Friday, October 9, 2015

The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs

 I wanted to read this book to get a different perspective. I appreciate that Jacobs took a reverent approach to studying the laws of the Bible and attempting to live them out in our modern society.  His thoughts and research helped me think about my faith in new ways.  I was disappointed that he gave much of it up at the end of the year. As a writer, I was also disappointed that he took everything literally, rather than using his knowledge of the different types of writing to actually understand the Bible.  The most helpful books I have read on biblical interpretation focus on ensuring we understand the bible as those hearing it would have understood it, taking into account aspects of prophetic, poetic, narrative, and apocalyptic literature.  It is also important to understand the Bible as a whole and how all the parts fit together.  Jacobs' focus on individual passages does not do justice to the big picture.  He also largely glossed over Jesus and the New Testament.  I felt there were some assumptions made about the knowledge of the reader on the topic and there were definitely barriers for him as someone coming from a Jewish background. He did not allow himself to fully embrace the Bible in its entirety.  Still, this was an enlightening read for me on a topic close to my heart (the Bible).