I’ve become quite a fan of Michael S. Heiser’s work. Some books are heavily footnoted theological tomes that make my head hurt. Others are like a series of essays or articles, like the one I’ll review today. It answers the challenge that the Bible is boring.
Like Pastor Maury Davis said at our church, “That’s because you’re not reading it right.” Then he gave examples that made Pastor Rod uncomfortable.
You can watch it on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/j-S5Oiyge7E
Back to the book…
I Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible
“The Bible is filled with passages that are so baffling we tend to ignore them. Yet, the passages that seem weird might be the most important. This collection of essays from Bible Study Magazine will shock you, intrigue you, and completely change the way you view the Bible. Dr. Michael S. Heiser visits some of the Bible’s most obscure passages, unveiling their ancient context to help you interpret them today. Read this book, and you’ll never be bored by the Bible again.
Part One: Old Testament
The Ancient’s Guide to the Galaxy
Walk Like an Israelite
Even the Bible Needed Upgrading
Spellchecking the Bible
The Abandoned Child and the Basket Case
A Tale of Courage We Never Teach
Counting the Ten Commandments
Is There Really a Sin Offering?
There’s a Devil in the Details
Love Potion: Numbers 5
Is My Bible Right?
The Most Horrific Bible Story
Righting a Wrong
When Giants Walked the Earth
The Divine Arrow
1003 BC Census: Who Authorized It-God or Satan?
Cookin’ the Books
Slaying the Sea Monster
Does God Need a Co-Signer?
The Witness in the Clouds
Who Wrote the Book of Proverbs?
Immanuel’s Mother: Virgin or Not?
Standing in the Council
Jeremiah: Double Vision?
Why the Ark of the Covenant Will Never Be Found
He, Him, Me, Myself, and I
Bizarre Visions for the Worst of Times
Do the Dead Sea Scrolls Answer the Canon Question?
Part Two: New Testament
My Guardian Angel
The New Testament Misquotes the Old Testament?
“I Saw Satan Fall like Lightning”: When?
The Healing Serpent
Who Took Verse 4 out of My Bible?
What Walking on Water Really Means
Born Again … and Again and Again?
Dumbledore Meets Philip & Peter
Paul’s Lost Letters
Destiny & Destination
A Female Apostle
Signed, Sealed, and Delivered-to Satan?
Treason & Translation
Charlton Heston Had Company
When Abraham Met Jesus
How Many Times Is Jesus Coming Back?
What’s Jesus Waiting For?
God’s Right-Hand Woman? Wisdom in Hebrews
Baptism as Spiritual Warfare
Jesus Is God: Jude and Peter Tell Me So
When Angels Do Time
Jesus, God, a.k.a., The Name
666: What Theories Add Up?
Perspective Changes Everything
Constantine, Conspiracy, and the Canon”
I could end it here. I mean, look at the list above. You can’t tell me nothing catches your eye.
I’ll post quotes from the last one about Constantine.
“The notion that Constantine decided which books should constitute the New Testament springs from the ancient Life of Constantine by Eusebius of Caesarea (AD 263–339). Eusebius reports that in a letter written in AD 331, the emperor instructed him to … order fifty copies of the sacred Scriptures, the provision and use of which you know to be most needful for the instruction of the Church, to be written on prepared parchment in a legible manner, and in a convenient, portable form, by professional transcribers thoroughly practised in their art. This same Constantine had earlier convened the Council of Nicea (AD 325), famous for its focus on the full deity of Christ against Arianism, which taught that Jesus was a created being. Brown carelessly conflated the two events in The Da Vinci Code to put forth the preposterous idea that Constantine had decided at Nicea which books belonged in the New Testament. But can we be sure this didn’t happen? And if not, what exactly did Constantine demand in this letter? We can be certain that the Council of Nicea did not determine the books of the New Testament at Constantine’s request. The date of Eusebius’ correspondence tells us that Nicea did not consider the issue of the canon. Today, anyone can read the 20 decisions rendered at Nicea (coincidentally called “canons”).1 None of them concerns the New Testament Scriptures.”
“So what did Constantine want? During the first several centuries of the early Church, the issue of which books were to be considered sacred and authoritative was uncertain. Several early lists of sacred books have been recovered, as have records of rejected books. Constantine’s order brought the problem to a point of decision. Once the emperor commanded copies of the sacred books to be distributed, early church leaders were forced to produce the item that needed to be copied. The result was a minimalist consensus canon—books considered authoritative by the vast majority of Christian leaders throughout the empire. Books regularly disputed or already rejected were thus set aside in faith that the Holy Spirit had successfully enlightened His believing Church to reach consensus. We hold that consensus New Testament in our hands today.”
That’s not even the most exciting essay.
If you think the Bible is boring, I dare you to read the book. 5 Stars.