Are they real? What are they?
Episode 4 is up!
Are they real? What are they?
Episode 4 is up!
Have you ever encountered a Hat Man? Unfortunately, I have.
Yes! The podcast is up and active. The first episode, to be honest, sounds like a first episode, but we’re going. I’m so excited. This is so different than anything I’ve ever done. If you’re not interested in the Paranormal, or Supernatural, just give it a miss, but tell your friends who are.
I hope you enjoy this. I will probably put it on YouTube in a couple days. If so, I’ll let you know. Just go to YT and like the post. Even if you listen on the anchor site or at Spotify. It probably won’t be active on Spotify until Friday, or Saturday.
To Listen CLICK HERE!
I am getting excited. My new podcast is inching closer to launch. I still don’t have an exact date, but maybe by the end of the week. I’m going into the studio today to record the first episode. After that it will all be about editing and getting it published. I’m just not sure how long that will take me. I’m a bit out of practice.
I’m calling the program, Mysteries, Magic, and the Supernatural, or MM&S. My plan is to look at popular weird topics, like, UFO and Crytpid sightings, Poltergeist activity, and other Paranormal events, and to look at them from a Biblical perspective. What? Yes, I believe they are real. And I believe the Bible has a lot to say about weird stuff like that. I’m going to use some of my own paranormal experiences to get the ball rolling.
I’m also going to show you some of the weird stuff that’s in the Bible. Christians have kind of hidden from these topics for way too long, or tried to ‘Spiritualize’ them in some way. But I believe if we look at this stuff honestly, it will all make sense.
Frankly, I’m taking a huge risk with this project. Many Christians will automatically think I’ve become a heretic, and will not hear me out. Many Unbelievers in either the Bible or the Supernatural will think I’m a religious nut, and not listen. But this subject matter was the basis for my doctorate, and I’m quite passionate about it. It will take several episodes for the pieces to begin to fit together, so I wonder whether listeners will stay with me long enough to make sense. I don’t know. But life is all about risks. If we live our lives in bubble wrap, we’ll never experience anything.
I can promise you this. Every story I tell, will be true. Whether it happened to me, or to someone else. Every Bible story I tell, will be accurate. The world we live in is mysterious, magical, and supernatural. And God is trying to tell you something by it all.
I will use this site as a place to announce new episodes. I’m going to use my personal Facebook Page for discussions. As the program grows, I’ll likely make a new FB page dedicated to it. I’m thinking very seriously about putting the episodes on YouTube. I’ve cleared out everything I had on one of my channels for this. I just don’t know whether it’s a good place to put podcasts anymore. YT is going crazy with adverts. It has become really annoying. Ads are one of the reasons I hate television. So I’m still trying to decide on that one. Do me a favor, email me and let me know whether or not you’d listen to a podcast on YouTube. I will be making it available pretty much everywhere else, including Stitcher, and I hope, Spotify.
Spoiler Alert: In the first episode, I will tell the story of my UFO encounter. In the next few episodes I will talk about personal interactions with demons, and shadow people. I will also talk about the Loch Ness Monster in the first 5 episodes. After all, I live less than 60 miles east of the Loch. So, if you have any stories or question related to those subjects, email me or write them in the comments.
Hey, if nothing else, maybe MM&S will give you something to do during lockdown. And you don’t even have to wear a mask. Have a great week, y’all.
Hey, y’all. It’s been a while since I updated this. Shame on me. This lock down is driving me crazy. I just wanted to give you a quick update to activate this page again, and to let you in on some of the things you can expect.
Ok, I think that should do it. You’re pretty well up to date. Thanks for your patience. Remember, I always appreciate questions and suggestions. I’m out.
It’s cold outside. I just thought you should know that. I’m aware that many of my U.S. Friends are already experiencing snow. It’s rather early for that. Brr… It’s not that bad here in Buckie. Sure the temps are in the 30s, and there’s been a lot of frost early in the mornings, but we’ve not had any real snow. We had some sleet and snow early this week, but it was much worse in the mountains. They are snow capped. Again, I know many of you had a very long hot summer, now winter has come early. That’s wild. It’s no wonder that so many people like to talk about Climate Change rather than Global Warming. But I digress. You are listening to the ReDiscovering the Bible online radio show. My name is Sam Burton, and I’m your host.
Whether you’re a brand new visitor, or a long time listener, I am so glad you stopped by. Thank you so much. Please tell a friend, or 10 about the show. You are awesome.
Listen, I’m calling an audible today. I’m changing up just a bit. And I’m doing it for a couple of reasons. Those of you who are regular listeners know a couple things about ReDiscovering the Bible. You know that we’ve been going through the Bible, looking at the Books, discovering who wrote them, to whom and why. We are taking a very general overview. I’m trying to help you read the Bible for yourself, rather than explaining all of it. And I’m supposed to get with you every week. I’ve failed repeatedly at that. Mostly it’s the time of year. Some call it Christmas, or “the Holidays”. But I also bit off a rather big mouthful by starting back to school to earn my Doctorate degree. What a silly time of year to do that. Some things have taken a hit. This show is one of them. For that I do apologize, but I’m also letting you know that until I get this finished, you should look for every other week rather than every week. I don’t want to stop this program until I get finished with my doctorate, That would be counter productive. But I do want to be honest. So, for the time being, I’ll probably produce something every other week.
Now, the second audible is, we were going to look at three books of the Old Testament today, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But something happened yesterday that has really affected me, and I want to share my thoughts about it with you.
Yesterday morning, I got a text from a good friend of ours in Maine. She told me that a mutual friend of ours, a chap I used to work with, had died. I was devastated. William was one of the best managers I’ve ever known. He genuinely cared about his team. Every spring, at the end of April, we had to let about 50 people go. It was a seasonal business. We ramped up every year from late autumn till mid april, then we had to let a bunch go. It was just the nature of things. William studied his daily reports and tried to find a way to keep as many people employed as possible. He hated to let anyone go. He wouldn’t sleep for a week. His team meant that much to him.
And they knew it. There are all kinds of people discussing him, his life, and his funeral arrangements online. Everyone is in shock. Totally stunned.
I haven’t seen him in ten years. The company was sold. I was kept on and transferred to GA. William, for family reasons, came to GA for 6 months, but went back to Maine in the spring of 2009. He came to my office, we shared some coffee and memories, and he left. That’s it. I never saw him again.
I’m sad about that. I’ve been way too guilty of kind of forgetting about people from my past, including people who meant a great deal to me.
I had a friend, Robert, from Indiana, who followed me as youth minister in KY, when I first came to Scotland, back in 1980. Robert came in 82 and lived with me for 6 months, then returned to the states to raise money to come back full time as minister here. He lived with me another 6 months, then found a place to live. We had many adventures together over the years. We went to Germany to a conference I was preaching in. That was tons of fun. He was one of two friends who was with me on my first preaching trip to Northern Ireland. He was in the car when I got arrested for being somewhere I shouldn’t be, and taking photos of the British army. It’s a long story, I’ll save it for some other time.
When I was returning to the States in 93, Robert came to my home to tell me he was going back to the States as well. He returned to Indiana. I went to Florida. I never saw him again. Robert died in 2015.
William and Robert are just two examples of a personality flaw I have. I’m really terrible at staying in touch with the people that matter. Sure, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help, but there are so many people I have neglected over the years. Even the Churches here in Buckie, The one I planted in Forres, and in Cumbernauld, I simply ignored. So many people I cared about have long since passed on, and I was blissfully unaware.
I have friends from High School, and college, who mattered a great deal to me, that I couldn’t tell you what’s happened to them. Except when I get a notice that they have passed away. I look back on the people I worked with in Florida, who I served as minister to in Iowa, Argentina, Kentucky, and Maine.
I’ve got a friend, right here in Scotland, that I’ve only seen once in 2.5 years. He lives about 40 minutes away from me. He was the first Christian in the Forres Church. We used to have our Bible Studies in his house. I talk to his wife via Facebook, but I’ve really neglected Mike. I’m a real slob of a friend, sometimes.
I really want to do better. I want to be better. Some of the people from my past have died without knowing Jesus as their savior. I certainly know I spoke with each of them about Jesus, but I truly hurt, when I think about people who enter eternity alone.
Please, if you have been neglectful, like I have been, I encourage you to make a fresh start. Again, the internet is a great tool for using to reaquaint ourselves with people from our past.
And, on a related note, none of us knows if we will even have a tomorrow. Make the most of today. If you need to talk to someone, do it. If you need to visit some place, go there. Regrets are terrible monsters. Read that book you’ve always wondered about. See that film, or play. Go to that concert. Try on that dress. Taste that food. You have today. Make the most of it.
I also want you to consider Jesus. Do not permit your life to end, without investigating His claims. He really died for you. But more than that. He rose again, three days later. Jesus is the Man who is God. He is the God who became Man. He loves you. He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to give you the chance to start over. He wants to forgive you. He wants to give you eternal life. Guaranteed.
Just this morning I was reading something really neat in the Gospel of Matthew. This is in Chapter 20, if you want to read it for yourself, and I hope you will. But Jesus is telling a story to the people. He talks about a wealthy land owner who hires a bunch of people to work for him in the fields. He goes back at 9 in the morning, and hires some more. Then he is out and about near the end of the day, and sees a bunch of people milling about, and offers them a job too. At the end of the day, he pays the last hired the same amount as the people who had worked all day.
That is the best news. All of us get the same heaven. Some of us, like me, have been in the Kingdom all day long. I was 9 years old when I first followed Jesus. I don’t regret it at all. But many people don’t follow him until late in the day. I saw an article online about a woman, 100 years old, who decided to follow Jesus. I saw a photo of her being baptized. That was awesome to me. And, if you’ve read the Gospels, you’ve read about one of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus who said to Jesus, “Please remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus said, “TODAY. You will be with me in paradise.”
It’s never too late. As long as you’ve got your wits about you, and breath in your body, you can receive Him as your Lord, and He will accept you. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. How much, or How little. Just don’t keep saying tomorrow. Because you don’t know if your tomorrow will come.
Exodus part 2
Today we’re looking at the second part of our study in the book of Exodus. If you missed last week’s episode, I’ll put a link in the show notes for you. And you’ll find those show notes at samburtonpresents.com. Please follow the instructions right below my photograph and register to get notifications every time a new episode comes out. I guess alternatively, you could go to my FB page, samburtonga, and friend me there, you’ll also get notifications there. Of course you’ll get all my news that way. And that could be scary. By all means, friend me on FB, if you dare.
Anyway last week we quick look at the first 15 chapters of Exodus. There is some incredible drama there, so do look up the episode.
I realize that Genesis – Deuteronomy covers a fairly detailed time period of 40 years, and it’s mostly hilights, or low lights, but it never seems to strike me how the Israelis complained almost constantly.
In chapter 16, after God had delivered them from the Egyptian army, they start fussing about food. Did God bring us out here to die? We should have stayed in Egypt? They’ve already forgotten how bad things were in slavery, and where whining about the shortage of food.
All my life I’ve been mystified by this one. They have all their herds and stuff with them. They never think, Oh, let’s slaughter a sheep and eat. Some of these people would have large herds. A single sheep would have fed a family for a couple days, at least. A cow would have fed them a long time. But they don’t even consider that. Instead they complain because God should provide something for them.
And the amazing thing is, God did. He gave them something they called Manna. Manna means, what is it? I seemed to come down with the dew. It appeared for them 6 days a week for 40 years. They never had too little. They didn’t have to touch their herds and flocks to eat.
I find it astounding that even then it wasn’t enough. In chapter 17, they complain because they are out of water. Just as an aside, if they are getting dew every morning, it would have been fairly easy for them to get at least some of their water. When it rained they knew how to catch more, but they had to complain.
And again, God provides water for them from a stone. It’s a tremendous story. In our for what it’s earth story, in Saudi Arabia, not too far from the place I told you about last week, that’s a possible place of crossing the red sea, there is a rock that stands apart from the others. It’s kind of in a clearing. It looks like it’s been split in two just like a tree that’s been hit by lightening. The surrounding countryside looks very similar to the countryside described in the Bible story. Honestly, when I see pictures of it, it really looks like the rock has been split by God. I can see in my mind, water flowing from the rock into the valley below, filling it up and providing more than enough for the people and their animals.
I get rather impatient with the Israelis. It seems like no matter what God does for them, they have become so entitled, that regardless of what He does, it’s not enough for them. I truly hope that I’m not that way.
The next big event in Exodus, is in many ways, the most famous part. It’s in Chapter 20, when God gives the 10 Commandments. These 10 commandments have been the foundation of the majority of laws in the civilized world. I’m not going to park here, because I might just stay a week, but I would like you to consider this.
Once, Jesus was asked which was the most important commandment. You can read all about it in Matthew 22:36-40. His answer was most interesting. He says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
When you look closely, you’ll see that the first 5 of the 10 commandments are about loving God, and the next 5 are about loving your neighbor. I find that fascinating.
Then the next several chapters, through Chapter 31, are a variety of other specific laws and instructions concerning the tabernacle that God gave to Moses. When you read them, I want you to pay special intentions to the specific requirements. God has selected the Israelis to bring his Messiah into the world, and he has a few special instructions for them.
But you’ll see, that even while God is giving the laws to Moses, the people at the base of the mountain are involved in great sin. They are making an idol. They even get Aaron involved in their blasphemous behavior.
We get to that in Chapter 32. God tells him about the disobedience and says He’s ready to wipe them out, but Moses comes to their defense. When Moses comes down off the mountain, where he’s just spent a few weeks with God, he finds the people are in total chaos. He throws the tablets to the ground in either disgust or anger. God’s commandments are broken.
In my opinion, that is an incredibly illustrative story. God gave the law to point out how bad sin is. In fact it’s so bad, that before the people even hear God’s law, it’s broken, both spiritually and literally.
But God is gracious. He calls Moses back up the mountain to get the law again, but this time Moses carries tablets with him.
The rest of the book is all about the precise building of the Tabernacle. The tent. The representation of God’s presence with men. He even gives precise detailed instructions on the garments the priests are to wear.
I think that’s really interesting. God gives these major instructions on a temporary building. In fact, God always considered the tabernacle to be temporary. It was David who wants to build a permanent structure, which God allows Solomon to build, but He authorized the tabernacle.
Jesus was always God’s permanent plan. The book of Hebrews in the NT explains that. The whole plan was to bring the Messiah into the world.
But the Jews missed it completely. We’re going to see over and over how the OT shows us how humans could not live by the law. We’re going to see rebellion after rebellion. And we’re going to discover multiple thousands of animals sacrificed. And still the people sin.
But we’ll save some of that for next time. In fact, we’ll look at 3 books, leviticus, numbers and, Deuteronomy. It’s a tough slog, but it’s given to us for a very good reason. So, until then, you all take care. That’s all I’ve got right now. See you…I’m out…
Link Exodus PT 1
Website for all episodes Click HERE
Today, we’re going to look at the Book of Exodus. That’s the second book in the Old Testament. In case a new discoverer, we’ve been looking at each of the Books of the Bible. We started with the New Testament, and now we’re going back to the Old. I’ll leave a link in the show notes, in case you want to go back and listen to some of the earlier shows.
The book of Exodus is really rather exciting. It tells the story of how the Israelis were in Egypt and were eventually made slaves. It talks about how God sent a deliverer names Moses to set them free and lead them through the desert towards the land he had promised them. It’s really quite dramatic in it’s telling. The book was written by Moses himself, somewhere around 1407 BC.
There is some controversy around when these events happened, and we’ll tackle some of them while we
re together. But let me just say that when we think of Ancient Egypt, we tend to think that everything we find buried in the sand, is all related to the slavery of the Jews. That simply isn’t true. For example, I don’t think they built the great pyramid. I think it was built a long time before the Israelis. But I think all the talk about Rameses II and the 1200s BC talk that you often hear from liberal scholars, is also rubbish.
Moses gives us enough detail that we can pretty much pin the dates to the 15th century BC. When the story begins, the midwives of the Jews are asked to kill baby boys, but Moses mother, hides her son in a basket, in the Nile and he was found by a woman callled, Pharoah’s daughter. Interestingly, there was a woman who actually had that as her Title. Her name was Hatshepsut. She was the daughter of Tutmose II and the brother of Tutmose III. Her father loved her very much and she was the first woman to be treated like a pharoah. This woman would have been powerful enough to rescue an Israeli baby and raise him as her own. And she lives right at the time tha’t best fits the Biblical time period. She is hated by her brother, Tutmose III and once he becomes pharoah, he tries to wipe her name out of existence. It’s fascinating to read about it and see the conflict between them. And it follows that Tutmose would be angry with Moses. Because he was raised by Hatshepsut as a prince of Egypt, he would have been seen as such by the people and explains how he had access to Tutmose whenever he liked. Hatshepsut had been loved by many people so Tutmose would have indulged Moses.
One of my favorite visits, was to the Egypt exhibit in the British Museum. In fact, Brittan and I are going there in a couple of weeks. One of the things I love is all the stuff they have related to Tutmose III. His very sarcophagus is there. As I walk through that exhibit, I can imagine, the debates between Him and Moses.
When we look at the ten plagues God cursed the Egyptians with, we must take note that these plagues were directly related to Egyptian worship. They worshiped the Nile, Frogs, their cattle, their gods of the sky and harvests. Ultimately, they worshipped the Sun and Pharoah himself. So each of the plagues was pitting God against those worshiped by the Egyptians. They are not random acts. There is purpose to them. We don’t see that unless we’re told about it, but the Egyptians and Israelis both would have known exactly what this was all about.
The slavery part of Israel’s history ends with the Passover. God tells them to butcher a lamb and eat it quickly, with a few quick vegetables and herbs and unleavened bread. They are to take some of the blood of the lamb and paint the top of their doors with it. When the angel of judgment and death comes by, he will pass over any doors covered by blood.
Death was everywhere in Egypt that night. By morning they were begging the Israeli’s to leave. They were actually paying them to go. And the Jews walked out of Egypt, a free people.
To this very day, Passover is an important part of the Jewish calendar. Even Jews who don’t believe much at all will practice the passover.
But sadly, they don’t see it as a picture of Jesus. Jesus, who, like the lamb, was sacrificed, at Passover. Some day, each one of us will stand before the Judge. We are all guilty and deserve punishment, but we will be passed over by the blood of the lamb who’s blood we claim, just like the Jews did. Oh how I see Jesus in every part of the Passover. I hope you will, too.
There is one more part of the Book of Exodus I want to look at for a moment. And that is, the crossing of the Red Sea. That’s a really awesome story. We read about it in the 14th Chapter. After the Jews had been gone a few days, Pharoah had regrets and sent his army out to bring them back. The Jews found themselves trapped, with the sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them. They thought they were done. But God spoke to Moses and told him to stretch his walking staff out over the sea. When Moses did that, the sea parted. Interestingly, the Cloud of God’s presence stood between the Jews and the army almost like a fog, and the Egyptians did not see them crossing on dry ground. When God lifted the cloud, the Egyptians saw the Jews and ran into the sea bed, which God closed in around them, drowning the army of Egypt.
The story is beyond dramatic, it’s miraculous. Many people scoff at it. But why? Interestingly, this coincides with about a 70 year time period, when the Egyptians became monotheists. Now, they weren’t worshiping the God of the Jews, but their pantheon of Gods had just been defeated, along with their army. They had a new pharoah, and he led them in this monotheistic revival.
Also, consider the archaeological evidence. I remember when I was young, thinking divers should find something at the bottom of the red sea, but there was nothing there. That’s until fairly recently. See, the red sea has two fingers that stick up. There is the Gulf of Suez, but there is also the gulf of Aquaba. We have always thought the Jews crossed the gulf of Suez. Liberal scholars have even suggested there was a shallow bit to the north that would have worked. But in the late 60s, an explorer found an interesting set of sites over in the gulf of Aquaba.
Roughly a quarter of the way down the gulf, there is a sandy beach, directly across from it is another beach in Saudi Arabia. On the Saudi side, he found memorial markers and other signs that made him think this might actually be the spot. The problem is, the Saudis wouldn’t allow anyone to come see them.
He did manage to get some divers to do some work in the sea and they found several chariot wheels and other objects that looked like something had happened. But again, the saudis were a hindrance to the research.
Just last week, I read that the Saudis are considering opening these sites up for exploration and possibly even tourism. This could be really interesting. Especially, because if it pans out, a lot of tourist places and old worship sites like monasteries, built since the middle ages, will prove to be false. And we will have to deal with the repercussions of the scandal from the fall out. Stay tuned for this part. There is another site in this region of Saudi that looks pretty interesting, too, but again we’ll have to wait and see. I will get into it a bit next week.
When you read Exodus, I want you to understand the history that was surrounding these events. The events of the bible happened in space and time. Much of the history we can’t find, because history was not well chronicled in those days. But much has been uncovered. And the Bible is being confirmed all the time. You don’t hear about it, because it doesn’t match the agenda people want to feed or be fed. But the simple truth is, the Bible is stunningly accurate is all it proclaims.
So far in the book we’ve seen that God loves his people and delivers them from bondage. And folks, that’s the story of Jesus. God love his creation. He knows that we are held prisoner, not from Egypt, not from any government, but from sin. Jesus died and his blood sets us free. We will still be chased and tested, but God will be there with and for us. Every step of the way. It’s up to us to decide whether or not we will trust him. That’s your call.
And that’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll finish the book of Exodus next time. I hope you have a great week. Read the book of Exodus, if you can. Write me with questions and thoughts. I’ll talk to you then, but for now…..Yep…I’m out…..
Good News, the old podcasts are up. They have been found and reposted. I’m so excited. I will include a link on how to find them at the end of these notes. This episode is short, but I really needed to finish our review. It was just going to be incomplete.
Do remember if you listen on Stitcher, that it takes a while before the episode is available there. I’m working to make sure we’re connected to some of the other podcast hosting sites.
When we started this podcast, we were going to use it as a kind of supplement for my books of the same name. Those books, Vols 1 and 2, are still available on Amazon. I probably won’t get started writing volume 3 for a few more months. I’m writing a book of weight loss and eating right. It’s taking a toll on my brain, but I want to get it done before the beginning of 2020, because a lot of people start in January, thinking about losing a pound or two with their new years resolutions. Since I’m convinced I’ve found a plan that works, does not cause great hunger pains, and is consistent with what the Bible teaches about food, I’m really excited to get it finished. I’ll keep you posted on progress. My hope is, to finish my research on Re Discovering Volume 3, Pauls letters, and get started writing it, as soon as I get done with my food book.
I’m thinking that we should probably spend two or three weeks in review of Ground we’ve already covered just to get us all up to speed and get our minds in gear. Hopefully, that works for you.
If you are new to the Bible, or let’s say new again, you probably should listen to the last episode, ReLaunch. It will give you some good tips on what the Bible is all about, and how you can find a translation that suits you and your style. That’s really important. You need a version, a translation that matches your reading style. And there are lot’s of them available, for FREE, if you’re willing to download them to your smartphone, or tablet, or laptop, or even your desktop, if you’re still using one of those.
I really believe there are a lot of people, as in millions upon millions, who are really confused about faith and religion, and even Jesus. There’s a great deal of conflicting information out there. It can make your head spin. But you can go directly to the source of our available information. You can read the Bible for yourself, and draw your own conclusion.
But the thing is, and I’m sorry to say it, while the Bible is truly God’s love letter to the human race, the human race has put it together in a way that makes it harder to understand. Seriously. If you read the Bible in New Testament First, then Old Testament, it will make a whole lot more sense to you. It really will. And frankly, I have created a reading plan that will make it even clearer to you than that. If you’ll write to me, email@example.com, or use the comments section at samburtonpresents.com, where I put the show notes, and ask for it, I’ll send you the reading plan for the New Testament absolutely free.
You see, the Bible is not A book. Its 66 books, 27 in the New Testament and 39 in the Old Testament. Those books are given to us by God himself. Truly. But the order in which they’re put together was created by book editors and Church leaders. Not by teachers who were trying to help you understand it. That’s where I come in. I’m just a teacher. A guy who wants you to read the Bible and understand it. I believe with all my heart that Jesus is who you’re looking for, whether or not you even know you’re looking for him. I also want the Bible to make sense to you. It’s not a bunch of religious jargon. And it’s certainly not boring. Sometimes we preachers are, but the Bible isn’t.
Don’t just listen to someone on YouTube, read it for yourself.
And for those of you who are familiar with the Book, my reading plan will help you see the Bible differently than you ever have before. You’ll understand the flow of the book much better. And I’ve got the harder to understand books later in the plan, because as you understand more of the thought processes in the Bible, the books are not so hard after all.
But whether or not you want to use my plan, do yourself a favor, and read the New Testament first. Then go back and read the old. The whole book is about Jesus. I encourage you to start with reading all about Him, then go back and see how the Old Testament is preparing the world for his coming.
Then after you’ve read the New Testament, think about all it says. After you read one of the Gospels, I suggest Luke first, you’re going to have some decisions to make about Jesus. Then read the book of Acts to find out what you should do about and with Jesus. After that, I’ll leave you to read it on your own if that’s the way you want to do it. But read all the New Testament before you read the old. But just before you read the old testament, read the book of Hebrews again. I believe that Hebrews is the key to unlocking the Old Testament. It’s like a magic pill.
You might be wondering why I ask you to read Luke’s gospel first. Instead of one of the other three gospels. It’s simply because he also wrote the book of acts and it’s literally reading part one and part two of the same story. I also believe that if you read Luke, then Acts, then the Gospel of John, you’ll have a real grip on the whole Jesus message.
When you first start reading the New Testament, you’re going to be surprised at how short the books are. And you’re going to scratch your head at the Chapter and verse divisions. Especially the chapters. Keep in mind, those are not original. The chapter divisions came in the 1200s and the verses in the 1500s. They were to help with memorizing passages and in knowing where you left off reading from the last time you read. They’re not perfect, but they are helpful.
Each book was written for a specific reason. Maybe to answer some questions. Maybe to straighten out some misunderstanding. When the author was finished with that, the book was done. For example, the Gospels are not biographies of Jesus. Even all together they’re not a biography of Jesus. They are memories of Jesus. Kind of like at a family or class reunion, when everyone is telling stories. Sometimes, their not even chronological. That’s true with Matthew and Mark. They are sharing their stories and are not particularly concerned about chronology. Luke is very orderly, so he pays a lot of attention to things like chronology. So does John. But John and Mark don’t say a word about Jesus’ Birth or childhood. Because they are not biographies. Matthew is trying to show that Jesus is the Messiah the Jews had been waiting for. He’s the King of the Jews. Mark’s Book has a verse in chapter 10, verse 45 that says, the son of man did not come to be serve, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many. And that seems to describe the book. The first part is huge on Jesus serving and healing people. Then he gives his life as a sacrifice for the human race. Luke’s book could be called, The son of man. That phrase is used many times in the Gospel. It shows that Jesus is a fulfillment of prophesies, and the gospel deals with the human race. Our problems. Our crises, our need for God’s intervention. And John’s gospel is clearly to prove that Jesus is both God and Man. He states that in the very first verse and each story clearly establishes one side or the other of Jesus’ dual nature.
The book of acts tells us how important the Resurrection was to the Church. It was not Jesus miracles, nor his teaching, but His death and Resurrection that set him apart. It tells us how churches were born and how the message spread through the Roman empire. And it’s the only book in all the Bible that tells us how people became Christians.
The rest of the New Testament is written to followers of Jesus, whether Churches, or individuals to help us learn to live for Him. And the book of Revelation is there to explain how things will turn out in the end.
I think that will catch you up if you’re new to the show, and is a great brief review for long time listeners.
Last Episode, Part One – Click HERE to listen
I want to welcome you, or, welcome you back to ReDiscovering the Bible. I’ve been away a long time. A lot has happened since we were last together. My wife and I have moved to North Eastern Scotland. I’m back full time in ministry. I’ve had a heart attack, 4 strokes and had triple bypass surgery to repair the damage. But I feel great, and I’m looking forward renewing our relationship, or getting to know you for the first time, whichever situation describes you and I. For those of you who were regular listeners before, we don’t have farm animals here in Scotland, so we won’t be interrupted by crowing roosters or braying donkeys, or goats calling for their dinner. And the camper, that I used as a recording studio is also a thing of the past.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is the Bible. It’s message is unchangeable. It still points us to Jesus,
I’m looking forward to our time together. For reasons no one can explain, all our old episodes have disappeared. The hosts can’t explain it, but they are doing their best to get them back. But it’s ok with me either way. We’re going to start over. If the old episodes come back, great, if not, most of you are new, anyway, so we’ll do this together.
So let’s get started. What is the Bible? And why do I think it’s such a big deal? First of all, it’s still the best selling book of all time. Plus it’s the most given away book of all time. And each year, it’s best seller. Often, the year’s number one seller. So much so, that most charts just ignore it. The Bible is a category all it’s own.
But while it’s a best seller, and a cherished book to give away, or receive, it’s surprisingly unread. Millions upon millions of copies gather dust and go completely ignored. Yet, it’s subject matter is discussed, and argued about, daily. Many people offer opinions about it without ever reading it. And because their hearers haven’t read it, ignorance is compounded and a huge majority of human beings, especially those in the western world, think they know all about it. And that’s tragic.
Another scary thing, is with the advent of YouTube, ignorance and misunderstanding about the Bible has exponentially increased. Oh there’s some great stuff out there, but there are also hours and hours of drivel and garbage. Frankly, and sadly, people don’t go to Church anymore so they don’t know how much garbage is being published. And, even worse is, there are many Churches teaching junk as well. It gives me a headache just thinking about it all.
So I decided to address the subject for the ordinary person. My books are simple. My podcasts are simple. My sermons are simple. We’re all starting from the beginning. Some of us all over again. Since I have a face for radio, I’m focusing on podcasts and books rather that YouTube. I may sometime try a video or two, but like I said, I have a face ideal for radio, so why push my luck.
I do have two e books available on Amazon, if you want to read them. They are called Rediscovering the Bible Vol 1 and 2. The first volume is on the subject of today’s episode, and vol 2 covers the 4 Gospels, and Acts. Matthew Mark, Luke, John, and Acts of the Apostles are the first 5 books of the New Testament.
But what is the Bible? And why should I read it? First, the Bible is not religious. And frankly, Christianity in not a religion. Religion helped create the mess the world is in. Christianity, and it’s Scriptures, are the answer to the problems created by, and without, religion. The Bible is God’s love letter to the Human race. The short version goes like this, The first 4 books of the New Testament tell us Who Jesus is. The next one tells us, what to do about who he is. And how the news about Jesus spread through the Roman empire. The next 21 books tell us how to live as followers of Jesus, and the last book, Revelation, tells us how it’s all going to end.
The Old Testament is different. It’s main purpose is to show how sin came into the world, and what a mess the world was in before Jesus came, and what steps God took through the human race to get the world ready for Jesus. There are some absolutely awesome stories in it. Things that hollywood can only dream of. There are some beautiful songs, some promises and prophesies, and much more. The Old Testament gets a really bad rap, primarily because people don’t pay attention to the why things are happening. That and they don’t read it, but pass their interpretations of things they haven’t read to a public who haven’t read it either. It’s the oldest form of Fake News.
But I’m kind of getting ahead of myself. Surprise Surprise. The word Bible is just the greek word for book. Seriously. It’s an ordinary word that was used by greek speakers everyday. But it’s not a book. It’s actually 66 books in one volume. Like a whole library in one cover. It’s not in chronological order, or even in importance of topic order. Heck it’s not even written in the best order to read it. Seriously.
The best way to read the Bible is to read the New Testament first, then the Old testament. You will understand the flow of the book much better if you do that. In point of fact, I have outlined a reading program for the whole bible in volume 1 of my book. I believe that alone is worth the three bucks the book will set you back. But if you write me either using the comments section of the blog where I put my show notes, www.samburtonpresents.com, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you a New Testament reading plan at no charge. I put this plan together to give you the best possible way of reading the Bible to get the most out of it.
The Bible calls itself, “God Breathed”, meaning it comes from the very breath of God. It’s his heart. He’s the ultimate author, as he guided the authors of each book in areas of correct doctrine and history. You will hear claims that the Bible contradicts itself, but that is not the case. That is ignorance or bias speaking. We’ll look at those supposed contradictions as we go along.
Why are there so many translations of the Bible? Now that’s a great question. First of all, the Bible wasn’t written in English at all. Not even King James english. The old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic. Neither of those languages is spoken any more. Modern Hebrew is as different from Biblical Hebrew as Modern American English is from King James English. And for what it’s worth, King James English was different in 1611, when that version came out, than it is in it’s modern form. We’ll come back to that.
The New Testament was written in something called Koine Greek. That is different that either classical greek or Modern Greek. For years, it was called Biblical Greek, because people thought that only the Bible was written this was as some kind of code. But archaeology has shown us conclusively, that the Koine Greek of the Bible was the way people spoke in the first century A.D. We now have thousands of books from that time period that demonstrate that classical Greek was formal, or generally accepted, but that Koine was the commonly spoken variety. Much like we all have our own dialects of english.
This shows us that God was trying to be understood rather than being formal or grammatically correct. And the New Testament was translated into the commonly spoken languages literally as soon as early evangelists entered those countries.
But language changes over time. So lovers of the Bible have translated it repeatedly as we have better understanding of the original languages and as our own spoken English changes. That’s also why there are often updated editions of various translations.
I encourage you to try out several, to see which one you like best. You can do that for free. They are pretty much all available via apps for your phone, or via google on your home computer or laptop.
Just search Bible on your phones app store, and you’ll see loads of options. To save space on my phone, I settled on YouVersion as my app. I’ve downloaded multiple versions so that I don’t require internet access every time I want to use it. There are other excellent apps. I’ve used most of them. On your home computer try Biblegateway.com. There are many translations there. You can try them out and see which you like best.
Again, there are loads of good places to find translations, I’m just trying to keep things as easy as possible here on the radio show.
If you want a Bible study tool, and you have a laptop or desktop, I highly recommend, e-sword.net. I’ve used it for 20 years. You can download many translations, commentaries, old books, maps, and more. The tool is free. You can make donations if you like. I made a donation some years ago, because the program is so valuable to me.
If you want recommendations for translations, I’m going to give you three here. First of all is the English Standard Version. It’s a solid translation. While it’s not my all time favorite, it’s what I currently preach from. It has become extremely popular in strong Bible Believing Churches over the last 8 or 10 years.
Next is the New Living Translation. This is my wife’s favorite. Again, it’s extremely popular and strong.
The third, surprises a lot of old timers, but it’s the Good News Bible. It used to be called, Good New For Modern Man. Each edition of it has gotten better than the one before it. If you are not a good reader, or if English is not your first language, this translation is for you. I absolutely love it.
You’ll note, I didn’t mention the King James, aka The Authorized Version. That translation is historically very important. It changed everything for the Protestant Reformation in England and the British Colonies. It was an excellent version for it’s time, written in the everyday common language of the people.
I grew up reading the King James. I still love certain parts of it, like the 23rd psalm, and the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2. But it is not even close to the most precise translation available to people today. Those who say it is the ‘only Bible to use’ are mistaken. On the other hand, it is not a bad translation. If you still love the KJV, use it. That’s fine.
If you have questions about another translation, feel free to write and ask me about it. I will be totally honest with you. These three are recommendations for those of your who don’t know where to start or don’t have a Bible.
One thing I want to mention is there are some things about the Bible that are NOT inspired. The chapters and verses. The Bible was written without those. They were added later to help people in memorization and to serve as bookmarks to know where they stopped and started reading. The chapters were introduced by Stephen Langton in the early 1200s. And the verses weren’t added until the mid 1500s by Robert Estienne.
Also, just for the record, neither is the paper, ink, or cover of your Bible. Leather editions, and Red Letter editions are sometimes considered more valuable that hardbacks, paperbacks, or e-versions. It is the message, not the vessel that’s important.
I recommend you try and read at least a little every day. Even if it’s only a chapter or two. Start with the Gospel of Luke, then Read the book of Acts of the Apostles. They were written by the same guy, so the flow is good. Like I said, you can get my entire Bible reading plan from Vol 1 of Rediscovering the Bible, or I’ll send you the New Testament plan absolutely free, if you write me and request it.
Gosh, I’m glad you stopped by today. That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll be back next week. Have a good one. For now, I’m out…..