For lack of anything better, I’m starting a meme… but hopefully an interesting one that’s not too hard to handle. Rules are simple: name your favorite book of the Bible, and explain why. Link back here and tag 5-ish people. Jump in with a comment below if you don’t have a blog, or to point back to your entries.
Naturally, I’ll dive in first.
Favorite book: John’s Gospel.
I developed a love of the book in my senior year of Bible College, when I took the course in John taught by a part-time prof who was, incidentally, one of the “youth” way back when my parents were the youth leaders in the church where I grew up. But that part was long ago and not relevant to this discussion…
The thing that struck me was the many layers of meaning in John. He chooses words carefully to convey ideas, and structures his book using a plethora of chiasms, which I love to find and sort out. The fact that the book’s structure is not a matter of common agreement, nor even is the text or its source only adds to its layers. It used to be one of the first books that a new believer was instructed to read, though these days I’d point them to Mark instead. More action. For a gospel, John exhibits a very developed theology, more than the synoptics. Add to that the questions of authorship and about the Johannine Community and stages of redaction that the gospel underwent, and there is simply a lifetime of digging to be done in just this one book. Yet it’s written for the simplest of reasons, “that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing, you might have life through his name.” I love the juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity that the book represents to me.
Now, who shall I tag to kick this thing off? Let’s see…