A cruel, mean-spirited thought entered my mind this morning. It was so heartbreaking I just had to share it with you.
What if, in some bizarro Rod Serling moment, you were marooned on an island. You had plenty of supplies to live out your life to a long old age, so food, water, and shelter were not problem. The problem was in this nightmarish world you could only choose five of the books in the Bible to have with you. It is a similar conundrum to the ubiquitous “” where you’re stranded and can only have five albums of music.
Told another way–perhaps you’re stuck in a bleak story, something like Fahrenheit 451, and you can only have five books of the Bible because that is all you can safely hide from the book police.
Which five would you take? It is heartbreaking because the whole Bible is precious, a “perfect treasure” that is linked to my very being. So which ones? If I had to make such a choice, here is what they would be.
- Psalms. Without a doubt, if I’m on a desert island, I’m gonna need Psalms–all 150 of them.
- Isaiah. It was close between Jeremiah and Isaiah, but in the end I decided the poetics of Isaiah would be helpful in my exile.
- Exodus. I can’t have both Genesis and Exodus, and while Genesis is a great book, I think I’d take Exodus because it contains the great deliverance story of Israel, the decalogue, and a lot of other spiritual data.
Luke. John. Luke. John. See, this one is tough. Of the synoptics, Luke is the easy choice, but choosing between Luke and John, now that is hard. I need a gospel on this island, and in the end I chose John simply because of the devotional, meditative quality of the material.
- Romans. Of course it is Romans. Romans contains such dense theological material and it is littered with many scripture quotations (which gives me insight into other books I couldn’t choose) all of which allows me plenty to chew on on this imaginary island.
I sure hope I never have to make this choice. I would be interested to know what choices you would make?
6 responses to “DESERT ISLAND DEVOTION”
G.K. Chesterton and several other literary figures were once asked what book they would prefer to have with them if they were stranded on a desert island.
“The complete works of Shakespeare,” said one writer without hesitation.
“I choose the Bible,” said another.
“How about you?” they asked Chesterton.
“I would choose Thomas’ Guide to Practical Shipbuilding,” replied Chesterton
I would go along with those you chose except I would take revelations instead of exodus…..I like to know what is coming…….
thanks jan for commenting, and for adding some irony, because when john wrote revelation he was literally in exile on an island.
If we really wanted to make this scenario cruel and mean-spirited, we’d also forbid you from having a pen or any other instrument for marking up your five books, hardy har.
that would certainly be cruel, as it would not only limit my reading, but it would cut into my bona fide pedantry.
(1). Psalms. (2). John. (3). Philippians. (4). James. (5). Romans.