Wrong Ways to Read the Bible
The Year of Living Biblically was the brain child of Esquire Magazine editor at large A.J. Jacobs. Having written a book on the experience of studying the Encyclopedia Britanica, he decided to spend a year living as dictated by scripture and the more than 700s rules found in its pages. It was admitedly a stunt designed to help the agnostic author sell books.
According to an article in New York's Daily News,
He heeded the Ten Commandments, natch, and didn't lie, steal or covet. He tithed his income. He wore white and attached tassels to his shirt-sleeves. He didn't touch his wife, Julie, or any woman, at certain times of the month. He pelted an adulterer with a pebble. "It was a surprisingly intense encounter," says Jacobs.His wife is planning for his next book to be "A year of foot massages." That's perhaps a better idea as the Bible is more love letter than rule book.
He consulted regularly with priests, rabbis and ministers. He wore biblical attire, purchased at a Halloween store. He invited a Jehovah's Witness into his upper West Side home. "I realize this fact already puts me in an extreme minority," he muses. "It's like volunteering for jury duty or paying to see a Vin Diesel movie."
He also did field study. He tended sheep in Israel, visited with the Amish and chatted up evangelical Christians at the Creationism Museum in Kentucky...
Jacobs' book has been bought as a movie and has brought some lessons. "The outside shapes the inside, like Method acting," he says. "If you behave like a good person, you eventually become a better person."
Not that he always got it right. "I failed on an hourly basis, and that was one of the lessons," he says. "You'll never be perfect."
Nonetheless, he has changed in ways big and small.
"I spent so much time giving thanks while doing the book, I'm more thankful now. I focus on the 100 little things that go right every day.
"I'm a workaholic," he adds. "But there's a mandatory day of rest, if you follow the Bible. I see the beauty of it."
Wrong way #2—use the Bible like a Magic 8-ball
There is an online random verse generator that allows you to ask a question and then it pops up a random verse to answer your question. It's online here: Biblical Lot. It's an amusing web gadget, but not the best way to decide anything.
A Healthy Alternative
Read some of the Bible daily. You will find that the narrative does amazing things in time. It's not starting with a problem and going and finding a solution. Instead you marinate in God's Word and find yourself slowly transformed over time. You get the same result of the thankfulness and being a better person that the Esquire Editor experienced, without the wacky clothing and facial hair.
The rev. Frank Logue, Pastor