Monday, May 08, 2006

61 will do

OK, here's a question you're welcome to either have fun with, or, if you prefer, take seriously. Earlier this year my housemate asked: If God had only revealed five books of the Bible, which ones would we want them to be? (A variant on this would be to name which five books you would take to a desert island for the rest of your life.) It's quite an interesting exercise, and I recommend trying it sometime, but here I want to put a twist on it and pose another question instead:

Given the opportunity, which five books of the Bible would you cut, and why? The idea here is that God would not have revealed (or however you interpret inspiration) these five books at all, and we would have no notion of their content, unless it is material also found elsewhere. You have to pick exactly five (no more, no less), and you can't just drop parts of a book either (e.g., 1 Timothy 2, or that psalm about bashing babies' heads).

I could see this going two different directions. The first is if you really like all the books of Scripture, and would have to concede which ones to give up. The other, of course, is if you have a canonical bone to pick and really want something gone. Or you could do some of each.

And just to keep things interesting for those taking the first option, the books that are really short, largely redundant, or no one ever reads (let's say 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Obadiah, Nahum, 2-3 John, and Jude) are already out, so you have to pick something else.

As your resident stalwart defender of Scripture, I will of course do my best to challenge everyone's picks.