Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Month 34 - Nahum

So just as we're coming to the end of the year then we're entering the second half of the Bible (by number of books at any rate). So the second half of Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years commences with a look at Nahum. Having discussed it with those there last time we thought the 21st December was the best date to go for - even in spite of its proximity to Christmas. We'll start at 7:30pm at my house as per usual.

James Limburg's and Peter C. Craigie's commentaries will again be used, as well as my usual refernce texts. Hopefully see you then.


Monday, 23 November 2009

Month 33 - Micah

I'm a bit late posting this, but in case anyone hasn't worked out, the next Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years will be on the 30th November 2009, from 7:30pm at 41 linden Road.

It's about Micah, a book of which I could only remember the bit about Bethlehem and the following verse, which has found it into two songs from my childhood: one from Ishmael and one from Graham Kendrick - "He has shown you oh man what is good, and what does the law require of you? But to act Justly and to love merc yand to walk humbly with your God."

There are obviously no Micah films, but the commentaries persist. As with previous months I'll be using James Limburg's and Peter C. Craigie's commentaries as well as a little three piece on Jonah, Micah and which I picked up just last week. Result.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Month 32 - Jonah

October's Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years is looking at Jonah - the most loved and most mis-understood of all the minor prophets. Starting at 7:30pm at 41 Linden Road on Monday 26th October.

Resources-wise, I'll be using James Limburg's and Peter C. Craigie's commentaries again. I'll also maybe look at a couple of animated films about Jonah including the recent VeggieTales version of the story and one from the Bible in Animation people. I also want to talk about the story of a "modern day Jonah". If you want to spoil it and read about that in advance, it's all here.

My friend Tyler Williams has also written various pieces on Jonah over at his Codex blog, including the insight that Jonah snored. There's also a good post on the book from Clayboy.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Month 31 - Obadiah

September sees us tackling the shortest book in the Hebrew Bible - Obadiah. A good time to take a week off? No sir-ee. For a start, you will probably never ever here someone talk about this book ever again. For a second, it gives us a chance to get really up close to a book, in a way that we can't even with the shorter books.

In terms of resources, again, I'll be using James Limburg's and Peter C. Craigie's commentaries. I'm also planning to use Douglas Stuart's commentary on it (he of "How To Read The Bible For All It's Worth" fame). Whether we'll manage to get to the bottom of why Obadiah is even in the Bible, time alone will tell.

Anyway, it all kicks off on Monday 28th September - 7:30pm at 41 Linden Road. Hopefully see you there.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Month 30 - Amos

I'm a little late in posting this, partly because I had been toying with the idea of cancelling this session in the midst of a crazy month. But it is very much on.

Amos is one of the most renown and accessible of the minor prophets, and his cry to "let justice flow like a river" is one of the most well known and popular in all scripture.

We'll be kicking off at 7:30pm on Monday 24th August 2009 at 41 Linden Road.

Resources-wise there no films but I'm working through a couple of commentaries. Peter C. Craigie's has certainly whet my apetite for the book and in addition to James Limburg's one I've also got a dedicated one from the Torch series that I use so often. Not sure whether I'll read all of those before Monday, but we'll see where we go.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Month 29 - Joel

This month we move onto one of the shortest books in the Old Testament: Joel. Starting at 7:30pm on Monday 27th July at 41 Linden Road. In terms of resources I'll be using the entries for Joel in James Limburg's and Peter C. Craigie's commentaries on the first few minor prophets. As the book is so short, I hope to go much more in depth into the book itself.

There are no filmed versions of this book, though in searching for them I did stumble across one that uses the quasi-Joel sounding phrase: The Day of the Locust from 1975 the year of my birth. Bizarrely it features a character called Homer Simpson, though the link to his more famous namesake is apparently coincidental.

Biblical Horror Stories for Children

...that's my title for my talk at this year's Greenbelt Festival. The idea is that I'm going to be looking at the parts of the Bible where God appears to have people killed, wondering why the place we're most likely to hear these stories is Sunday school, and asking how we should respond. I'm hoping to use a clip or two from Bible films, as there are some really good examples of how we selectively read the text to suit our sensibilities.

In part, I'm setting this page up now so that I can post links to any slides and clips I use in the talk itself. That way anyone listening on CD/MP3 won't miss out. So watch this space.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Month 28 - Hosea

Bit pushed for time this month so I won't write much. Suffice to say that the 28th session of Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years, or the 1st session of The Dirty Dozen starts at 7:30pm on Monday 29th June.

In terms of resources I've been reading the dedicated commentary by G.A.F. Knight, as well as the entries for Hosea in James Limburg's and Peter C. Craigie's commentaries on the first few minor prophets. This story has only been filmed once to my knowledge, and that was just last year. Oversold was a modernised version of the story set in Vegas, and was a solid effort for such a small production.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Studies in the Minor Prophets

12 months. 12 Prophets. You do the Maths! Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years has come to the minor prophets, and is opening it up to anyone who just wants to do a year course. If you've ever wondered why you've never heard a sermon on Nahum, or why Obadiah is even in the Bible, this is for you. The first session on Hosea starts in June, and then we'll be exploring a different book each month until May 2010. If you're interested in coming along, or if you just want to find out more details, contact Matt, or keep checking the Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years blog for future updates.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Month 27 - Daniel

What better way to end a Bank Holiday weekend by looking at the book of Daniel? 7:30pm at 41 Linden Road on Monday 25th May 2009.

Resources wise I' mwell stocked up. Not only did we do Daniel in church a couple of years back (listen to the podcasts) but I also wrote an essay on it a few years ago. I own John Gibson's Daily Study Bible commentary, and have read those by Norman Porteous and Joyce Baldwin as well of parts of John Goldingay's. I also have Ernest Lucas's guide.

Filmwise though it's all a bit sparse as these posts explain.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Month 26 - Ezekiel

For one of the longest books in the Bible, Ezekiel is kind of obscure. Such is the fun of Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years - a chance to get your head around one of the Bible's biggest wackos.

Resources-wise I'll be drawing on some notes I had from the old London Bible College as well as looking at John B. Taylor's commentary. Wikipedia is a bit patchy, and there are no films to draw on except this obscure one I can't find out any details for, and a random misquote from Pulp Fiction.

Anyway, "the fun" starts at 7:30 at 41 Linden Road, 27th April 2009.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Month 25 - Lamentations

In contrast to its predecessor, Jeremiah, Lamentations is one of the shorter books in the Old Testament, and one of the most easily forgotten. Squeezed in between two of the Bible's most impenetrable texts - the prophetic ramblings of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, it's easily skipped. Not quite Wisdom, not quite a minor prophet, it's all in limbo.

But perhaps during a credit crunch it's one of the more appropriate books to be reading - a grieving man's lament over his broken city.

As most of the last session was spent watching the film of Jeremiah, I want to spend the start of the session looking at a couple of other things abut Jeremiah, who is, after all , traditionally associated with the writing of this book, before going on to concentrate on Lamenations itself. Kicking off at 7'@:30pm on Monday 23rd March at 41 Linden Road. Hopefully see you there.

In terms of resources, a couple of bits from Lamentations appear in the film, but I'll mainly be drawing on the usual texts, plus R.K.Harrison's commentary on Jeremiah and Lamentations. If I turn up any interesting internet links in my research I'll add them below.

Edit: Oh, and I've just found out that Rob Bell's Mars Hill Church is coming to the end of a series on Lamentations.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Month 24 - Jeremiah

Coming up to the 2 year mark we arrive at Jeremiah. The longest book of the Bible (by number of words) is fairly unknown. One of the resources I've been looking at is H Cunliffe-Jones's commentary from the easily-available-in second-hand-bookshops Torch Bible paperbacks series. It's strange that what was probably a fairly pivotal book at the time so rarely surfaces in churches (except for the odd, out-of-context, citation of 29:11). There's a good outline at

Films-wise there is just one (that I know of) - Jeremiah (1998), part of the Bible Collection.

Well be starting, as usual at 7:30 at my house, on the 23rd February.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Month 23 - Isaiah

New Year, new president, new biblical genre - prophecy. And Isaiah is obviously the big one with all it's "unto us a child is born"ing here, and it's "lion shall lie down with the lamb"ing there. As ever, things start at 41 Linden Road at 7:30 on Monday 26th Jan.

Rsources wise, there are stacks. I am shortly to be reunited with my library, so whilst I have already snaffled a couple of Isaiah commentaries, and already have a number of the course texts with me, I'll enjoy having those to dip into again.

But for what it's worth, Isaiah is given a very short shrift film-wise. About ten minutes of one Living Christ episode where the story from Isaiah 36-37 appears by way of introduction to the prophet and his writings, which in turn introduces Jesus, whom the series is really about.