(Remember Bryan Allain? He wrote “The Seven Sports Myths Christians Like” and is a hilarious, insightful writer with a crazy handle on the sports world. Bill Simmons of ESPN.com is kind of like the non Christian version of Bryan Allain. At least that’s what I tell people when they ask me what Bryan’s writing style is. He was kind enough to throw another guest post our way. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.)
Billy Joel says he thinks of all the songs he has written as his children. Some grow up to be famous, and some don’t amount to much, but he loves them all the same. I sometimes wonder if God feels the same way about all 66 books of the Bible. Does He love quiet, unassuming Jude as much as he loves superstar John? Does He love Esther, even though she never mentions Him at all?
Most Christians see nothing wrong with an unequal distribution of Bible love. We’ll talk about our “favorite verse”, “favorite book”, “favorite passage”, and “favorite body part comparison in Song of Solomon” without ever feeling guilty. We all have our favorites, and everyone is okay with that.
I was thinking about this on a flight recently, and my mind started to wander into some ridiculous territory. (Yes, consider that a warning, because I’m taking you with me.) What if this plane crashes? And what if only six of us survived, but instead of us all landing on a mysterious island with a smoke monster and a crazy French woman (shout out to my LOST peeps!), we were somehow scattered onto 6 different islands with no way of reconnecting? And what if, in those few moments before we crashed, we had the intuition to take the one Bible that was on the plane (which I had brought, of course) and split it up equally between the 6 of us in a Fantasy Football-style draft; literally ripping the pages out of the Bible to take with us to our deserted island?
This pretend scenario led me to two very real observations: 1) I need to bring a Sudoku book with me the next time I fly, and 2) I need to figure out which 11 books of the Bible I would take with me BEFORE tragedy strikes. There’s no way I’d be able to make the right choices while plummeting from the sky in a 747, drenched in my own urine.
So, after much prayer, fasting, and a re-reading of Jason Boyett’s Pocket Guide to the Bible, I’ve come up with a Cheat Sheet for the 11 books I would target in a “Books of the Bible Fantasy Draft”. Here they are:
Bryan’s Books of the Bible Fantasy Draft Cheat Sheet
1. The first book I would take would be the gospel of Luke. It would provide the account of Jesus’ life that I’d want to have, including the parable of the Good Samaritan, which is only found in Luke’s Gospel.
2. Mystery. Symbolism. Strange Monsters. No, I’m not talking about LOST again; I’m talking about my second selection, the Book of Revelation. Reading it will keep my imagination sharp and my spirit encouraged. The book is a great reminder that no matter how my own story arc ends, God has the final episodes of the Series already written.
3. At Number 3 I like Paul’s letter to the Romans. Since I’ll spend a majority of the next 10 years deep in thought or talking to myself, why not use that time to wrap my head around the Bible’s most difficult doctrines? (I hear that’s how Matthew Henry wrote his popular Bible Commentary back in the 1700s. He shipwrecked himself on a deserted island, destroyed his iPhone, and ate coconut shavings all day.)
4. Up next is the scandalous Song of Solomon. A little too early to draft this short book about romantic love? Perhaps. But I’d want to keep that famous Bryan Allain Charm© at peak levels in case my wife Erica shipwrecks on the island and we’re stranded together. (Erica, you can stop laughing now. Yes dear, it was a joke, but it wasn’t THAT funny.)
5. Once I conquer the mysteries of Revelation and the doctrines of Romans I’ll need a new challenge. That’s why the book of Hebrews earns a spot in the five-hole. It might take the rest of my life, but I WILL figure out who wrote this book.
6. At number 6 I like the shortest book of the Bible, 2 John. Clocking in at only thirteen verses, it will come in handy for those days when I want to FEEL like I’ve read a lot, but don’t actually want to READ a lot. Oh, stop making that face! You know you’ve been there before.
7. Number 7, the biblical number of completion. This is the perfect spot to stick the book that started it all, Nahum. No, I’m kidding, this is where I’ll put Genesis. If my wife does find me on the island, we can follow Genesis’ blueprint and start a whole new civilization like Noah and his Wife-Who-Is-Not-To-Be-Named.
8. My lack of handyman skills render me inept at building anything more complicated than a Jenga tower. Since my eventual homemade raft escape is bound to result in my drowning or becoming lunch for a large aquatic mammal, I’ll take the book of Jonah.
9. For those depressing days when I feel like the unluckiest person on earth, I’ll bring along the book of Job. Hey, at least I’m not covered in boils and surrounded by negative friends with weird names.
10. The book of James sneaks into the top ten solely on the strength of its verses about trials and tribulations. As each day finds me looking more and more like Tom Hanks in Castaway, I’m going to need that encouragement. Speaking of Castaway, if I find a can of tennis balls on the island, they will become my best friends like Wilson was for Tom Hanks. And I will definitely name them Obadiah, Zechariah, and Haggai.
11. Rounding off my list at #11 is the book of Numbers. Sure, I’ll read it to glean wisdom from time to time, but mostly it will be great for those nights when I just can’t fall asleep. Before you accuse me of blasphemy, have you ever tried to read Numbers after 11pm? There’s a reason Jewish rabbis refer to the book as “Biblical Ambien”.
So there’s my list. If you plan on flying anywhere in the near future, I suggest printing it out to take with you, just in case. Better yet, why don’t you spend some time creating your own Books of the Bible Cheat Sheet.
You don’t need to reproduce your whole list in the comments, but here’s a question I’d love to read your answers on. If you were in a Books of the Bible Fantasy Draft, and you took one of the gospels as your first pick (because I think most of us would like to have an account of Jesus’ life with us), what 3 books would you pick next and why?