Welcome to a year of daily readings of the Word of God! One of my goals in making the Digging Deeper plan was to help you see the threads that unify the message of the Old Testament and the New Testament. I will highlight some of the various threads in the episode notes and podcast introductions, but I try not to do more than hint at the deep treasures in God’s Word. The most valuable treasures that you find this year will be the ones you dig for and find for yourself! Check out the ‘Shovels’ page of dailybiblereading.info for tools to help you go deeper in your study.
Note that I sometimes modify the New Living Translation based on my experience as a Bible translator. In 2015, the modifications to the NLT text will be noted [in brackets] in the episode notes. (In 2014 the notes were in attached PDF files.) The modifications I make to the NLT are primarily for clarity, not for pushing any doctrine. Some modifications are made simply to help those who will not be looking at the text, but only listening to these recordings.
The first five books of the Bible are the Jewish Torah, and many books of the Old and New Testaments attribute these books— which collectively are called ‘the Law’, to Moses. Genesis is the foundational book of the whole Bible. When we were in our first Bible translation project among the Orya, I witnessed how getting a little detail of the foundation wrong (such as, how the first sin happened) can wreck the whole building that is being constructed. This book of Genesis tells us what God wants us to know about the beginning of our world, the beginning of sin, mankind’s rebellion against God, and who God and Satan are.
3Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was
light. 4And God saw that the light was good. Then he
separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the
light “day” and the darkness “night.”
And evening passed and morning came, marking
the [end of the] first day.
… And evening passed and morning came, marking
the [end of the] second day.
…and so forth.
We turn to Job 1. This is probably the oldest book of the Bible, so it makes good sense to start our daily poetry readings here. Job probably lived sometime around the time of the patriarch Abraham. Note that we don’t find a primitive book here! We find established religious practices and beliefs, excellent poetry, well-developed mythology— including the names of constellations, and very sophisticated philosophy. For an early book, one would expect an ending with a neat answer that sums up the author’s opinion. Or one would expect an early author to create a debate where the hero is totally right and the other speakers are clearly wrong. Instead, all the human speakers in the book of Job mix truth and error. And I think it is a mark of inspiration that this book leaves us with some answers and still searching for others.
We turn to Mark 1. Mark does not specifically identify himself as the author, but the church fathers unanimously say that the John Mark mentioned several times in the New Testament was the author. Mark was a companion of Peter, so the eye-witness content in this book is that of Peter. It is also thought that Mark wrote this account before or shortly after Peter’s martyrdom in Rome, which happened somewhere between 64-67 AD. This is certainly the first written Gospel, and it could have been written earlier than the earliest of Paul’s letters. Tradition says that Mark wrote this Gospel in Rome. That would help to explain why Mark gives background information to some Jewish customs that would have been unknown to his Roman readers, and why he doesn’t include teachings of Jesus which were based on the Jewish Scriptures and religion. Instead he tells us the plain story of Jesus and his miracles, so that the reader finds out who Jesus is.
1 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son
of God. It began 2 just as the prophet Isaiah had written,
[quoting what God said to his son:]
6 [John reminded people of the prophet Elijah,] because
his clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore
a leather belt around his waist. And he ate food such as
locusts and wild honey.