The Bible Project itself

Although the original Greek texts had no chapters or verses, I will use the common chapter and verse format found in the Jerusalem Bible, along with the various titles and subtitles of the chapters of this edition.  By reading in a language that is not my mother tongue, I hope to gain a greater comprehension of the texts beyond the common understanding.  I will then write a short summary and commentary about each verse, paragraph, or section that I am reading, using the Greek, the French, and the English versions, along with the various footnotes that these editions of the Bible have provided.  I have subdivided these passages into smaller verses.  For the New Testament, I will also insert the Greek text between the translation and the commentary.  I am going to go through the New Testament Bible, book by book, chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, verse by verse, paraphrasing and commenting on each book of the New Testament.  This is not a task that will be accomplished in a year or two, or maybe ever at all.  However, I set out on this adventure with a basic understanding of the New Testament, as an old man who has spent a lifetime reading and thinking about these writings.  Now, I want to do it in a more comprehensive but sharing way.  I will post 5 blogs a day that will include the translated verse or verses that I am commenting on.  Let the adventure begin!

Modern Bibles

In the past century a number of scholarly editions of the Bible have appeared, such as the American Standard Version (1901), the Revised Standard Version (1952), the Jerusalem Bible (1966), the New American Bible (1970) and many more editions, including revisions of the King James Bible and on-line Internet Bibles, with many commentaries that can be found at the web site Bible Hub.  All agreed on the New Testament.  The question of which books belong to the Old Testament has been a sticking point.  Most Protestant Bibles contain the thirty-nine books of the Hebrew canon, while Catholics use the Jewish Greek Septuagint that has seven other books that were also in the Latin Vulgate.

The outpouring of the Spirit (Joel 2:28-2:29)

“Then afterward,

I will pour out

My Spirit

On all flesh.

Your sons,

As well as your daughters,

Shall prophesy.

Your old men

Shall dream dreams.

Your young men

Shall see visions.

In those days,

I will pour out

My Spirit,

Even on the male slaves,

Even on the female slaves.”

This is the outpouring of the Spirit that Peter will later talk about in the Acts of the Apostles. This Spirit will come upon all humans, the young men, the sons, with the young women, the daughters. These young people will prophesize, while the old men will dream dreams. The young men will see visions. Even the male and female slaves will receive this outpouring of the Spirit. In the Jerusalem Bible, this is chapter 3, not the end of chapter 2. However, I will follow the numeration as in the Oxford Bible here.

Oracle against Jerusalem (Ezek 21:1-21:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Jerusalem!

Preach

Against the sanctuaries!

Prophesy

Against the land of Israel!’”

Once again, in the first person, Ezekiel explained that the word of Yahweh came to him, the son of man. He was to set his face against Jerusalem. He was to preach against their sanctuaries. He was to prophesy against the land of Israel. These verses are verses 7 and on in the Jerusalem Bible, so that the verses for this chapter will be different in the two Bibles. I will follow the New Oxford Bible verse numbers.

Oracle about the fire against the south (Ezek 20:45-20:48)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward the south!

Preach

Against the south!

Prophesy

Against the forest land

In the Negeb!

Say to the forest

Of the Negeb!

Hear the word of Yahweh!

Thus says Yahweh God!

I will kindle

A fire in you.

It shall devour

Every green tree

In you.

It shall devour

Every dry tree.

The blazing flame

Shall not be quenched.

All faces,

From south to north,

Shall be scorched by it.

All flesh

Shall see

That I,

Yahweh,

Have kindled it.

It shall not be quenched.’”

As usual, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was to set his face to the south. He was to preach and prophesy against the south, the forest land in the Negeb, the dry like wilderness south of Judah, perhaps the kingdom of Edom. He was to tell them to listen to the word of Yahweh. Yahweh was going to kindle a fire that would devour every green tree and every dry tree. This blazing flame would not be quenched. Everyone’s face would be scorched by it. Everyone would know that Yahweh set this unquenchable fire. This section is the first part of the next chapter in the Jerusalem Bible.

Beware of your family (Jer 12:6-12:6)

“Even your kinsfolk,

Even your own family,

Even they have dealt treacherously

With you.

They are in full cry after you.

Do not believe them,

Even if they speak

Friendly words to you.”

This verse is not in the Jerusalem Bible. I do not know why. Yahweh seems to warn Jeremiah that he should be careful with his own family and relatives. They have dealt treacherously with him. They were in full throat after him. He was not to believe anything that they said to him, even if it was friendly words.

A lamentation about the moral corruption of Judah (Jer 9:1-9:3)

“‘O that my head were a spring of water!

O that my eyes were a fountain of tears!

Thus I might weep day and night

For the slain of my poor people!

O that I had in the desert

A traveler’s lodging place!

Thus I might leave my people!

Thus I might go away from them!

They are all adulterers.

They are a band of traitors.

They bend their tongue

Like bows.

They have grown strong in the land

Because of falsehood,

Not because of truth.

They proceed from evil to evil.

They do not know me.’

Says Yahweh.”

Jeremiah has another oracle of Yahweh that speaks out about his lament over the corruption in Judah. Yahweh wished that he had a head with a spring of water or fountain of tears in his eyes, so that he could weep all day and night for the dead people of Judah. He wished that he had a lodging place in the desert so that he could get away from his poor people. They were all adulterers and traitors. They bent their tongues like bows with all their falsehood, instead of truth. They simply went from one evil to another evil. They did not even know Yahweh. It was a terrible scene. There is a slight discrepancy of the verse numbers since this first verse in the Jerusalem Bible is the last of the preceding chapter. However, I will follow the Revised Standard edition numbering for this chapter.

Outline of the Book of Genesis

Genesis General Structure (per Jerusalem Bible)   

I.    The origins of the world

a.    The creation and the fall

The first story of creation (Gen 1:1-2:4)

The second story of creation: paradise (Gen 2:4b-2:25)

The fall (Gen 3:1-3:24)

Cain and Abel (Gen 4:1-4:16)

The descendants of Cain (Gen 4:17-4:24)

Seth and his descendants (Gen 4:25-26)

The patriarchs before the flood (Gen 5:1-5:32)

 Sons of God and daughters of men (Gen 6:1- 6:4)

b.  The flood

The corruption of humanity before the flood (Gen 6:5-6:12)

Preparations for the flood (Gen 6:13-7:9)

The flood (Gen 7:10-7:24)

The decrease of the water (Gen 8:1-8:14)

The exit from the ark (Gen 8:15-8:22)

The new world order (Gen 9:1-9:17)

c.  From the flood to Abraham

Noah and his sons (Gen 9:18-9:29)

How the earth was peopled (Gen 10:1-10:32)

The tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-11:9)

The patriarchs after the flood (Gen 11:10-11:26)

The descendants of Terah (Gen 11:27-11:32)

II.      The story of Abraham

The call of Abraham (Gen 12:1-12:9)

Abraham goes to Egypt (Gen 12:10-12:20)

The separation of Abraham and Lot (Gen 13:1-13:18)

The battle of the four great kings (Gen 14:1-14:16)

Melchizedek (Gen 14:17-14:24)

The promise of a divine alliance (Gen 15:1-15:21)

The birth of Ishmael (Gen 16:1-16:16)

The covenant and circumcision (Gen 17:1–17:27)

The apparition at Mamre (Gen 18:1-18:15)

The intercession of Abraham (Gen 18:16-18:33)

The destruction of Sodom (Gen 19:1-19:29)

The origins of the Ammonites and Moabites (Gen 19:30-19:38)

Abraham at Gerar (Gen 20:1-20:20:18)

The birth of Isaac (Gen 21:1-21:7)

The dismissal of Hagar and Ishmael (Gen 21:8-21:21)

Abraham and Abimelech at Beer-sheba (Gen 21:22-21:34)

The sacrifice of Isaac (Gen 22:1-22:19)

The descendants of Nahor (Gen 22:20-22:24)

The tomb of the patriarchs (Gen 23:1-23:20)

Marriage of Isaac (Gen 24:1-24:67)

The descendants of Keturah (Gen 25:1-25:6)

The death of Abraham (Gen 25:7-25:11)

The descendants of Ishmael (Gen 25:12-25:18)

III.      The story of Isaac and Jacob

The birth of Esau and Jacob (Gen 25:19-25:28)

Esau gives up his birthright (Gen 25:29-25:34)

Isaac goes to Gerar (Gen 26:1-26:14)

The wells at Gerar and Beer-sheba (Gen 26:15-26:25)

The alliance with Abimelech (Gen 26:26-26:30)

The Hittite wives of Esau (Gen 26:34-26:35)

Jacob cheats Esau out of the blessing of Isaac (Gen 27:1-27:45)

Isaac sends Jacob to Laban (Gen 27:46-28:5)

Esau’s other marriage (Gen 28:6-28:9)

Jacob’s dream (Gen 28:10-28:22)

Jacob arrives at Haran (Gen 29:1-29:14)

The two marriages of Jacob (Gen 29:15-Gen 29:30)

The children of Jacob (Gen 29:31-30:24)

How Jacob got rich (Gen 30:25-30:43)

The flight of Jacob (Gen 31:1-31:21)

Laban pursues Jacob (Gen 31:22-Gen 31:42)

The treaty between Jacob and Laban (Gen 31:43-32:2)

Jacob prepares to meet Esau (Gen 32:3-32:21)

The struggle with God (Gen 32:22-32:32)

The meeting with Esau (Gen 33:1-33:11)

Jacob separates from Esau (Gen 33:12-33:17)

Jacob arrives at Shechem (Gen 33:18-33:20)

The violence against Dinah (Gen34:1-34:5)

The marriage pact with Hamor and Shechem (Gen 34:6-34:24)

The vengeance of Simeon and Levi (Gen 34:25-34:31)

Jacob at Bethel (Gen 35:1-35:15)

The birth of Benjamin and the death of Rachel (Gen 35:16-35:21)

The incest of Rueben (Gen 35:22-Gen 35:22)

The twelve sons of Jacob (Gen 35:23-35:26)

The death of Isaac (Gen 35:27-35:29)

IV.     The story of Joseph

Joseph and his brothers (Gen 37:1-Gen 37:11)

Joseph is sold by his brothers (Gen 37:12-37:36)

The story of Judah and Tamar (Gen 38:1-38:30)

Joseph in Egypt (Gen 39:1-39:6)

Joseph and the seducer (Gen 39:7-Gen 39:20)

Joseph in prison (Gen 39:21-Gen39:23)

Joseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh’s household (Gen 40:1-40:23)

Pharaoh’s dreams (Gen 41:1-41:36)

The elevation of Joseph (Gen 41:37-41:49)

The sons of Joseph (Gen 41:50-41:57)

The first meeting of Joseph and his brothers (Gen 42:1-42:24)

The return of the sons of Jacob to Canaan (Gen 42:25-42:38)

The sons of Jacob return with Benjamin (Gen 43:1-43:14)

The meeting with Joseph (Gen 43:15-43:34)

The cup of Joseph in Benjamin’s sack (Gen 44:1-44:17)

The intervention of Judah (Gen 44:18-44:34)

Joseph reveals himself (Gen 45:1-45:15)

Pharaoh’s invitation (Gen 45:16-45:20)

The return to Canaan (Gen 45:21-45:28)

The departure of Jacob for Egypt (Gen 46:1-46:7)

The family of Jacob (Gen 46:8-46:27)

The welcome of Joseph (Gen 46:28-46:34)

The audience with Pharaoh (Gen 47:1-47:6)

The establishment in Egypt (Gen 47:7-47:12)

The agricultural politics of Joseph (Gen 47:13-47:26)

The last wishes of Jacob (Gen 47:27-47:31)

Jacob adopts and blesses the two sons of Joseph (Gen 48:1-48:22)

The blessings of Jacob (Gen 49:1-49:28)

The last moments and death of Jacob (Gen 49:29-49:33)

The funeral of Jacob (Gen 50:1-50:14)

The death of Joseph (Gen 50:15-50:26)

 

My understanding of Genesis

My Bible Project

All Christians begin their theological reflection with a reference to the Bible.  All my life I have tried to understand the Christian message.  As an emeritus professor of religious studies, I begin my retirement Bible project at the age of 74 in 2013, by reading the bible in French, La Sainte Bible: traduite en francais sous la direction du L’Ecole Biblique de Jerusalem, the 1961 edition of the Jerusalem Bible that I first studied in 1962.  As a guide to help me with this translation I will use the New Revised Standard Version of the New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha: An Ecumenical Study Bible Completely Revised and Enlarged, the 1994 edition.

For the New Testament I will also use Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine by Eberhard and Erwin Nestle and Kurt Aland, the 1960 edition that I used fifty years ago. To help with the Greek New Testament text, I will use The Jewish Annotated New Testament of the New Revised Standard Version, edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, 2011, along with the two editions mentioned in the first paragraph.  As a further aid I will use the on-line Bible Concordance http://biblesuite.com/h/hezron.htm.

Although the original texts had no chapters or verses, I will use the common chapter and verse format found in the Jerusalem Bible, along with the various titles and subtitles in the chapters of this edition.  By reading in a language that is not my mother tongue, I hope to gain a greater comprehension of the texts beyond the common understanding. I will then write a short summary and commentary about each paragraph or section that I am reading, using the French and English versions, along with the various footnotes that these editions of the Bible have provided.

I am going to go through the Bible, book by book, chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, paraphrasing and citing each section of Bible.  This is not a task that will be accomplished in a year or two, or maybe ever at all.  However, I set out on this adventure with a basic understanding of the Bible, as an old man who has spent some time reading and thinking about these writings.  Now, I want to do it in a comprehensive sharing way.