When you write on the Bible, one of the things that you should avoid, if you can, is flippancy. People tend to get riled up when you are flippant about Scripture because flippancy, gone bad, comes off more as “disrespectful” than “light and airy.” As a result, the flippant writer, even if unintentionally so, comes off as arrogant and “puffed up” (to use a good Pauline phrase from the Corinthian correspondence: Greek, physio – see how biblical this post is already?).But I love lists and everyone on the Internet gets to make lists, so why shouldn’t a biblical blogger have lists? (I do not believe this is an argument from authority or reason; it is more along the lines of “but everyone else is doing it.”) Initially, though, I do not want to create a list myself – greatest historical Jesus books of the last century (quake in anticipation, it is coming), best biblical movies, or top ten NT disciples – but a) to ask you what your favorite biblical book is and b) why (OT or NT, but only one). I know this can be an almost impossible task to choose only one out of many inspired texts, but keep in mind that choosing one book does not indicate a diminution of or rejection of the other books of the Bible. It is just an attempt to get a sense as to how a particular book has spoken to you, transformed you, guided you and challenged you.
This is my choice: The Gospel of Mark. I surprised myself by coming back to the Gospel of Mark, even as I tried out other options mentally, over and over. I love the dramatic simplicity of Mark and the constant focus on Jesus. Whenever I read it, I am constantly challenged to reaffirm my answer to the question, “who is Jesus?” and to consider it in new and deeper ways. I love the humanity of Jesus and the subtle way in which his divinity is revealed throughout the Gospel.
Think about it and then leave your choices in the comments section below.
P.S. I will send out a copy of one of my books to anyone who answers “Letter of Jude,” really, really means it and can give compelling reasons for this choice. This is not flippancy, by the way, just inquisitiveness.
John W. Martens