Friday, March 30, 2012


Hi all,

There has been interest in "reading along" with us as we go through the bible.  While most versions of the bible are at least similar in their interpretation, we are currently reading from the King James Version.  Why?  This is thought to be the third authorized English translation of the bible; the first two evidently encountered problems and were not as literal a translation.  While this may still not be a 100% accurate translation, our idea is that if we read a version that is more accurately translated, then we are making our own interpretation of someone's interpretation, rather an interpretation of an interpretation of an interpretation of an interpretation, etc, etc.  So, use whichever version you choose, but understand that this is the one we are choosing to read.  If you care to join us in the same version, here is a link for the King James online.  This could help you follow if say, perhaps, you wanted to read along on your break at work.

Another note:  We are reading Monday through Thursday evenings, and only on weekends if we decide we want to.  We will read and interpret and post, and then go back and re-read to solidify what we feel we have read.  You may want to note that at this rate, it could take us a couple of years to make it all the way through!!!  However, it is entirely possible that once we gain momentum, we may dive in deeper than we had initially intended.

Also, I am contemplating having a "Sunday Fresh Take" segment...a little about life as I see it.
Topics such as discipline, mind-body connections, simplicity, and the like would be covered.

Thanks for your patronage!


P.S.  We would love to hear which versions you own/read/have read.  Feel free to comment.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Isaiah 21-30 "The treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously..."

It would seem that we started reading the Bible at one of the LONGEST books!!!  No matter, we will begin to figure things out...

The common theme of this section of Isaiah seems to be "those who don't trust God and are acting arrogantly will be wiped out, while those who wait patiently and let God take care of them will be taken care of."  While this is still in reference to the Assyrians taking over Israel and the surrounding civilizations, this does stand true as a common theme in life.  How many times have we met our own folly by being impatient or by being arrogant?  And then, how often are we rewarded for being hard-working, humble and patient?

Also in this section, God makes statements that the good people that are left behind after all of this hostile take-over will return to Israel and see it once again in God's glory and majesty...and all without walls and towers and physical protection because they will have the protection of God as a reward for their faith.  Sometimes we need pain to understand and feel joy and glory...Isaiah 25:17-18 provides an excellent metaphor "Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O Lord.  We have been with child, we have been in pain..."

This adds a little meaning to the "humdrum" of which we spoke in our first post.  We are always looking for ways to help keep ourselves strong and disciplined, challenging as that may be at times, especially in this world of temptation.  It is comforting to know that if we stay the course, our needs will somehow be met.

CAUTION!  Even though hard work pays off and things start looking up, we are warned not to forget what got us there in the first place.  Chapter 28 begins to warn the Jews not to trust too much in people who seem to be strong and arrogant leaders (not to get political, but current administration?) may be tempting to follow their lead, but when God gives contrary instruction, it is their challenge to follow God and not the authorities.

Wishing you all every good thing,

Molly and Mike

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Isaiah 11-20: I wish I paid more attention in history class!

Isaiah 11 has a strong point to make...especially after what has preceded it. "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse..." Our take on this is that he is seeing the coming of a savior...this is continued by talk of times of peace and those who were dispersed around the world returning to the homeland (We don't think he was envisioning Paul Newman in Exodus though). 

Another line is of particular interest: Isaiah 11:10 "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. " So we are getting from this that this savior comes and returns the good people to there homeland and there is peace in the land, we then Gentiles will seek this savior as well. 

Chapters 12-20 get confusing as they are filled with names of cities and rulers from the region that vaguely come to memory because of an all night cram session helping Molly pass an ancient history final in college. What we can discern (history aside) is that not only will the Assyrians come in and throw the Israelis out of their homeland (the Babylonians will help destroy the countryside in conquest as well ), but unfortunately there will be some collateral damage: Babylon will fall, Moab will fall, Ethiopia will fall, Egypt will fall, Damascus will fall, etc. We had to stop because our brains were full, but it looks like there are some upcoming chapters that describe even more cities and peoples of note that will be falling. Conveniently, a Google search of "map of Assyrian empire" will allow you to see that the Assyrian empire covered the places described in this section of Isaiah. 

So basically, to this point in Isaiah we can discern that God is no longer using his own hand to smite people (think Sodom and Gomorrah), but rather is finding a new tactic: take down his protective hand from Israel and let the Assyrians smite them for him. Unfortunately, these other civilizations surrounding the region will also fall to the Assyrians in the meantime. Small glimmers of hope seem to peek up through this section though, suggesting that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel that has come as a result of the Israelite's own doing.

One minor note of seems that throughout the Bible (from previous encounters), there are many synonyms used.  For example, Israel (as in the nation), is the descendants of Jacob (the twelve tribes), so "the house of Jacob" and "Israel" are used interchangeably.  It is helpful to pay attention to these sorts of things when reading!

If you have any other thoughts to help this make more sense, we gladly welcome them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Isaiah 1-10

We begin our journey not at the beginning, but somewhere in the middle.  Before Christ, but after "the beginning."

We started to read the Book of the the Prophet Isaiah.  Mostly because our nephew's name is Isaiah.  Finding it a bit daunting to start at the beginning and read cover to cover, we decided to dive in feet first and jump around as we see fit, i.e. if we are confused due to lack of chronology.

As we began, we felt a little confused about what exactly was being prophesied.  It seemed a little unclear as to whether this was about "end times" or Jesus' coming.  After about 10 Chapters, we finally gathered this was God saying, "Israel, you are being naughty, so I am allowing your enemies to take away your land.  I am not going to smite you with my own hand, but I'm not going to protect you anymore.  I've tried a heavy handed approach in the past and it didn't work, so now I am just going to allow you to meet your own demise.  Those who remain good will be saved, but the land will not return to you until you can clean up your act.  The sign that this is all my doing is that a virgin will give birth to a son."

After reading, we looked up a little bit about the history of the land, which is now Israel/Palestine (the source of much warring today).  It was interesting to see the way history has played out--how the land was during this prophesied period and how it is now.  Israel is still so very protective of their land because God is not protecting them anymore...why? because they put Jesus on a cross and still refuse to believe that he is the one spoken of in Isaiah. On another brief note, Google the Gospel of Peter (not in the bible), find an English translation, and check out what Jesus has to say when Peter asks him to elaborate on relating Israel to a fig tree. Any responses and thoughts on this little assignment are welcomed in the comments section. We have our thoughts, but would love to hear yours.

It is likely that our views will be modified as we read on.  This is our first attempt, after all.  It is our plan to read out loud together, review as each chapter is read, blog, and then when an entire book is read, go back and re-read.  I believe this will take us a while...

This has been today's Fresh Take.


Thanks for taking the time to check this out. Molly and I are conducting an experiment. Looking to find a way to give some of the day-to-day "humdrum" a little meaning and rather than melt our brains in front of the TV, we have recently tried to come up with ways to occupy our time that will bring us closer as a couple, educate us, improve our parenting, etc. "A Fresh Take..." is one of our projects. We are beginning with the Bible. The intention is to read this book in its entirety (though not necessarily in order) and discuss, without any outside influence or research....just reading and intimate discussion, trying to comprehend, understand and relate to these words that have influenced many generations.

This blog is a public journal of our experiment. After each section of reading and discussion, we will be posting on our blog our thoughts and discoveries. We make no claim to be right or wrong and make it known that we may completely change our opinions and ideas as we read and discuss more. After all, healthy questioning and discussion is the best way to intimately know a topic.  We invite comments and insights and may even pose questions looking for feedback.

If you wish to participate, we welcome you into our experiment. If not, we will love you just the same.

God Bless and happy discussion,

Mike and Molly