While slogging through some of the reading for my Greek Exegesis class, a point was made regarding the fact that parts of our Scripture are more useful or easily applicable to our lives and thought.
My mind quickly followed the rabbit down his trail and I eventually asked myself which five books of the Bible I would keep if I were in some hypothetical scenario in which I were presented with such a choice. As I ran through the options in my mind, I quickly came up with the five that I would not be without. It was interesting to realize how quickly I came up with them, and how I was not able to come up with any arguments that would overthrow my previous choices.
I’d be very interested to hear which five books of the Bible you would choose to keep if you were forced to make the decision, and why.
This thought experiment brings up the idea of a canon within the Canon. This phrase refers to the fact that, whether we are aware of it or not, we all tend to emphasize and attach more worth to certain books of the Bible than others. This is a natural thing based on the diversity within Scripture and the diversity of its readers, but it is also a very dangerous thing. If we do indeed believe that ALL Scripture is God-breathed, and useful, etc. we must fight the temptation to spend all our time in our favorite books and ignore those which are less exciting, less clear, or more convicting. Of course different books have different purposes and different strengths, and I’m not suggesting a wooden application such that each book of the Bible receive equal time in the pulpit or in personal study, but most of us tend to pay undue attention to some books at the expense of others (and our own knowledge and edification!).
By considering this question and how you answer it, I hope you’ll end up with some food for thought regarding the way you think about the Bible and the way you value its different books.
I think I will wait to share my list until a few of you have shared yours, if any of you do.