What to read first?

I picked up my copy of Love Wins today and am anxious to get started. Just one small hangup.

For Lent, my wife and I committed to read through the New Testament using The Books of the Bible — a new edition that strips out chapter and verse numbers, highlights the natural section breaks in each book, and puts the books in a different order. (I happen to work for the organization that publishes The Books of the Bible, but I didn’t have anything to do with its development. That was done by people who are way more talented than me.)

So here’s the thing. I haven’t done my NT reading yet today. And I’m thinking I should before I start on Rob Bell’s new book. And I’m cool with that.

This is not some self-congratulatory, superficial spirituality, I promise. Truth be told, I’ve never been as good a Bible reader as I’d like (ironic for someone who’s spent much of his professional life dealing with the Bible in varying capacities).

It has nothing to do with me. It’s just The Books of the Bible really is that good. Reading whole books minus all the artificial additives, seeing what the original writers wanted us to see, focusing on the sweeping drama rather than madly trying to dissect sound bites… to use a well-worn cliche, it makes the Bible come alive.

So tonight, I plan on reading Love Wins. (If I can grab our copy before my wife does. I’m in trouble, because I think she’s already done her NT reading for the day.) But only after I read The Books of the Bible.


Side note: I figured that while I’m reading through the New Testament, I might as well make note of every mention of hell, judgment, or salvation in some way. Will see if anything worth posting comes out of this exercise…


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