The Year of Living Biblically – A.J. Jacobs
For everyone that’s new to our community, every once in a while, I’ll fill you in on what I’ve been reading. Today I’m going to tell you about a book I finished recently called, “The Year of Living Biblically” by A.J. Jacobs. Jacobs writes in the form of a memoir. He chooses unique experiences, lives them out, and writes about them. His first book was about reading through the encyclopedia. But this book is about exactly what the title says. He chose to live by the BIble, word for word, for a year. Now this is more complicated than it sounds. To start with, Jacobs is Jewish, but even he confesses that is really just by heritage alone. It is not a belief he holds on to. Additionally, he does not merely follow the parts that are popular or what we have decided is culturally relevant. He attempts to follow every verse, every command of the Bible. And in doing so, he shows us how much of it we skip. We actually obey a very small part of the Bible. I enjoyed this book a ton. Jacobs made me laugh out loud multiple times. That can be embarrassing on a plane. But it was so enlightening to see the Word of God, which we believe to be alive and active, actually applied directly to a life. It was a book that both entertained and challenged. Now this isn’t CS Lewis or Josh McDowell. It doesn’t end with him becoming a Christian. It is the record of a year when a non-believer tried to walk out the Bible. It details his successes and struggles, his insights and confusion. I really liked it.
25 thoughts on “What’s On The Shelf”
Interesting that you posted about this today. I was looking at that book in Borders just yesterday and considering giving it a read. I’ll have to look for it at the library.
Sounds like a good read. Try “Blue Like Jazz” by Don Miller
I heard about this guy watching the news. I thought the stoy by products were quite humerous. I guess the sad part as I reflect on what you mentioned is that in living out the Bible (Old testament Torah ) did A.J. find a meaningful relationship with God? Did he work out the entire journey and miss it’s meaning? No different then attending church for 20 years and never meet the Lord either.
I’ve heard of this book, it sounds interesting! I’m currently reading anything by Ted Dekker that I can get my hands on. 🙂
Have you ever seen Shelfari? It’s a neat website that lets you share what you’re reading on your blog and whatnot.
BTW, I saw the further question you asked to respond with whatever you’re reading. I am currently reading Inside the Revolution by Joel Rosenberg which provides and insightful look into the Islamic Revolution past and present. I am also reading Living Waters by Pastor Chuck Smith concerning the Holy Spirit (Awesome read) and His importance in the Trinity and the Holy spirits utmost importance in our lives.
I’ve heard about it, sounds like an interesting read. Right now, I’m reading “Beyond Opinion – Living the Faith We Defend” by Ravi Zacharias.
Of course one of my favorite authors is Ted Dekker.
But recently I have been reading a few books by Stephen R. Lawhead. He writes Chrsitian Celtic (King Arthur, Robin Hood) fiction.
I am currently writing my own Christian love story novel. Be patient. I am hoping to finish it by the end of the year.
But when I am asked, my favorite book is the Bible.
Sounds like an interesting read…I’ll look for it next time I’m at Borders. I’m reading Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos, which is kind of a sequel to Love Walked In. These books are written for a secular market, but I’d recommend them to just about anyone who wanted to try and understand life and hardship from another person’s point of view.
I noticed this book when it first came out and played around with reading it…looks like I should pick it up.
I agree with all of you. It’s desperately sad that AJ Jacobs lived the whole year examining the Law and never did experience God…nonetheless, it was a very funny, funny book. I think it can also help us to reflect on the things of our faith that have become rote and dry without the love of Christ filling them up.
If you liked A Year of Living Biblically, you’d likely also enjoy a book by his protege… The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University by Kevin Roose. College student, Kevin Roose, who worked as Jacob’s intern in “Living Biblically” spent a semester at Liberty Univ. Funny insights and observations.
Blessings to all of you!
I’m reading the Left Behind series at the moment. Being a relatively new Christian, it’s getting me fired up to share with others. Being my birthday today (shameless plug!) any cash I get will prob find it’s way to Koorong Books…anyone suggest any good books about apostle Paul?…He sounds like an interesting guy….
I’m reading “The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind” by Bill Johnson. It’s s great book but it’s causing me to realize just how much I struggle with unbelief. I will be chewing on this one for awhile. The Jacobs book sounds really interesting…I will have to put this on my must read list.
I just read CS Lewis’ “Til We Have Faces”. I can’t even begin to describe the effect it has had on me. I think everyone is of the agreement that this man was a genius, but this particular book goes even beyond that. I recommend to everyone.
I read this book about a year ago. I also laughed out loud in many parts, especially his recounting of a time when he and his wife had a disagreement and she “retaliated” by sitting on all the chairs in the house (if anyone has read the book they’ll know what I’m talkn about, if you haven’t please read it). Even now I have to chuckle. It is sad that he didn’t find Christ through his experience. But maybe it just leads to further discussion that one cannot “experience” God by following rituals, but simply by faith and how we express our faith follows. HMMM?
I will have to check this book out, sounds like a good read. Just finished a Don Miller book searching for god knows what. Would recommend all of his books, start with Blue Like Jazz. I have just started to read again the Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. Really good book, showed me a different Jesus as opposed to the Sunday School Jesus learned as child growing up in a small conservative church.
That sounds interesting. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it may find its way onto the “to read” list, once the semester ends. The one Joy is reading is going on the list too.
It’s unlikely that you or anyone else here would find my recent reads very interesting, but since you asked…
Right now I’m in the middle of “Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark Levin. This one already has lots of sticky flags in it. (because Mo scolds me for marking up my books)
I’ve also been reading “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith. It’s an old one, but the principles are good. It’s just that it’s old enough that I need to be fully awake to get all of the older language.
The last book I’ve completed is “The Associate” by John Grisham. It was good! And it’s nice to throw a novel in there from time to time. It gives the brain a rest. Unless it’s one of those Dekker ones; those never give my brain rest. They make me think, and they usually scare me….at least for a bit.
And, to prevent me from sounding like some kind of heretic, I’ve been listening to the gospels at work. 😉
That book sounds interesting. I just finished reading “The God Cookie” by Geoffrey Wood, and I really liked it. It was an easy read, and one that I would recommend. Ultimately it’s a fictional story about this guy who believes God has spoken to him through the message in a fortune cookie, and the implications of him being obedient. One of the most poignant remarks in the book was when the guy said something about God speaking to us when we are willing to put “all the chips in”. Maybe we’re not hearing from God because he’s waiting for us to do more than dip our toes in the water. I’m even thinking about rereading it – which is something I rarely do – so I can focus more on that obedience message in it.
I always enjoy your posts…and love your music. I’m reading 3 books right now, because one is never enough! I’m reading Not on Our Watch by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast (I got it at the Holocaust Museum in D.C. a couple of weeks ago.), A Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns (He says,”For the first time in the history of the human race, we have the awareness, the access and the ability to reach out to our most desperate neighbors around the world. The programs, tools, and technologies to virtually eliminate the most extreme kinds of poverty and suffering in our world are now available. This is truly good news for the poor — but only if we do our part.”) and Intuitive Leadership by Tim Keel. They are all three very powerful and convicting, really.
a book i’ve always wanted to read, but not high enough on my list to buy.
right now i’m working through “breaking the missional code” by ed stetzer, “surprised by hope” by n.t. wright, and “the bondage of the will” by martin luther. unfortunately, though, all of those are on the back burner in leiu of “elementary statistics” by mario triola, a requirement for my summer class.
one of my favorite books that i’ve read this year was “the shaping of things to come” by frost and hirsch. a must read for thinkers who have a passion for ecclessiology and reaching those in their “glocal” context, which i know includes you.
I read some of A.J. Jacobs’ essays in one of my classes last semester–unique voice in his writing. Maybe someday (that elusive someday) I’ll have the time to read his book!
Books I’m reading right now: (working them in around required reading for summer classes)
The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight-Rethinking how you read the Bible
Jesus Just Wants to Save Christians by Rob Bell
In a Pit With A Lion on A Snowy Day-Mark Batterson.
All three books are forcing me to think–the best kind of books. 🙂
Sounds good. Going to the library today! I am currently reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Excellent.
I read that book last year as my “man this is a long flight from NY to Vegas” book Great read… It really made me think what a completely different world we live in now. What would the Bible be like if God and Jesus decided that now was the time for the Bible to take place. What would I do if I saw a burning bush today. I’m grabbing the fire extinguisher and trying to put it out.. when the bush says “uhhh. no.. it’s me… God.. let’s talk” Thats when I freak out.. And if some stranger comes up to me and says get away from your desk and follow me, I’m probably calling the cops, cause I keep my office locked and I have no idea how He got in… The rules of long ago are fascinating and sometimes moving in their beauty and symbolism…. but it’s sad that we can’t all relate to God on that basic level… I know it’s wrong to want to live my life the way I want to live my life…. than I wonder if God has made this life for me to live and as such I am actually living my life per His plan… hmmmm
On my bookstand right now – Tony Dungy – Quiet Strength
A.J. Jacobs book mentioned here is one I have on my list of books to read. I had flipped through the pages, and my mind was filled with questions about how God wants us to live today, under grace and not the law. I know it is good to teach the law, but that no one can completely obey it and we all need grace. However, if the law is good and the new testament confirms that we are to teach it, then, how much of it does it should be taught? We can now eat pork, so what are other exceptions? I am not about to stone any one for any sin they’ve done, I’m sure I’d be guilty for a sin just as great, if not greater. I know that the Holy Spirit leads and guides us, yet the Holy Spirit won’t guide against the Word, but what happens when I am not sure what the Word says or means?
I had more questions along this topic while I recently read “Bruchko” by Bruce Olson. His way of communication the gospel to indigenous tribes which included befriending the witchdoctor and suggesting the use modern medicine and prayer to Jesus, would doubtfully been approved by the Old Testament ways. In Panama I visited a village that had a witchdoctor and traditions based on spiritism, and the Christian’s and missionaries fully seperated themselves from the witchdoctor and considered the old ways too evil to bother with. Bruce Olson’s way proved to be effective, and seems to be along the lines of grace. Many Indian’s chose to “walk the trail of Jesus.” It was beautiful how the people came to understand Jesus Christ. For example, in writing the Bible in a way the Indian’s can relate, a phrase was used meaning “Jesus is our expectation.”
Anyway, those are some of my thoughts.
It figures that Tess and I would be reading the same book! I’m also in the middle of “Liberty and Tyranny”. It’s a must read.
“The Year of Living Biblically” sounds very interesting. I’ll add it to my wish list.
I wrote the name of the book down and will try to find it. I just finished book, “The Shack,”by William P. Young.I don’t know what the writer has written but for some reason the book jumped out at me. I found it very interesting. I laughed when there was a scene between the mourning father and Jesus on the dock. I hope it’s the way Jesus would’ve reacted. I feel often times we don’t put a relationship character to Jesus and it prohibits us from having truly personal relationship with him. I think I tend to stereotype God and don’t always think about Him loving me despite the fact that I don’t always live the way I “feel” I should. His love is unconditional, even when I think it’s not.