An Introduction To The Famous Last Words Project

Yesterday in his sermon, for what seems like at least the third time, our local pastor commented that it would be good for someone to do a study of the famous last words that are present in the Bible, and he gave a few examples, like 2 Timothy and 2 Peter. I had thought previously about writing a lengthy set of compendium posts [1] as I have done about some subjects in the past, but I was rather unsatisfied by that particular thought, especially given that those sorts of entries are hard to write because they require a lot of near stream of consciousness typing and copying and pasting and editing of verses simply to get the material on the page, and then are of such massive length that few people wish to take the time to read them. So, since I am going through a chronological Bible reading with a few others that is being led by a minister in one of our neighboring congregations here in the Willamette Valley, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss throughout the course of this year the famous last words of various people from the Bible as they come up. At the bottom of this entry, as I have done in other places [2]

As is my fashion, though, I thought it would be worthwhile to introduce the way I plan on going about this large and somewhat ambitious project as well as the reasons why it is worthwhile to examine the last words of someone. The first of these tasks is much more straightforward and can be addressed quickly. Throughout the course of the year, around the time where the famous last words of people in the Bible are spoken of, I plan on having a post here. Sometimes, if the “famous last words” are as large as a book of the Bible, then there will be a post that summarizes the key valedictory concerns of the writer, like Peter or Paul, if the book is too lengthy to cover in one post in one day, or that at least covers the last chapter or so of material so that one can get a genuine sense of the final thoughts of the writer. At times, as is the case with Solomon, for example, the book of Ecclesiastes will be viewed as the “last words,” given the broader biblical context. At other times it will be more clear what the last words are included. At still other times, as is the case with Elijah’s last words, there are cases where at least two different situations may be taken as the last words, and so both will be included, one at his disappearance into the first heaven in a chariot of fire, and then the letter he wrote some years later while living in a different part of the earth where it was still possible to send a letter, given that people probably liked getting a letter from Elijah as much as they like getting a letter from me.

Why are the last words of someone so important? The Bible views death, and the way we prepare for it, as matters of great importance. Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 7:1, for example, that “A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one’s birth,” advice that is more typically heeded in the breach than in the observance. Psalm 90:12 reminds us to “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” At the end of our lives, we have the chance to reflect upon what we have done, how we have lived, and what mistakes we have made. As is often the case in the Bible, when we put off this mortal tent, we have unfinished business left behind us, and so it remains for those who know that they are approaching their death to give blessing and encouragement to the living, and to set an example of humility and coming to terms with living lives that have hopefully been devoted to God’s ways, although filled with inevitable bungling and mistakes. It is in light of both a desire to share the encouragement as well as the humility that godly people show when they know their time is at an end, and the way that the words of the dying can give wisdom to those who remain to carry on the work, that a subject like this is important to study. And so, to the extent that is possible for me to do so, I wish to share my thoughts and reflections of the famous last words of the Bible to you all, both to those who follow along with what I write closely, and to those who may come across these reflections at any time in the future. As is my custom, I may return back to the last words of someone I have skipped previously, and if you want to see the famous last words of someone in particular that I have not written here so far, simply send me a comment and I will likely give the matter due consideration at an appropriate time.

Famous Last Words:

Jacob [3]
Joseph [4]
Moses [5]
Joshua [6]
Sisera [7]
Adoni-Bezek, Zebah and Zalmunna, Agag [8]

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/a-compendium-of-sabbath-observance-in-the-book-of-acts/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/a-compendium-of-jesus-interactions-with-outsiders-in-the-synoptic-gospels-part-one/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/a-compendium-of-jesus-interactions-with-outsiders-in-the-synoptic-gospels-part-two/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/a-compendium-of-jesus-interactions-with-outsiders-in-the-synoptic-gospels-part-three/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/10/14/a-compendium-of-passages-regarding-the-high-holy-days-in-the-new-testament/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/scholarly-book-reviews/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/an-introduction-to-the-psalms-commentary-project/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/an-introduction-to-the-sons-of-korah-project/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/famous-last-words-jacob/

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/famous-last-words-joseph/

[5] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/famous-last-words-moses/

[6] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/famous-last-words-joshua

[7] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/famous-last-words-sisera/

[8] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/famous-last-words-adoni-bezek-zebah-and-zalmunna-agag/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to An Introduction To The Famous Last Words Project

  1. Pingback: Challenge Accepted | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: All Over Creation | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: An Introduction To The Naming Our Abuse Project | Edge Induced Cohesion

  4. Pingback: Preliminary Notes On A Study Of The Importance Of The Maternal Line In Biblical History | Edge Induced Cohesion

  5. Pingback: An Introduction To The Maternal Lines Project | Edge Induced Cohesion

  6. Pingback: An Introduction To The Apostolic Fathers Series | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s