Chapter 3: the Unknown Messenger

In this chapter, Oursler makes this statement: “In all his life Joseph had never been more than ten miles outside the town of Nazareth, and now, at last, he would behold the city and the Temple–a lifetime experience!” He’s talking about Jerusalem. But the problem with this is that, as far as I can recall, the Jews went to Jerusalem for the Passover every year, as Jesus did when he shared the Last Supper with his disciples. So Joseph would have been to the Temple lots of times. He took Jesus there himself when he was a child, and Jesus stayed there and worried his parents half to death. That’s probably coming up in this book eventually.

The second historical  inconsistency I’d like to make is only one paragraph after that, in which it says “Mary and Anna mounted rented donkeys.” This is a cultural picture that we have projected onto the time, not what is actually historically accurate. We have seen so many portrayals of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem where Mary is riding on a donkey and Joseph is leading it. That could well be true considering how heavily pregnant Mary was at the time, but it’s not the norm for that culture. Typically, the man would ride the donkey, and the woman would walk, because women were viewed as really very little more than animals at that time in history. Maybe it was different for humble townsfolk like those of Nazareth though.


Chapter 40: Why Must the Innocent Suffer?

It’s weird that the story of Job is so far back in Oursler’s book, since I thought it was general knowledge that it was one of the earliest stories in the Bible chronologically. But Ourlser puts it during the Babylonian captivity.

It was good of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar to sit with Job in silence those first seven days. That was a great symbol of friendship, to be there with him even if they couldn’t do anything to help him. But then they decided to open their mouths, and their “good friend” statuses declined pretty fast. They assumed that Job must have done something absolutely unforgivable to be stricken with so much suffering. They wanted him to confess a sin he hadn’t committed.

There’s no mention in Oursler’s book of the young man Elihu, which I think is a bit of a shame. He had wisdom of his own, but he was also respectful of his elders’ right to speak first. He has qualities that young people today could learn from.

Chapter 37: the Boy King

I really like Josiah. I think he’s probably one of my favorite kings, most likely because his story is really fanciful to me. I can’t help but imagine it in novel form. It kind of makes me want to write it in novel form. (Hmm…) I mean, an eight-year-old becoming king? And finding an ancient manuscript later on that ends up having a profound effect on the kingdom? That’s pretty awesome.

But then, when I read the story in the Bible, I can’t help but get the impression that Josiah was a tad bit… unstable. Maybe it’s just me, but the way he reacts to some things seem a bit irrational. Still, he was a good king and he did some pretty good things in his lifetime, which I consider to be commendable seeing as he didn’t have the wisdom of experience to help him make decisions. (He did probably have some experienced advisers though.)

I didn’t realize that Josiah was only 39 when he was killed in the Battle of Megiddo. It’s kind of a shame that he would die in battle, seeing as most of his reign was peaceful. Maybe war just wasn’t his thing.

“Balancing the Christian Life” – Charles C. Ryrie


, , , ,

This book was brought to my attention by one of my best friends, who was reading the book for a class at his Bible college. He told me that this was a book he would recommend all Christians to read, and so I, being a Christian and highly respectful of his judgment, bought the book and read it, and I must say I agree completely.

This book is full of well-researched information that is useful for Christians of all levels. A lot of Christian books you’ll find nowadays are focused on a certain subject or something and they are mostly the author talking about that subject, his thoughts and experiences on it, with a few Bible verses to back him up. But “Balancing the Christian Life” is much more of a study book than an author trying to make a point. It’s covered with Bible references throughout the text that indicate the point Ryrie is trying to get across. Ryrie certainly did his homework and he makes it show, and as far as I can tell he doesn’t let his opinions influence the truth. Of course, any study of the Bible is according to one’s perspective of what they are reading, but Ryrie seems to really try to get to the truth of what the Bible is saying, and that is something I find admirable. He does use a few examples from his own life to help him explain some of the points, but they’re not written in a way that makes you think he added it in just to talk about himself.

Despite the lack of some commas that would have been very grammatically helpful, the occasional typo, and a generally boring font, I found this to be a very interesting and useful read, one I will probably come back to several times for study help alongside my Bible. Like my wise friend, I recommend it to every Christian for guidance in living a spiritual life.