Better Bible Reading Through Flowcharts

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It’s been a whole summer since the last time I wrote to you. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and a lot of writing, but not a whole lot of posting. I’m going to fix that starting this Friday—stay tuned for my plan to shift gears for October.

Recently on VerseNotes

Two New Ways to Read Psalm 136

I try to approach Scripture with “beginner’s mind.” In particular, I try not to assume I know what’s going on in any particular passage. So when I come across something interesting, sometimes I have to look at it a few different ways before it starts making sense. For example, when I noticed that the tribes of Israel weren’t always the same, I charted every instance in Scripture to see what was going on. This time, I saw a clear pattern in Psalms 136, and I wanted to draw it all the way out.

Delight in the Details

Each newsletter, I’m going to highlight a little detail I’ve enjoyed. Recently, I’ve been enamored with what I’m calling “Very Minor Prophets”: the ones who show up in Scripture, but don’t get their own books.

Micaiah the Prophet once stood up to four hundred alleged prophets who claimed to speak for God. When King Jehoshaphat of Judah and King Ahab of Israel want to go to war against Syria, Jehoshaphat insists on asking the prophets first. Ahab calls together his stable of prophets—all four hundred of them—and they prophesy with one voice in favor of the kings’ plan.

Jehoshaphat somehow discerns that something’s not quite right. Ahab reluctantly admits there’s another prophet, Micaiah, but Ahab left him out because he never had anything nice to say about Ahab. Jehoshaphat wants to hear from him.

Micaiah shows up and agrees with the others, but Ahab can tell he’s being mocked and insists Micaiah tell the truth. So Micaiah does: if Israel and Judah go to war with Syria, they will be defeated, and Ahab will die.

The other prophets are shocked! They believed they had the word of God. Micaiah explains that God was deliberately misleading them to defeat Ahab.

The kings go to war anyway, and they are indeed defeated. Ahab is killed by a stray arrow, fulfilling Micaiah’s prophecy.