Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Matthew 17

The Transfiguration

Jesus took Peter James and John up a high mountain by themselves. Jesus was bright like the sun and Moses and Elijah was there talking with them. God said through a cloud that Jesus was his son. The disciples were terrified and bowed down. Jesus said it was ok and when they looked up they saw only Jesus.

Jesus told them not to tell anyone about it until he is raised from the dead. He says that Elijah had already come back as John the Baptist. They killed him and they will kill Jesus too.

I'm surprised I've never heard of this scene before.

Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon

Some kid was not able to be healed by the disciples so he was brought to Jesus, who was able to heal him. The disciples asked why they were not able to heal the kid and Jesus said it is because they lacked faith.

Wow, it seems like Jesus picked some really poor choices for disciples. They get powers and STILL don't have faith!

then Jesus says "if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you"

I have heard Atheist's use this verse (or perhaps a similar one, is there another verse that sounds kinda like this?) to claim that prayers will come true if you have faith. But this seems to be specifically talking to his disciples. Unless Jesus has said that ANYONE can do the other miracles if they have enough faith or something.

[edit]-look at 21:21-22

Jesus Again Fortells Death, Resurrection

Title says it all

The Temple Tax

The temple wants to tax Jesus for speaking there. He tells Peter to go fishing and the first fish will have a shekel, use that to pay the tax.

what? I don't get this at all

Monday, January 30, 2012

Matthew 16

The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs

They ask Jesus for a sign from heaven. He says they can read the sky, but not the sign of the times. "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah"

Is this a variant of "Don't test God"?

The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees

Jesus and the disciples are travelling in the land of Pharisees and Sadducees and they realize they don't have any bread. Jesus says to beware of the Leaven of those guys. His disciples say that they have no bread. Jesus says "ye of little faith", reminds his followers of the feeding of the five thousand and four thousand. Then he points out that he isn't actually talking about bread ("how is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread?"), but the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The more I think about this passage the more I dislike it. First, he says "ye of little faith" when his followers point out that they don't have bread. He makes it a negative thing to ask questions, point out a problem, and potentially try to get the problem solved before it is a crisis.

Second, he complains that his followers didn't realize he was not actually talking about bread, even though he used bread as a metaphor for knowledge during a time when bread is a real problem. Seems to me the problem is his for being confusing, not theirs for being confused.

Finally and most importantly, the whole point of this is for him to not want his people to hear the teachings of the Sadducees and Pharisees. This is an issue I have with the bible going all the way back to the tree of knowledge. Acquiring knowledge should always be a good thing.

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

Jesus asks his disciples who the people say the Son of Man is. They reply John the Baptsists, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. They Jesus asks "Who do you say I am?" and they reply that he is the son of God. He says yes, he says he will build his church to prevail against hell. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." Then he tells them not to tell anyone that he is the Christ.

This sounds to me like Jesus is trying to get his friends to tell him how awesome he is. "They say that guy is the best, but I am right fellas" "oh yeah boss, you are the best". I'm sorry if that is offensive, I'm not trying to be, it is just how it reads to me.

What is up with the "whatever you bind of earth shall be bound in heaven" thing? Doesn't that go against lay up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21)?

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

Jesus says he must go to Jerusalem, suffer and die and then be resurrected after 3 days. Peter said it should not happen and Jesus calls him Satan. "You are not setting your mind on God, but on the things of man"

Basically saying don't cling to life. There are more important things.

Take up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

If you want to follow me take up your cross and lose your life as well. What good is the whole world if you lose your soul?

"Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom"

This again, is Jesus pretty explicitly saying the world will end soon right? Is there another way to interpret that? Why would you follow this 2000 years later?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Matthew 15

Traditions and Commandments

The Pharisees accused Jesus and his disciples of breaking tradition of his elders because they don't wash their hands before they eat. Jesus replies that the accuser claims that it is not necessarily important to honor thy father and mother and then calls him a Hypocrite. Then Jesus cites another prophecy.

So Jesus breaks a rule from the old testament, and when he is called on it he changes the subject to accuse the Pharisee of breaking a different rule. Notice Jesus never says "yes, we are breaking that rule and it is ok because...", he just attacks the other person. I see a lot of people use this technique in arguments and it frustrates me to no end (you see it in politics all the time for example). 

What Defiles a Person

What you eat doesn't defile you, what you say is what is important.

Now he officially says it is not bad to eat without washing your hands. Guess they don't know what germs are yet.

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

A Canaanite woman came up to Jesus and asked him to heal her daughter. Jesus wouldn't help her and said "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs". She pleaded again so he decided to heal her daughter because of her great faith.

Wow, Jesus starts off as a real jerk in this passage. At least he comes around in the end and helps her out. I always thought of Jesus as helping anyone who come along, not being so inclusive. I wonder if this is some kind of turning point for Jesus. In which case the message might be to be ready to change your mind about racism and such. 

Jesus Heals Many

Jesus heals a bunch of people again.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

People having been following Jesus for 3 days and haven't eaten so he feeds them all with seven loaves of bread a a few small fish.

I didn't know this story was in here twice

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Matthew 14

The Death of John the Baptist

Herod had John the Baptist in prison, and he claimed that he has been raised from the dead.

Is this supposed to have happened, or is Herod supposed to be lying or mistaken?

Herod wanted to put John to death but feared reprisal from the people as they say him as a prophet. On His daughter's birthday, Herod promised to give her anything she wanted and she asked for John's head on a platter.  He obliged. Then the disciples took the body and buried it and told Jesus.

That is pretty brutal. Either the point of this is to show that Herod is evil (point taken) or there is more meaning that will be revealed later. 

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Jesus was sad about John and went to a desolate place. People followed him there and had nothing to eat. They only had 5 loaves and 2 fish. Jesus looked up to heaven and said a blessing and then they had enough food for everyone.

Not really sure what to say about this. Pretty cool miracle. 

Jesus Walks on Water

Jesus went off on his own to pray and everyone else took off. Later, there were no boats so Jesus walked on water to get to his disciples who were on a boat. They were scared at first thinking he was a ghost, but he said he was Jesus. Peter asked him if he could walk on water as well and Jesus said yes. So he did but got scared and started sinking. Jesus reached out to him and saved him and said "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Then they got in the boat and the storm went away and they said "Truly you are the Son of God"

I remember this story from a little cartoon when I was a kid. I guess it left a big impact as I don't remember much from that age. Another pretty cool miracle.

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

Jesus went to Gennesaret and when the people heard he was there rounded up all the sick people. They asked if they could touch his garment and as they did they were made well.

I guess the faithful get rewarded

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Matthew 13

The Parable of the Sower

Jesus has a crowd so he tells a story about a guy sowing some seeds. He explains what happens to seeds as they fell in different places.
Seeds that fell on the path were eaten by birds.
Seeds that were on rocks with little soil grew quickly but were scorched by the sun since they had a poor root system.
Seeds that fell near thorns were choked by the growing thorns.
Seeds that fell on good soil produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

The Purpose of the Parables

Very confusing passage to me. I don't feel like I can really even give a proper summary as I don't really understand it. My best guess is he tells them there is a prophecy that those that hear don't hear and those that see don't see. This is fulfilled in their enemies but not his followers as they understand what they see and hear. 

Is he basically saying he is talking in code so only his people understand?

The Parable of the Sower Explained

The sower is anyone preaching the word of God I guess. The various places the seed landed correspond to how the message was received.

If the word of God is not understood, that is the evil one snatching away what has been sown in his heart like the seed on the path.

I guess that's like me with the last section, damn you Satan.

The seed which has been sown on rock is like a person who takes the word of God immediately with joy but doesn't have roots in his own heart, any hardship rips it away.

The thorns are like people who instead focus on the riches of  the world instead of the word of God.

The good soil is obviously listening to the word and really taking it in and understanding it.

The Parable of the Weeds

Another parable. A man sows good seeds in his field, and while he is sleeping an enemy sows weeds along with the good seeds. The man's servants ask if they should get the weeds out and he says not to, you might get out the wheat as well. Let them grow and at harvest time we will differentiate them.

Live in peace and let God sort out the details after you die. 

The Mustard Seed and the Leaven

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, even though it is smaller than all of the other seeds, it grows bigger.

It actually says "it is the smallest seed". I've heard that this is actually false and God, being all knowing, should not have made this mistake. I suppose one could counter by saying it is the smallest in the field in this story. Or perhaps it is the smallest that the group of people listening would know.

"The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened"

What is the lesson here? The kingdom of heaven can spread if it is kept secret?

Prophecy and Parables

Jesus only spoke to this crowd in parables to fulfill a prophecy.

So did Jesus do it for the express purpose of fulfilling a prophecy, or was it what he wanted to do and it happened to fulfill a prophecy? Because if you do something with the intention of fulfilling a prophecy it losing it's meaning. Is it fulfilling a prophecy when my waiter brings me what I ordered?

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

Jesus says he is the one sowing the good seeds, the field is the world, the weeds are the sons of the evil one and the sower of them is the devil.

Is the devil and "the evil one" not the same?

The harvest is the close of the age. The righteous will go to heaven and the rest will go to the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure a man found in a field and the covered up. He then sells everything he owns to buy the field.

That seems like a shady thing to do. Not that I can say for sure I would never do such a thing, but I'd feel bad about it.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value

The kingdom of heaven is like a pearl merchant finding one of great value and selling everything he has in order to buy it.

This seems more legitimate to me.

The Parable of the Net

The kingdom of heaven is like a fishing net which catches all kinds of things and the fisherman have to sort the good from the bad. In the same way, at the end of the age the angels will separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace.

More talk of throwing people into hell

New and Old Treasures

"Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old"

It sounds to me like he is saying the old testament is as important as the new testament. Any other interpretation?

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

Jesus goes back to his hometown and teaches his parables there. People are amazed at his wisdom and can't believe he was a carpenter's son. They took offense at him. He said he does not do works there because of their unbelief.

Much like the sermon on the mount, I don't see what everyone is so amazed by. It seems like a mixed bag to me, some of what he says is good, some is bad. Maybe there is some kind of historical perspective I am missing.

Honestly, this reminds me of poorly written movies, where a character is supposed to have some trait and the other characters just react as if it was the case. A good example is the attractive girl who is a bit nerdy (but still hot) and everyone treats her as if she is ugly until her transformation half way through the movie. Or the guy who is supposed to be charming but the actor can't pull it off so they just have the women swoon around him constantly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Matthew 12

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath

Jesus' disciples were hungry on the Sabbath, so they went into a grain field and picked some food to eat. The Pharisees saw it and said  it they were breaking the law, Jesus said that David did it so we can do it too.

A Man with a Withered Hand

Jesus went to a synagogue and found a man with a withered hand. They asked him if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath because they wanted to accuse him. He said that if they lost a sheep in a pit on the Sabbath they would take it out, and a man is better than a sheep, so he is able to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus then healed the man's hand. The Pharisees then went out and plotted against Jesus.

These Pharisees are a bunch of dicks. If they see him doing actual healings why would they be so against him? [In verse 24 below it says they think he is a demon]

God's Chosen Servant

Jesus was aware of the plotting against him so he left that area. Many followed him and he healed them all but told them to not make him known. "This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah"

If you do something in order to fulfill a prophecy it is really not that spectacular. Is this a translation issue?

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

Jesus heals a demon possessed man and the people say he is the son of David. The Pharisees say he is a demon. He says a house cannot be divided against itself, so if Satan casts out demons his house will not stand.
He then says that anyone who is not with him is against him.

Jesus says any sin against people will be forgiven but any blasphemy against the holy spirit will not be. "whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come"

I really dislike both of those statements. ANY sin against people will be forgiven, so anything you do to another person can be forgiven. There are some pretty bad things that can be done that can be redeemed, that is why we have life in prison as punishment sometimes. On the other hand, SPEAK against the holy spirit and it's over, you are irredeemable. So say a kid goes through a rebellious stage and says some things he maybe doesn't even really mean against the holy spirit. Well, it's over, hell for you buddy.

A Tree is Known by Its Fruit

Good trees give good fruit and bad trees give bad fruit. "On the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak."

That sounds like it would take a while

The Sign of Jonah

The Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign (All of the healing and such aren't enough for them?)  and Jesus says that as Jonah was in the whale for 3 days, he will be in the Earth for 3 days.

Return of an Unclean Spirit

When a spirit leaves a place it find no rest elsewhere and eventually returns home with 7 other spirits more evil than itself. So it is with this evil generation.

I just don't know about the kids these days...

Jesus' Mother and Brothers

While he was speaking to the people his mother and brothers were outside asking to speak to him. He replied that anyone who does the will of his father in heaven is his mother and brother.

Did I just read that right, did Jesus just blow off his family?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Matthew 11

Messengers from John the Baptist

John in prison hears about Jesus and asks his disciples if he is the prophesied one. Jesus says to tell him what they see and hear and says he is the one. He says there is no one on earth better than John the Baptist, but everyone in heaven is better than him.

ok, so everyone in heaven is awesome, got it.

"the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force"

Wait what? what does he mean by the kingdom of heaven? It clearly means something different than what I think it means. Who is invading heaven? What is going on here?

Jesus then calls this generation children

I think anyway, honestly, I have had trouble understanding this whole passage. Just the feel of the way it was written, it seems like there is a whole subtext I am missing or something.

Woe to Unrepentant Cities

Jesus complains that the cities he has been working in have not repented.

Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest

Jesus declared "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children"

Why is it a good thing to hide things from the wise?

Jesus says if you have a large burden come to me and I will give you rest.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Matthew 10

The Twelve Apostles

Jesus give authority over unclean spirits to his apostles and gave them the power to heal every disease and every affliction.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles

Jesus tells his Apostles to go out and heal and cast out demons and such as he has. He tells them not to acquire gold or other items in their journey but to spread your peace to those who are worthy. If anyone won't receive you, the day of judgement will be worse for them than for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah.

That ending seems harsh.

Persecution Will Come

You will be persecuted, be prepared

This makes sense, as he is sending them into places with different beliefs than the ones he is spreading.

Have No Fear

Don't fear those who will persecute you. Repeat my teachings. Do not fear those who can kill the body but not the soul. If you acknowledge me before men I will acknowledge you before God. If you deny me I will deny you.

Don't worry about this life, the next one is the one that matters. A compelling message if you believe in  the afterlife I suppose. As someone who doesn't, it just looks like a really effective way to manipulate people.

Not Peace, but a Sword

Do not think I have come to bring peace to the Earth. I have come to set family members against one another.  A person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves their father, mother, son, or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

WTF! What happened to turn the other cheek? Also, why pit family against each other. I find this section horrible and baffling. 


If someone helps one of my prophets it is like helping me and they will be rewarded.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Matthew 9

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

Jesus goes to a paralytic and tells him that his sins are forgiven. Some nearby scribes say to themselves that he is blaspheming and Jesus reads their minds and says they have evil in their hearts for thinking that. He then tells the paralytic to get up and go home. When he did, everyone was afraid and they glorified God.

Why was Jesus so hard on the scribes. To them he's just some guy right? If anyone else had done the same thing it would be blasphemy right? 
I'm also not a fan of making it seem like the paralytic is at fault for being paralyzed. Would people who have been in an accident or something read this and think it is their fault? I just don't like that message.

Jesus Call Matthew

Jesus recruits Matthew. Then he sits (along with his disciples) with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees asked him why they are sitting with bad people. He said he is not there for the righteous, but for sinners

My first thought was that this is a good message, "don't be a dick to your enemies" or something like that. But then I was thinking, this could be a reason for people to go out and try to convert non-believers, which I'm not necessarily a fan of. Don't get me wrong, I like discussing religion with people, but I don't care for being preached at.

A Question About Fasting

The disciples of John asked Jesus why they fast but Jesus and his disciples do not. Jesus says some confusing (to me) stuff that I think boils down to, "we will start fasting once some big event happens".

I think his analogies would make more sense if I understood the purpose of fasting in the first place. Since I don't it was a little lost on me.

A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed

A ruler came to Jesus and asked if he could revive his daughter who just died. Jesus went with him and said that the daughter was just sleeping. Everyone laughed at him, but then Jesus woke the girl up and everyone was amazed. Also, on the way to the ruler's house, a woman who wanted a healing touched Jesus' clothes and said that she would be healed by simply touching his clothes. Jesus said her faith made her well and she was cured.

Her faith made her well. This is the kind of garbage that makes people believe in things like "The Secret"

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

Two blind men come up to Jesus and ask to be healed. He says they are healed because of their faith. Jesus then told them to not tell anyone what happened, but they went and spread his fame around anyway.

Again, they are healed because of faith. Also, he asked them to be quiet about it but they go and tell everyone. Is there going to be a repercussion for that or is this going to be the last we hear about it?

Jesus Heals a Man Unable to Speak

There was a man who was mute because he was possessed by a demon. Jesus cast out the demon then the and the man was no longer mute. The Pharisees said "he cast out demons by the prince of demons."

More healing, more demons

The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few

After going around and healing, there was a large crowd following Jesus around. He felt sorry for them because they were "like sheep without a shepherd". He said to his disciples to pray earnestly to the Lord to send out laborers to his harvest.

Calling his own followers sheep without a shepherd sounds like and insult to me. I think I don't understand this passage.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Matthew 8

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

A leper comes to Jesus and asks to be cleansed. Jesus cures his leprosy and tells him to say nothing to anyone but show yourself to a priest and "offer the gift that Moses commanded"

-I don't know what the gift that Moses commanded is.

The Faith of a Centurion

A Centurion comes up to Jesus and asks him to heal his paralyzed servant. Jesus says he'll come to his house and the Centurion says no, I am not worthy to have you in my house. He asks Jesus to heal from a distance and he does

Jesus Heals Many

Jesus healed a bunch of people of demon possessions to fulfill a prophecy

The Cost of Following Jesus

-I don't understand this section at all. 

Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side.

-The other side of what? [edit: from verse 28 it looks like the other side is to a different country]

A scribe tells Jesus he will follow him anywhere and Jesus replies "Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head"

-I don't understand this either

Another disciple says he wants to bury his father first and Jesus says to let the dead bury their own dead

-Again, I don't know what this means

Jesus Calms a Storm

Jesus was on a boat. While he was asleep a great storm came up and endangered the boat. His disciples on board woke him frantically. He calmed them down then calmed the storm down so the boat was safe.

Jesus Heals Two Men with Demons

Jesus and his followers came to the country of the Gadarenes. Two demon possessed men came up to him and asked him to cast them out into a herd of pigs. When he did this, the pigs drowned themselves. The people from the city heard of this and asked Jesus to leave.

So the demons saw Jesus and asked him to cast them into pigs so they could kill themselves? Is the point that Jesus is so scary to demons that they want to commit suicide? Odd story

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Matthew 7

Judging Others

Don't judge others or they will judge you. Don't criticize others when you have the same problem but worse. first solve the problem about yourself and you will be in a better position to do the same for your brother.

This is just good advice. I like it.

Ask, and it Will Be Given

Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, etc.

So no one ever seeks and fails to find anything. I disagree

The Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This is also good. We'd live in a better world if everyone did this.

A Tree and Its Fruit

False prophets look good from the outside but inside are bad. You will recognize them from their fruit. Every tree that bears bad fruit should be thrown into the fire.

Sounds like good advice. Makes me think of Peter Popoff

I Never Knew You

Many who called Jesus "Lord" will not get into heaven. They will say they did many works in his name, but Jesus will reply that he didn't know them, so they should leave.

I guess this is saying doing the things Jesus wants you to do is not enough. Is this the origin of the whole "personal relationship with Christ" thing?

Build Your House on the Rock

If you listen to Jesus and follow his words it is like building your house on a rock, if you don't it's like building your house on shifting sands.

The Authority of Jesus

Everyone was astonished when Jesus finished as he was speaking with authority, not as the scribes.

I gotta say, I'm not really that impressed with the sermon on the mount. Some good stuff, some bad stuff, some confusing stuff, and some contradictory stuff.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Matthew 6

Giving to the Needy

Don't give to the needy to be seen by other people. Do it in secret and be rewarded in heaven.

While it is nice to not make a spectacle of your good deeds, this does seem to go against the whole "let your light shine" thing.

The Lord's Prayer

Don't pray in the open to be seen by others, but instead pray in secret and the Father will reward you.

Again, I don't see how anyone could reconcile this with "let your light shine"


When you fast try to give the appearance that you are not fasting. If you are seen fasting by others you have already gotten your reward

Same as above

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

Don't focus on treasures on Earth, but rather focus on treasures in heaven. You cannot serve God and money, it has to be one or the other.

A general anti-greed message. Sounds good to me.

Do Not Be Anxious

Don't worry about tomorrow. Don't worry about what you will eat, drink or wear. God will provide as he provides for various wildlife.

I understand telling people to not be overly stressed out, but it sounds like it is saying to not plan at all. This seems like horribly irresponsible advise. I wonder what he would say to anyone who has ever gone hungry.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Matthew 5

The Sermon on the Mount

Jesus sees some big crowds so he starts preaching.

The Beatitudes

Blessed are lots of people.
Blessed are those who are persecuted.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is in heaven.

Don't think I like the message "be happy to deal with bad stuff now, heaven will be awesome"

Salt and Light

You are the salt of the earth. If salt has lost it's taste it is no good, throw it out.


Let your light shine like a lamp. don't hide it, let other's see your good works and give glory to God.

Alright, I like this. Do good, show others. You can lead by example. Good stuff.

Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

I do not come to abolish the law but to fulfill them. Don't even bend the rules of  the least of the commandments.

Wow, so in pretty clear terms he says that you must continue to follow the old testament, every bit of it. So what is the deal with people saying "that's old testament" to some verses?

Also, I'm not sure what it means to "fulfill" the law. Is he just saying he fulfilled the prophecies from the old testament? He seems to be saying more than "I'm following the law, and you should too", but I don't know what it means exactly


You have heard that murderers are liable to judgement, I say everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement.

Wow, did Jesus just equate murder and anger? Can I assume he is speaking with hyperbole here?

"Whoever says 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire

Same question. If we are to take this literally it's just crazy. Is he seriously saying that by being angry and getting in an argument with someone you deserve hell?

If you are offering your gift at an alter and you remember that you are and brother have a problem, deal with your brother first, then come back and give your offering

Ok, this seems pretty good. Make sure you are on good terms with your brother first. If I wanted to interpret this broadly I might say the message should be family should have high priority, or I might interpret brother broadly and say community is important. Either way the message here seems good to me.

Come to terms quickly with your accuser before going to court, otherwise you could go to prison.

Seems good too I suppose. Dealing with each other directly rather than using the courts when possible always seems like a good idea to me. This is a guess, but I think the people he is talking to might be in a hostile court system and they don't think they can get a fair trial (think Muslim's in America's court system today)


"I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart"

My first thought on this is that it is awful. Simply having lust should be ok, until you act it shouldn't matter.
Then I was thinking about the meaning of the word intent. Perhaps this isn't saying simply having lustful thoughts, but that you actually decide to do something about it. Even if you wind up not going through with it in the end. Even this I disagree with though, shouldn't the thing that matters be that he didn't do it?
One last thought here, what about dating in general. doesn't all dating have lustful intent behind it? Even if you save yourself for marriage, I'm sure there is 'lustful intent' throughout the entire dating process.

If your eye or hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.

Well at least this proves he speaks with hyperbole. It makes me wonder if there are other things he says that are supposed to be hyperbole that are not taken that way due to 2000 years of culture change.


Don't get divorced, if you do you are committing adultery

Jesus doesn't like divorce. got it.


Don't take any oaths, even for heaven

I don't understand this section. It sounds like he is referring to some specific oath or something, I dunno.


Forget about eye for an eye, instead turn the other cheek. Give to beggars and let people borrow your stuff.

Seems good as a general philosophy, although if you follow it too much you are asking to be taken advantage of.

Love your Enemies

Everyone can love those who love them. You should love your enemies too.

Sounds great to me. Makes you wonder how holy wars can happen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Matthew 4

The Temptation of Jesus

In this chapter the devil is tempting Jesus. Jesus went into the wilderness to fast for forty days and nights. The devil tells him if he is the son of god he should turn the rocks into bread to eat. He responds by saying "man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of god"

I guess the message here is that the word of god is as important as food, even when starving. I do find it interesting that the temptation involves Jesus creating food to eat. Is there also a message here about abusing power? Would the story still work if he had come across some natural food in the wilderness? What if he came across something like manna, which is apparently from God?

Satan then takes him to a high spot and tells Jesus to jump to try and kill himself and god will have his angels save his life. Jesus says he will not put god to the test.

So we are not supposed to test God. 

Satan then took Jesus to a high mountain to see "all the kingdoms of the world" and tells Jesus "All these I will give you if you fall down and worship me". Jesus replies that he will only worship God, and Satan leaves.

I guess the message here is to only worship God and no one else, even if you are promised good things. This is an odd temptation though. Jesus knows he is the son of God (If there was any doubt it should have been removed during the baptism last chapter), so why would he ever worship Satan? 

Jesus Begins His Ministry

John was arrested so he started preaching in his place. He also traveled around which fulfilled some prophecy. He preached that "The kingdom of heaven is at hand"

The way this is written is strange. I can't help but feel there is something more here than I understand. It seems like there is some shoehorning in of prophecy stuff. Also, it sounds like Jesus is preaching doomsday stuff, shouldn't that fall flat 2000 years later. Do people instead interpret it to be talking about going to heaven after you die?

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

Jesus goes up to some fishermen and get them to quit what they are doing and follow him instead. Simon (who is called Peter), Andrew, James, and John.

Doesn't seem like there is much to see here, but I have a few comments. Why "Simon (who is called Peter)"? Why not just "Peter"? 
Also, James and John left their father in the fishing boat to follow Jesus without a second thought apparently. "Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him". This seems like a bad thing to me.

Jesus Ministers to Great Crowds

Jesus went around preaching and healing, even people with demonic possession and paralysis. His fame grew far and wide

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Matthew 3

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

John the Baptist is a preacher who seems to be preaching about end times "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". People come from all around to get baptized by him. When the Pharisees and Sadducees come to get baptized he calls them a "brood of vipers". He baptizes them and says they need to repent and "bear fruit" or he who comes after me will "baptize you with the holy spirit and fire".

So if I am reading this right, basically john the baptist goes ahead and baptizes anyone who comes along, but warns them if they don't shape up they are going to hell. He's the original fire and brimstone preacher then?

The Baptism of Jesus

Jesus goes to get baptized by John, John says it should go the other way around, but Jesus insists. Jesus gets baptized and the spirit of god descends to him from heaven. A voice from heaven vet's Jesus as the son of God.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Matthew 1 and 2

Matthew 1.

The Geneaoogy of Jesus Christ

Keeping track of lineage. 42 generations from abraham to christ with 2 stops in the middle for symmetry I guess. I guess someone might care about such things

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Mary & Joseph get engaged, then it turns out Mary is pregnant and Joseph is going divorce her. An angel tells him in a dream that she is pregnant from the holy spirit, so he decides to marry her. They don’t have sex until after she gives birth to Jesus.

-It seems strange to me that the angel would visit Joseph in a dream. How can he tell whether it is really an angel manipulating his dreams or simply a normal dream?

Matthew 2.

The Visit of the Wise Men

Wise men follow a star to worship jesus as he will be king of the Jews. King Herod got wind of this and was worried. He told the wise men to tell him when they find Jesus so he can also come worship. The wise men continue on, find jesus, give him gifts and worshipped him. They are warned by an angel in a dream not to return to Herod so they went back home on a different path.

-Another dream communication by angels, *shrug*.

The Flight to Egypt

An angel appears to Joseph in a dream again, and tells him to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt because Herod is going to try to kill Jesus. They stay in Egypt until Herod dies. This fulfils the prophecy “Out of Egypt I called my son”

-I wonder if Joseph was aware of that prophecy. He might have been thinking about it before he went to sleep.

Herod Kills the Children

Herod learns that he was tricked by the wise men and orders the killing of all male children in Bethlehem 2 years and younger. Another prophecy is fulfilled.

-I don’t think I really understand this passage. I don’t get how he was tricked, did he know Jesus was gone or just that the wise men didn’t return? If he knew Jesus was gone he wouldn’t have to kill the children like he did. Also, if he was willing to kill all the male children in Bethlehem why wait until now? He knew it was Bethlehem before according to verse 2:5

The Return to Nazareth

When Herod died, an angel told Joseph in a dream to go to the land of Israel. Herod’s son was ruling there so Joseph went to Nazareth instead because he was warned in another dream. This fulfilled another prophecy.

-It sounds like whoever is writing this is just trying to justify some old prophecy. I suppose an alternate interpretation would simply be that the author is trying to track the prophecy being fulfilled.

Why did I start this blog?

It all started when I was thinking about what is really in the bible. Christians pick verses that point out the good things in the bible and atheists pick verses that point out the bad things in the bible. Then they both accuse each other of things such as cherry picking and taking things out of context.

I have read a verse here and there, I have read passages recommended to me or referenced from various places, but I have never really just read the bible. So that is what I am going to do. Read a bit, post a summary in my own words, then comment on it. My goal is to be neither mean nor nice. I will point out the things I think are good, the things I think are bad, and things I think are just confusing.

I decided to start with the new testament. Why? I'm not really sure. I guess I wanted to avoid the whole "that's just old testament" thing. Also, I have heard from some people that some of the early books in the old testament are pretty boring. But fear not! If this thing goes well and I have fun doing it I will most likely go back and do old testament later.

In the unlikely event that someone other than me is reading this, welcome aboard.
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