In Thursday Bible Study we started looking at the Book of Ephesians. One of the things that I told that group was that Ephesians is probably my interpretive lens on Scripture. And I fumbled around trying to explain that. What I mean by that is when any big question comes up, or any piece of scripture I can’t understand, or probably more likely the words that I reach for to help me explain life, the universe and everything the words and the book that I find myself in is Ephesians. The only other book in the running would be Hebrews. Those two things would probably explain a lot about me. I’m pretty sure most of the Protestant world operates from Romans. The Roman Catholic world in my experience seems to operate from the Gospel of John So, teaching Ephesians in a group will be exciting to me because it will be core stuff that I will have to unfold instead of just accepting and it will be open for challenge.
While the Bible is inspired and you can spend a life pondering, there are a bunch of other works that might be part of the mental matrix. Dr. McKnight listed his top 5 and asked about his readers. My top five books outside of scripture that have influenced me –
1. Odyssey/Iliad – Homer
2. Freedom of a Christian – Luther
3. Epitome of the Formula of Concord
4. Crime & Punishment – Dostoevsky (Or Fathers & Sons – Turgenev)
5. Romeo & Juliet – And yes, I’ll turn in my man card
Now there are a couple of big ones like: A Random Walk Down Wall Street or Pythagorean Geometry that are important but end up being utilitarian. Freedom of a Christian moves me, efficient markets I use, even if it deeply influences how I view the world it is about this world only. Faith, Hope and love remain, the greatest is love. Faith and hope are this world only, love transcends.
It also leaves off poetry. Sigh, no W. H. Auden. Truth and Beauty. The list seems to ask for truth over beauty.
What about you? What is in your top five?