians 13 the same again; you have been warned.  Chapter 13 of First Corinthians is most often called The Love Chapter, and for good reason, love is patient, love is kind etc. etc.  This chapter is often used in wedding ceremonies among other things.  Most of the chapter is pretty self-explanatory, but when you get to the end and it starts talking about prophesying in part and thinking like a child, I always got a little confused; what does this have to do with love?… until I stepped back and looked at it in CONTEXT. 

Love is NOT the point Paul is trying to make here; most of this chapter is just a parenthetical statement (According to compopedia.com, Parenthetical statements are clauses or phrases used in sentences that contain secondary information unnecessary for the completion of the independent clause).  The beginning section about the resounding gong and the clanging cymbal, and the end part about prophesying and looking in a mirror are transition into and out of this parenthetical statement. 

Paul is instructing the folks of Corinth that they need to work together.  In chapter 12, Paul is talking about using their Spiritual gifts for the glory of God, and that they need to use these gifts by working together in love as if they were one body...  Then he ‘stops’ and says ‘but wait, I should probably tell you what love is’…If you have all these gifts, but don’t use them in love you’re just a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  In other words, if you can speak like an angel, prophesy, and fathom all mysteries but don’t do it in love, you’re BUGGING God.  I always picture that little monkey that just sits there and claps his cymbals together endlessly.  Then, at the end of the chapter he transitions back to talking about spiritual gifts.  When we get saved, we all receive spiritual gifts; and everything changes.  Turning to  the beginning of chapter 14 Paul goes back to speaking about the gifts of The Spirit again.

So there you have it; one of the most famous and beloved verses in The Bible is really just an aside, an ‘oh, by the way’ (it does make more sense when you realize that).  Don’t worry, it’s still a great chapter.  That doesn’t make it any less important, or for that matter any less beautiful.  It is, and it will always be The Love Chapter, and with good reason.

I hope you have found this helpful.  I’ll be honest, I need your feedback to keep motivated, so if you have any questions, or comments or you just found this helpful, please leave a little comment.  

The Minute Bible Guy

For a quick overview of First and Second Corinthians, check out these Minute Bible videos

First Corinthians in one minute

Second Corinthians in one minute

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Whole Shebang

I have been blessed throughout my life to have been taught by MANY wise and Godly people.   One of those Wise and Godly people was Pastor Ken Solomon.  Pastor Solomon spent many years as a missionary in Argentina before “retiring” into the position of Assistant Pastor (as well as founding a local Spanish speaking church in town).  I was in my early teens when he came to our church, and one thing I always remember about him was that he prayed some of theLongest prayers I had ever heard.  I also knew that he just radiated wisdom; to this day when I think about wise men, he tops the list. 

The most important thing that I learned from Pastor Solomon was what he often said when he would read a few verses or a chapter especially from one of Paul’s letters.  He would say something to the effect that ‘these verses that we are reading are good, but remember, Paul wrote this and intended it to be read in one sitting like any letter that anyone would write’.  That always struck a chord with me.  I was never what anyone would consider an avid reader, so it was quite some time before I would see how right he was, but I never forgot him saying that.  In fact that was one of the early seeds planted that led to The Minute Bible. 

Reading an entire book of The Bible may seem a little daunting, but it certainly adds a new perspective to the message.  Paul’s letters in particular are so jam-packed with good stuff, verse by verse that it is often difficult to zoom out and read an entire book as if it were a letter, which in fact it is, but once you do, it will give you a whole new perspective; especially with Paul’s letters.  Let’s take a look at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians as an example.  A very friendly letter, Paul tells the Ephesians that they are saved through faith, they (basically Jews and gentiles) are now ONE body under Christ, that they should do good, imitate Christ, set good examples for non-believers, work on proper relationships with others, prepare for spiritual battle and be prepared to stand strong for Christ… It is a very encouraging book.  It is very easy to get focused on the many fabulous verses and sections that even though it is a short book/letter, reading it as a single letter takes some effort.

To help get an overview of this wonderful letter, check out The Minute Bible summary of Ephesians…

Some of the great verses in Ephesians:

Ephesians 2:8 for it is by grace you have been saved…

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork… or KJV workmanship - any Keith Green fans out there?

Ephesians 4:26 In your anger, do not sin…

Ephesians 4:29 Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…

And of course Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power…

Soooo much good stuff in there!

I hope you have found this helpful.  I’ll be honest, I need your feedback to keep motivated, so if you have any questions, or comments or you just found this helpful, please leave a little comment.  

The Minute Bible Guy

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Time Well Spent

Time Well Spent

When I was about five years old my Aunt Pearl came to visit.  We went for a walk around the neighborhood that we had recently moved into.  I showed her all the important sights, my friend’s houses, the tree that I liked to climb and the places that had the best mud puddles when it rained, you know, all the important stuff.  I also found a rock that I thought was interesting and I gave it to her.  Looking back, I’m pretty sure that it didn’t make much difference to her which trees were the best ones to climb, or which puddles had the most mud for making mud balls.  What was important to her I suppose, was spending time with her little nephew who was terribly excited to show her around and tell her all that he had discovered in his new world.  The fact that it was so important to me was what made it important to her.    

I think spending time with God can be a lot like that.  What can we say to God in a prayer that He hasn’t already heard and what request can we make that He doesn’t already know about?  What good can truly come from just reading some ‘old book’ (The Bible)?  While I would argue that quite a bit of good can come from reading The Bible (and spending time in prayer), I realize sometimes it feels like it’s just reading some old book that doesn’t seem to have any relevance to my ‘real life’.  Like that walk with Aunt Pearl so many years ago, sometimes it is more important just to spend the time on the relationship and realize that what we go through IS important to God because it IS important to us.  Like any relationship, if you work at it a little, I’m sure you will become more comfortable reading The Bible and praying and strengthening your relationship with God… You will also start to see just how relevant that ‘old book’ can truly be in your life.  No doubt there are some sections of The Bible that are difficult to read, but believe me when I tell you, there plenty of interesting, exciting, emotionally fulfilling, encouraging and relevant passages in The Bible.  I recommend you find some good Bible study materials to help you get the most out of what The Bible has to offer.  Personally, I like to listen to podcasts of good Bible teachers.  If you have some good suggestions feel free to mention them in the comments section below.  I realize I am a bit biased, but The Minute Bible is a good start to help you understand the big picture before you dig in.  Remember, the time spent together in a relationship is often as valuable as what was done with the time.  

I hope you have found this helpful.  I’ll be honest, I need your feedback to keep motivated, so if you have any questions, or comments or you just found this helpful, please leave a little comment.  Also, let us know what Bible study tools you find helpful.  

Epilogue:  Several years later we went to visit my aunt… do you know she still had that rock that I gave her?  I gotta say, that made a little twelve year old kid feel pretty special. 

This weeks Minute Bible upload will be First and Second Timothy because…

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 NIV

First Timothy

Second Timothy

The Minute Bible Guy

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Context... The Big Picture

Context... The Big Picture

One of my favorite words when it comes to studying The Bible is Context; that is in fact what The Minute Bible is all about.  Context is the parts of a discoursethat surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning  2 the interrelatedconditions in which something exists or occurs :environmentsetting(Merriam-Webster dictionary).  
Information that is presented out of context can be very misleading and The Bible in particular has been abused (intentionally and unintentionally) throughout history by taking certain verses out of context. When you read The Bible it is important to ‘zoom out’ and look where the verse or verses you are reading fit into the big picture so that you get the proper understanding of what you are reading. Let me give one of my favorite examples to illustrate context…

In my Eleventh grade American Literature class we had a research paper due at the end of the year, no surprise there.  We could pick our topic, but we were required to turn our ‘thesis statement’ in for a grade early on in the process.  Being the procrastinator that I was, I waited until the last minute to research and decide on my thesis statement.  Following a halfhearted research effort, I decided on the following statement “Gliders Make Good Reconnaissance Aircraft During World War 2” (yes, I was on odd child).  I submitted my thesis statement and it was approved.  There was only one little problem… When I actually didstart to do the research, I found out that my thesis statement wasn’t true at all; what to do.  Options: 1. Tell my teacher I made a mistake not knowing what the consequences might be. 2. Just pick a new thesis statement and hope that he didn’t notice, or 3. Prove the thesis statement with the same erroneous information that mislead me in the first place… option 3 it is.  I was required to have a certain number of quotes from a certain number of different books, so let the fun begin.  

Long story short, I turned in my research paper with the proper number of quotes and books listed in the bibliography knowing full well that it wasn’t true (sorry Mr. W.) and got a B on it.  Somewhat dishonest? I guess so, but it did give me a lifelong sensitivity to information presented out of context, and I have noticed it happens a lot, particularly with The Bible.  

Many stories in The Bible tell stories of people who did things wrong, so if you read the story without the proper context that points out how wrong they actually were and the negative consequences, you can really get the wrong idea.  The book of Ecclesiastes is a great example of this. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon spends the entire book telling about things he tried to find fulfillment, but that didn’t work; hard work, philosophy, wine, women and songs etc.  It is only in the last few verses that Solomon concludes that the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments.  If you read Ecclesiastes out of context, without realizing that most of the book is listing BAD examples, you can really get the wrong idea

So the bottom line is DON’T let yourself be fooled, especially if someone tries to convince you of something that doesn’t make sense.  Try and ‘zoom out’ a little and look at the surrounding verses, maybe even an entire chapter or two.  Trust me, if you want to know the truth, you’ll be glad you did.

Here is The Minute Bible summary of The Book of Ecclesiastes in exactly One minute…

I hope you have found this helpful.  I’ll be honest, I need your feedback to keep motivated, so if you have any questions, or comments or you just found this helpful, please leave a little comment... And don't forget to check out my website http://theminutebible.com

The Minute Bible Guy

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Baby Steps

Baby Steps

As believers it should be our purpose in life to do God’s will.  That’s all well and good if you know what God’s will is, but personally I have never opened my eyes to see an angel, a burning bush or even a talking donkey telling me what God wants me to do.  In reality, even in biblical times, this was not all that common, though it might seem so due to the fact that The Bible spans somewhere in the neighborhood of 4000 years.  In my experience, God is usually much more subtle in His directing and we also tend to have much greater expectations as we look for his guidance in our lives.  I am not going to pretend that I know what God’s will is in your life, I barely know what I believe it is in mine. What I will say is that God will let you know what His will is if you let him.   We want God to speak from the burning bush like he did to Moses, but in my experience, He is much more likely to speak as He did to Elijah, after the great wind, after the earthquake, and after the fire, God spoke to Elijah in a low whisper.  The closer we are to God; studying His Word, spending time in prayer etc., the more likely we are to hear his whispers.  
We also want Him to lay out the roadmap for the next 10, 20 or 40 years, and sometimes He does, but that has rarely been the case in my life.  I felt called to ‘the ministry’ at a very young age.  At the time I understood that to mean being a Pastor, a missionary or some other formal (and lifelong) vocation; but that doesn’t seem to be the case for me.  Whenever I started to head in that direction the doors seemed to close for me.  Hmmm what to do now?  God had other plans for me, and He tends to let me in on the plan one step at a time rather than a mile, or a year or a decade at a time. One thing that I came to understand when God laid the idea for The Minute Bible on my heart was a realization that God made me weird because He had some special projects in store for me. Some people might not like the use of the word weird, feel free to substitute unique, different, or peculiar (1 Peter 2:9 KJV) if you prefer.  My point is that sometimes God does let us know what His long term plan is for us, and sometimes He does speak through a burning bush, an Angel, or some serious life event. I believe, more often than not, that He speaks to us in a low whisper when we are close to Him and that He only illuminates the next step (or two or three) on the path and wants us to have enough faith to just take that next baby step and leave the route and final destination up to Him.  That would not be my preferred method, but then again, I am NOT the creator of the universe.

Job certainly didn't know what God's plan was for him, but he continued to trust God even with all he went through and in the end God blessed him for his faithfulness.  Below is a link to the Minute Bible summary of The Book of Job in exactly one minute.

I hope you have found this helpful.  I’ll be honest, I need your feedback to keep motivated, so if you have any questions, or comments or you just found this helpful, please leave a little comment... And don't forget to check out my website http://theminutebible.com

The Minute Bible Guy

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Who Does God Use?

Who Does God Use?

I love it in James 5:17 where James says that Elijah was a man just like we are… that’s HUGE as far as I’m concerned.  We have a tendency to place Biblical characters on a high, untouchable pedestal in glowing robes with backlit hair to show off their glowing halo; I am convinced that is wrong for several reasons.

First of all, the glowing pedestal perspective implies that Elijah, Moses, David, Peter, etc. had special “powers” of their own rather than revealing the power of God working through them, and that, after all is the most important thing that we should see and remember.  Elijah was a man JUSTlike we are, it was God’s power that made him special.

The second reason I think it is wrong to place Biblical characters on a pedestal is that in doing so, it makes it too easy for us to believe that God could never use us because we’re not Joshua or Elisha or even James; what blessings we miss if we believe that.  Some of my favorite stories in The Bible are the ones where God chose the LEAST powerful people so that HIS power would show through.  Let’s take a quick look at The Bible from the 30,000 foot level to see a beautiful recurring theme that runs through both Old and New Testaments.  Read about Gideon, the least in his family, who were the least in their tribe, that was the least of all the twelve tribes of Israel, how he lead 300 men against 130,000 soldiers and won.  Read about a little boy that killed a giant that the entire Israelite army was afraid of; if you think that story showed little David’s prowess with a sling, you miss the point that the stone was powered by God. Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den etc. etc.  It was their willingness to take a step in faith, to be faithful to God even though they knew that they couldn’t do it themselves.  Even the Israelite people themselves were chosen NOT because there was anything special about them (though Abrahams righteousness did have something to do with it) but they were chosen to be a city on a hill to show God’s greatness through them.

Finally, unless we recognize the “humanness” of these folks we can’t see the story through their eyes.  I have always loved history.  Not because I love dates, times and events, but because I love to know what other people have gone through and experienced.  When we recognize that the individuals in The Bible were real people, that they lived, loved, laughed, that they got embarrassed, that they had good days and bad days just like us, then you can get a whole new perspective as you read through The Bible.

Ultimately God uses those who have enough faith to allow themselves to be used by Him.

I hope you have found this helpful.  I’ll be honest, I need your feedback to keep motivated, so if you have any questions, or comments or you just found this helpful, please leave a little comment... And don't forget to check out my website http://theminutebible.com

The Minute Bible Guy

Speaking of Elijah, Here are links to The Minute Bible's  summary of First AND Second Kings

First Kings:

Second Kings:

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

What Time Is It???

What Time is it????

One thing that confuses people about The Bible is that it isn’t always in chronological order, I know that was one issue I had for a long time.  Here are some things that I figured out and I hope this helps make studying The Bible easier and more enjoyable for you. 

The first six books are pretty straightforward chronologically.  The next eleven or so books are sort of chronological, after that it gets a little more jumbled. 

The books of Genesis through Joshua tell the story of the Israelite people from the beginning petty much in order from the beginning of time, through The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), through their captivity in Egypt, their Exodus from Egypt led by Moses, receiving The Ten Commandments and other laws, 40 years in the desert, and finally moving into The Promised Land.

The first part of The Book of Judges is generally chronological but then it begins to cover several different events that were occurring at about the same time, but in different locations.  The Book of Ruth is a completely “modular”; by this I mean that can basically stand on its own without any direct relationship to the rest of The Bible, It’s just the story of a family dealing with issues that families sometimes have to deal with and the narrative of The Israelites is essentially just a historical backdrop.

First and Second Samuel tell the story of the first few kings of Israel, King Saul and then King David.   First and Second Kings and First and Second Chronicles overlap Samuel some but cover several hundred years of the history of the Israelites.  First and Second Kings tell the history primarily from the viewpoint of the Northern Kingdom beginning with the death of King David,  while First and Second Chronicles tell the story essentially from the perspective of the priests from the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

Chronologically speaking, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther fit best near the end of The Old Testament.  All three of these books take place after the Israelites began to return to Israel following the Babylonian captivity.

Like The Book of Ruth, The Book of Job is a “modular” story; it isn’t dependent on the rest of the Biblical narrative.  It stands up well without much additional Biblical context as Job wrestles with some very difficult questions about pain and suffering and God.  

Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes change gears as they don’t tell stories at all.  Psalms is basically a collection of songs and prayers, The Book of Proverbs is just what it says it is, a collection of proverbs and wise advice, and The Book of Ecclesiastes has King Solomon looking back on his life and a list of ways that he unsuccessfully tried to find fulfillment in his life without God.

Isaiah ushers in the books of prophesy.  Rather than looking at these books as telling a story, I find it makes more sense to look at them each as a Part of the story that is going on around them.  For me it was most helpful to figure out where each of these books fits intothe larger story so that I could understand what role each prophet played in the overall narrative.  When you know wherethey were writing from (northern or southern kingdom), who they were writing to (northern or southern kingdom) and roughly when they were writing, then their prophesies make a little more sense.   The good news is that I put together a very simple chart to help understand the chronology and geography of the major and Minor Prophets that helped me and might just help you too. http://theminutebible.com/study-guide.php

This is The Book of Exodus on YouTube

Friday, August 23, 2019

Genesis Means Beginning

Genesis means Beginning

Actually the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Genesis as “the origin or coming into being of something”

Genesis is not only the beginning of The Bible, but it is also the origin for The Minute Bible.  Growing up in the church I heard all the great Bible stories, David and Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den, Paul’s escape from prison and of course all the miracles that Jesus performed.  The thing I lacked most was how they all fit together, the BIG picture.  It was as if I had all these beautiful Christmas ornaments laying around with no place to hang them.  Then one day while preparing to teach the youth group a series of lessons on the book of Genesis I suddenly realized how it all fits together, well at least I started to realize.  The first eleven chapters of Genesis are the roots, the background, the anchor.  The stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah’s flood, and the tower of Bebel all set the stage for the introduction of Abraham.  In chapter twelve we meet Abram (later Abraham) who will become the father of the entire Jewish nation and the trunk in this Christmas tree analogy.  Abraham is followed by his son Isaac and Isaac’s two sons Jacob and Esau.  Jacob then has twelve sons which begin the branches that spread out, through the rest of The Bible, to hang all of these lovely Christmas ornaments on.  That was the picture that came to my mind, I hope that helps you see a little more clearly how the pieces of The Bible fit together.

Here is The Book of Genesis in exactly one minute...


Greetings and welcome the The Minute Bible blog.  The Minute Bible is a short, sweet and to the point summary of each book in The Bible.  This blog is intended to be short sweet and to the point as well.

I look forward to reading your comments; short sweet and to the point is appreciated, I'll be honest, if you write a dissertation, I'm probably NOT gonna read it.  I'm also not interested in starting or continuing arguments or debates, there are plenty of other place you can go to fulfill that need in your life.  I think it goes without saying that you should keep your comments "clean".  I would love to know what you think as long as you can keep it within those parameters.

With that out of the way, my mission is to teach you how to love to learn The Bible.
I grew up in the church; I always had a thirst for God and for what The Bible had to say.  I studied The Bible and even taught Sunday School, but I had trouble seeing the big picture of how everything fit together.  My desire to see the big picture is what lead me on this journey to learn and now to share an overview of The Bible through this blog and through The Minute Bible audio series.  There are plenty of blogs and online Bible studies out there that look at Bible verses or Bible stories; some look at The Bible with a magnifying glass and some look at The Bible with a microscope.  The Minute Bible gives you the big picture, the broad strokes, the wide angle lens look at The Bible.  I hope to show you how all the pieces fit together; how the Bible stories and Bible studies you may be familiar with fit together to create one big mosaic that shows God’s plan and His glory and His love for the Jews, for the gentiles, for you and for me.  I hope you will join me in this journey. 

The Minute Bible Guy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

First Post

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