Help with a personal project of mine...
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06-04-2012, 08:32 AM
Help with a personal project of mine...
Apologies in advance if this post is excessively long or rambling.

I'm one of those lucky people who was brought up without any kind of religious indoctrination, and as such I've never quite had reason to read the Bible in its entirety. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while, for all the usual and obvious reasons - one of the big ones being that if I want to count myself properly part of the unbelievers' community, it's a more or less mandatory thing to have done. So, with that said, onto my specific project...

I'm intending to read as slowly as I need to, from start to finish, documenting my thoughts and commentary as I go - probably book by book. I have two versions on my bookshelf at present - a Revised Good News Edition (received at a youth group I was in for a time during high school, shortly before leaving*) and a recently acquired KJV**. If I feel the need, I'll probably also keep a good translation-comparison site open on the side (I might have one bookmarked already, but either way, any recommendation is welcome). Whatever translations I'm reading, obviously, will be in parallel.

Now, here's the important part: I intend on doing this with as much fairness and neutrality as I'm capable. I fully acknowledge the bias that I'm going in with, and I don't expect that to change much, frankly, but obviously the whole point of this is to gain any nuance and fullness of perspective that I might be lacking. This leads to (probably) my most important question here: if I have need of websites for further reference, what are some good ones with a neutral perspective?

The end result of this, obviously, is to have a properly informed opinion which is also documented in some form. Probably a somewhat ambitious project, all in all, but it's high time I did something of this sort, and I'd want something to show for it. Anyway, thanks in advance for any opinions, advice or whatever else.

*For a few years after leaving, the best use I had for it was to put it on the floor behind my desk to prop up a power strip for which one cord or another wasn't quite long enough to let it rest on the floor. Between the occasional illustrations considered appropriate to include in this edition and the plain-everyday-English excesses (I noticed, having a quick glance at it again for the first time in years, that in this translation they don't even seem to have retained such a quintessential Bible-ism as "...and it was good"), my reflexive, relatively uninformed irreverence at the time of leaving youth group was entirely justified for at least this specific Bible.
** You might have seen the specific edition - "400th anniversary edition of the book that changed the world", cover adorned with quotations sycophantic and disingenuous enough to amply remind me why I'm disinclined to believe a word of it before I even open the damn book.


"Well, the Bible does say God helps those who help themselves."
"Nah, it doesn’t, actually – that’s from one of Aesop’s fables. The Bible says quite the opposite, in fact – many passages of being patient and faithful, and waiting for the Lord to decide if he wishes to assist."
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06-04-2012, 09:40 AM
RE: Help with a personal project of mine...
You're not likely to find an unbiased website concerning the bible or it's translations.

The only two groups who bother to make websites about it are either followers or disbelievers. That lends a bias one way or the other. Then if you decide to go with the believers group you have to contend with the mass amount of disagreement among them.

The best thing you could do is find multiple sites to pull from to get the fullest picture available. Also they have every bible under the sun online somewhere for free. So it might be wise to look for the most accurate translations you can find, or a site relating to discrepancies in translations. Maybe with a side by side comparison. Ask Kingschosen for the best bibles. Also he could lead you to some decent translation sites I'm sure.

This site was found with a quick google search and seems a good place to start.

Then there's this.

Or this.

Or this.

Really in this day and age Google should be your best buddy.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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06-04-2012, 06:58 PM
RE: Help with a personal project of mine...
Hi, you're taking on a big project. I think you should consider the following.

To really understand the bible, you need to do more than just read the bible. You need to understand who wrote it, when, why, how it was compiled, and the religious/social/political scenes that were happening when it was written and edited. That is a major task, and will take you years if you really get into it. Its not for the faint hearted.

Of course you can just read the bible, which is what 99% of Christians have done, (and most of them only "cherry pick" sections). Don't expect to get any consistent or even ethical pearls of wisdom out of it. It is a bloody mess of ideas. I think it is worth doing, however, if only to satisfy yourself.
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06-04-2012, 07:05 PM
RE: Help with a personal project of mine...
(06-04-2012 09:40 AM)lucradis Wrote:  You're not likely to find an unbiased website concerning the bible or it's translations. The only two groups who bother to make websites about it are either followers or disbelievers. That lends a bias one way or the other.
Exactly my initial concern with regard to this. The sites you've given seem to be the right kind of thing though, with the exception of SAB. I've read some of it before, and from what I recall, the general tone of it is unsuitable here.


For what it's worth, this is the parallel translation resource previously mentioned.


"Well, the Bible does say God helps those who help themselves."
"Nah, it doesn’t, actually – that’s from one of Aesop’s fables. The Bible says quite the opposite, in fact – many passages of being patient and faithful, and waiting for the Lord to decide if he wishes to assist."
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06-04-2012, 07:10 PM
RE: Help with a personal project of mine...
Be warned, I am reading the King James version, and it can be extremely hard to stay reading it at points. (I fell asleep twice at the end of Exodus) Also it has quite a few "and it was good..." parts.

Under Repair.
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06-04-2012, 07:22 PM
RE: Help with a personal project of mine...
(06-04-2012 06:58 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hi, you're taking on a big project. I think you should consider the following.
To really understand the bible, you need to do more than just read the bible. You need to understand who wrote it, when, why, how it was compiled, and the religious/social/political scenes that were happening when it was written and edited. That is a major task, and will take you years if you really get into it. Its not for the faint hearted.
Of course you can just read the bible, which is what 99% of Christians have done, (and most of them only "cherry pick" sections). Don't expect to get any consistent or even ethical pearls of wisdom out of it. It is a bloody mess of ideas. I think it is worth doing, however, if only to satisfy yourself.
Believe me, I'm going in fully aware of that. The fact of the matter, however, is that most of what I've done up to this point is pay attention to the kind of things you've mentioned (not to the point of it being serious study, but still) rather than giving the book itself a full read. It's with all the necessary peripheral study in mind that I've decided to read as slowly as need be.

I'm still not completely sure how I'll fit contradictions and cross-referencing into this cover-to-cover approach, aside from probably mentioning the issue in question in the commentary of the later book/passage. That's probably only one of many things still to be figured out though...


"Well, the Bible does say God helps those who help themselves."
"Nah, it doesn’t, actually – that’s from one of Aesop’s fables. The Bible says quite the opposite, in fact – many passages of being patient and faithful, and waiting for the Lord to decide if he wishes to assist."
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