How to Read the Bible (sequel 3)

The many ancient books brought together as one unit are still relevant today. They are the best teaching tool and self-help book for life we can have. We only have to find a way to make time and to find a good way to read the Bible regularly, so that we can transform ourselves in the right way filled with positive expectations. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

A Book about God written for us all

Though there are many issues of controversy and concern in the modern age that are not directly mentioned in the Bible we are able to find answers to them in the most sacred book of all times.

English: By Rembrandt.
the apostle Paul by Rembrandt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly two thousand years ago the Jewish rabbi Saul of Tarsus, today better known as the apostle Paul wrote to the Roman community

Romans 15:4 (TS98)
4 For whatever was written before was written for our instruction, that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have the expectation.

Today, many may think the Bible was written to others and has no value for us today. Even when those writings are so old, they are still valuable today. When you want to take time to listen to those words you shall find that those ancient words shall also speak to you.

You shall come to see that Scripture frequently provides general truths that are broadly applicable to a variety of situations. The book of books brings an overview of human history, the way people related to other people and to nature and to the Maker of everything.  The Bestseller of all times leaves it to us to discern how the advice given in those old writings should be applied.
In Matthew 22:21, rabbi Jeshua says to give back to “Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Rather than giving us a list of what belongs to God and what is due the government, Jesus expects us to use godly wisdom to apply this general rule and work out the details for ourselves.

Each time we go reading in that ancient piece of literature we should remember that when it was written there was an other way of speaking than today. When not speaking the original languages of those works, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, you should try to come to understand the expressions of those times and of those people. You should come to see when idioms are used and what they mean. No matter what language you speak,even when there is no translation of the set-apart Scriptures, you should be able to find some good Bible translation in a language you should be able to understand.

Gerard Dou - Reading the Bible - WGA06644
Gerard Dou – Reading the Bible – WGA06644 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may come to read one book after the other, or may come to read them at random. You may follow a reading plan. Whatever way you choose to explore the Bible best is to make sure you cover the whole book. Some may find it easier to follow when they use plans that match certain books together to give more of a chronological feel to the reading. I would recommend to make sure that you try to read the Bible once a year at least, with some portions read multiple times.

When focussing on a certain Bible book and letting yourself be carried away by the main subject you might find such an intense reading can be transformative.

You also could take up the book and let it fall open. Then reading that part as a matter of a devotional act for the day – in order to get a spiritual boost for that day. In such case remember that devotionalism is a way of reading Scripture for a lift rather than for truth. It’s reading the Bible as a self-help book designed to give you nuggets to get you through the day. When you do that, do not forget to take up the Bible in the evening to continue your daily portion of bible reading, which goes from one chapter into the next chapter.

I do know that there is so much else that is good to read and each of us has lots of things to read each day. Do know when reading the Bible it shall not take so much time as the other books. And when accustomed to the language of the Bible you shall even notice that your reading shall go smoother.

Naturally it shall be a choice every one has to make. How much time do you want to spend at reading the Bible, which would be the same as listening to the Most High HasHem. When you love somebody intense, I am sure it would not take any effort to read the letters of that loved one. The same for the Words of God, the Bible, which are His letters to mankind.

The Bible is God His letter to the world. It are letters about Him but addressed to you and me, and all those around us. When reading them you shall notice how they draw you in.

Your challenge is always to reapply Scripture afresh, time over and over again, because God’s purpose is always to rescript your life.

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Preceding

How to Read the Bible

How to Read the Bible (sequel 1)

How to Read the Bible (sequel 2)

Making Time for God is crucial

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Additional reading

  1. Devotees and spotters
  2. Written down in God’s Name
  3. A way to look for Christ, the Bible, Word of God
  4. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  5. A masterly copied and reproduced Word to feed the minds
  6. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  7. God’s never-ending stream of much-needed mercies
  8. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  9. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  10. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  11. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  12. Unread bestseller
  13. Bible Falling Apart Belongs to Someone who isn’t
  14. Written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope
  15. Engagement in an actual two-way conversation with your deities
  16. An uncovering book to explore
  17. Hearing words to accept
  18. Choose Green: Reading and talking about your ideas leads to success.
  19. Let us being filled each day by the Word of God
  20. Dedicated daily reading of God’s word to create a vibrant faith within us
  21. Genre – Playing by the Rules
  22. The Need to Understand Genre
  23. Necessity of a revelation of creation 10 Instructions for insight and wisdom
  24. Necessity of a revelation of creation 12 Words assembled for wisdom and instruction
  25. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  26. We may not be ignorant to get wisdom
  27. Looking for wisdom not departing from God’s Word
  28. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  29. God’s wisdom for the believer brings peace
  30. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  31. How to Choose a Bible for Preaching
  32. 2020 years since
  33. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith
  34. God who knows the heart
  35. Those who love Jesus
  36. God giving signs and producing wonders

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How to Read the Bible (sequel 2)

When going to read and trying to study the bible it is best to make a plan beforehand, with the knowledge that it is not so useful to just read the book in one go once in a lifetime.
It is a library of 66 books which demands repetitive reading, not confusing or taking additional human notes as being part of God’s Words.

In the previous article in continued to show the dangers when people continue thinking in the tradition of their philosophers and theologians who do not keep to the proper Word of God, given to us by the many chosen people of God.

Too many people coming to read the Scriptures forget that the notes in those printed books are notes presented by human beings and that when reading and studying the Holy Scriptures we should only concentrate on the biblical words and not on the added thoughts by other men than the ones chosen by God and presented in the original manuscripts.

When reading the Bible we always should concentrate on what is said by whom and about who or what. We also should wonder if what is said about specific situations or actions would still apply for today. To get to know that you shall need to read all the 66 books which together form the Holy Scriptures.

A page from the Aleppo Codex, Deuteronomy 32:50-33:29. Parashah breaks visible on this page are as follows: {P} 33:1-6 (right column blank line 8th from top) {S} 33:7 (right column indentation line 23) {P} 33:8-11 (right column blank line 2nd from bottom) {S} 33:12 (middle column 1st indentation) {S} 33:13-17 (middle column 2nd indentation) {S} 33:18-19 (left column indentation at top) {S} 33:20-21 (left column space in middle of 6th line) {S} 33:22 (left column 13th line indentation) {S} 33:24-39 (left column 17th line indentation).

It is impossible to read the Bible in one go on one day. You are best to take it easy, by going from one parshah or passage (literally, section, division) to another. In the near future I also shall offer such bible reading on this site and therefore I shall start with the first parshah of the Holy Writings, the Parshat Bereishit, which covers from the beginning of Genesis to the story of Noah.

When you go to a service you may find that in the synagogue service, the weekly parshah is followed by a passage from the prophets, which is referred to as a haftarah. Contrary to common misconception, “haftarah” (or haftoroh, plural haftarot or haftoros) does not mean “half-Torah.” The word comes from the Hebrew root Fei-Teit-Reish and means “Concluding Portion”. Usually, haftarah portion is no longer than one chapter, and has some relation to the Torah portion of the week.

The Artscroll Chumash

The most important part of the Holy Scriptures which too many Christians do seem to miss, is the “chumash” or Pentateuch, (a vowel alteration of ḥomesh, meaning “one-fifth”, alluding to any one of the five books – or a Torah or Five Books of Moshe in printed form (i.e. codex) as opposed to a Torah scroll), which shows the world how everything started and why we are in a such a mess today. The name for that assembled work of literature comes from the Hebrew word meaning five, and refers to the five books of the Torah written by the former Egyptian prince who later in life became a religious leader and lawgiver.

Philippe de Champaigne - Moses with the Ten Commandments - WGA04717.jpg
The man, Moshe, chosen by the Almighty Elohim to lead the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, after which they based themselves at Mount Sinai, where he received the Ten Commandments.

We always should remember that though Moshe (or Moses) wrote all those words for next generations to remember, he only was the authorised scribe in the Name of God. In later years we also might find lots of other Hebrew or Jewish scribes, Soferim (Jewish scholars and teachers) and scriveners from other religious groups, but who were not especially selected by God to write down His words. For such, their writings we always should consider as human thoughts not words from the Holy Scriptures. Often they are just penman for religious groups, from one or the other denomination, writing to have people to come to believe in their views, which are not always the biblical views. though we must know that it is by the meticulous work of many copyists that those works Moshe and other men of God wrote down, came to us.

Sometimes, a chumash is simply refers to a collection of the five books of the Torah. But often, a chumash contains the entire first five books, divided up by the weekly parshiyot, with the haftarah portion for each week inserted immediately after the week’s parshah.

https://media1.britannica.com/eb-media/57/26957-004-0FB35126.jpg
Yad or ritual object made of silver, used for eliminating the necessity of touching the sacred manuscript with the hand.

When one is afraid to forget where one is with reading, whilst saying the text out loud, one can use a little stick or yad (literally, “a hand”), usually a six to eight inch piece of silver fashioned in the shape of a finger, to point to the words of the sefer Torah as you read them. This is done so the reader does not obstruct the vision of the person honoured with the aliyah and does not mar the dignity of the Torah by touching it. In Sephardi congregations, the Torah is carried inside a large wooden cylinder that stands erect when open, and the Torah parchment is in an upright position when it is read or like in Ashkenazi congregations, and by using a book version the Torah lying flat.

Today you should not be afraid to take up a printed book, a computer or even a tablet or smartphone to read the set apart Scriptures. Better to come to read the Torah than not reading it.

When going to read the set apart books you should put your mind at rest and leave out all the worldly thoughts, including all possible dogmatic teachings brought in by generations of ancestors or by churches or clergy.

Before starting the reading and study work you should always remember the first blessing God having created human beings in His image, but by man having chosen to go an other way, the Elohim chose Israel to receive His Torah and referred to the giving of the Torah at Sinai. Not bad is to do your Bible reading and study with somebody else. Than you should also bring a second blessing referring to the Oral Torah.

When before you start reading the bible you engage in judging yourself or bringing l’hitpalel or ‘praying‘, you offer yourself to the Elohim showing Him your willingness to open your mind. Without opening your mind to God He shall not be able, or better, will not be so prepared to touch your inner heart. In a way you have to petition God to give you what you need according to the Plan and time-set of Him. Also you should show your gratitude for the Words He presents to you. You should thank Him for whatever good was granted, or extol Him for His awesome attributes. All prayer is intended to help make us into better human beings.

When you do not know how to pray:

A Hasidic tale illustrates the spirit of this ruling.

A boy from a small rural village where there were few Jews and no synagogue, one day accompanied his father to the city to do some marketing. While there, they went into a synagogue. The boy had never been in a synagogue before and he was impressed and moved by the sight of the congregation at prayer. He, too, wanted to pray. But he did not know how. His father had taught him only to say the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, but no more than that. So a thought occurred to him. He began to recite the alphabet over and over again. And then he said,

“0 Lord, You know what it is that I want to say. You put the letters together so they make the right words.”

That, too, was a Jewish prayer.

English: Mishne Torah in 1 volume עברית: משנה ...
Mishne Torah in 1 volume עברית: משנה תורה בכרך אחד, מנוקד ומדויק על פי כתבי יד, בהוצאת מפעל משנה תורה (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Always remember that reading from a prayer book does not mean that one is praying. Any person may read a prayer book as one reads any other kind of book — to find out what it says or to relish the beauty of the poetry. Such reading does not qualify as prayer.
To transform reading into prayer, there must be at least a sense of standing in the presence of God and the intent to fulfil one of His commandments. It is opening your heart to the Voice of God, loving it to enter your body and mind – your body and soul – to fill you with inspirational thoughts which are much higher than the thoughts of people of this world.

Having said prayers before reading the Book of books you also may conclude such reading and studying with prayer, expressing your thankfulness for the Hashem wanting to be close by you and giving His Words to study.

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Preceding articles:

How to Read the Bible

How to Read the Bible (sequel 1)

Called Immanuel does not mean to be Jesus being God

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Additional reading

  1. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  2. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  3. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  4. Own Private Words to bring into a good relationship
  5. 7000 to 20000 words spoken each day
  6. Being sure of their deliverance
  7. Walking alone?
  8. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  9. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  10. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  11. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  12. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #11 Prayer #9 Making the Name Holy
  14. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #12 Prayer #10 Talk to A Friend
  15. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  16. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  17. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #18 Fulfilment
  18. Praise Jehovah

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Further reading

  1. The Time I Got In Trouble For Studying In Class
  2. Midrashim & History
  3. Sticking To Our Leaders 
  4. With or Without a Comma: How to Tell Love from Passion
  5. Books every Jew(-to-be) should have
  6. Help: the Prayer Book is Too Heavy for Me!
  7. Scripture as Fuel for change

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Save

How to Read the Bible (sequel 1)

Many christians who have the idea that Jesus would be an incarnation of God forget the Words of God Himself about incarnation and how the many gods, called in the Bible are often called incarnations, like Apis the Egyptian bull being an incarnation of the god Osiris, whose successor Horus also came to earth in the incarnated god Pharaoh and had a conflict with another person (Moses) also named god in the bible.

Here you may find one of the first reasons why it is so important always to remember who is talking and what this person says about others and about specific situations or actions.

In the previous article we cold find Andrew Mills speaking of Jesus’ incarnation. This is a nice example how he as many Christians lets him carried away when reading the Bible, by allowing human traditions and philosophies holding his mind.

There are many Christians who like to think of an incarnation, and especially consider Jesus to be an incarnation of God, loving to think Jesus would not be a real human person, drawing attention to the expression

“resided [literally, “tented”] among us”

and

“the Word became flesh and resided among us.”

claiming this shows Jesus was, not a true human, but God having come to earth in the form of a man.

English: Adam and Eve are being sent out of th...
angels are also called gods in the bible, though they are no incarnation of God, even when they did come to the earth to bring certain messages to people. – Adam and Eve are being sent out of the garden of Eden – (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Christians would look closer at the bible text and would remember the way of speaking of Jewish people, they could notice that the apostle John is speaking about “a Word” which is the result of speaking or letting the breath coming out the mouth, utter and having it making sounds. The youngest pupil of Christ knew, like his master teacher, very well the Hebrew Scriptures (by many Christians called the Biblia Hebraica) and knew exactly what was promised in the Garden of Eden, where God spoke to man. It was there, at the beginning of times, that God spoke and had His Word or Voice sounded for all to know, that here would come a solution against the fall of man and the curse of death. The apostle John was convinced that his master Jeshua (Jesus) was that promised Kristos (Christ) and was that man about Whom God not only spoke in the Garden of Eden, but also at other times and in other places (to Abraham, Jeremiah, David, Isaiah, Micah, Zechariah, Malachi, a.o.).  Throughout the ages God spoke about a “Redeemer” to come, a “Messiah“.
It was that speaking of God, “His Words spoken” that brought not only “the Word” of God, “out of heaven,” but was brought into reality by bringing a being, in the flesh. By placing a child in a young woman, by speaking to her (once again a Word spoken and a word becoming reality) when that woman, with child, gave birth, the Word of God “became flesh.” (Joh 1:1; 1Co 15:47; Php 2:5-8; Joh 1:14; 1Ti 3:16) That in being born as a human he was no spirit and that he did not merely assume a fleshly body, as angels had done in the past (Ge 18:1-3; 19:1; Jos 5:13-15), is attested to by the apostle John, who says that one is antichrist who denies that Jesus Christ came “in the flesh.” (1Jo 4:2, 3) In order to provide the ransom for mankind and thereby to help those who would be his associates in the heavenly calling, the Word became flesh, being born all human, no incarnation. The Bible tells us this:

“Since the ‘young children’ are sharers of blood and flesh, he also similarly partook of the same things.” (Hebrews 2:14-16)

His earthly sojourn was spoken of as “the days of his flesh.” (Heb 5:7)

“The bread that I shall give is my flesh in behalf of the life of the world,”

Jesus said. He went on to state that those hoping to remain in union with him must ‘eat his flesh and drink his blood.’ Not appreciating the spiritual, symbolic significance of his words, some construed the statement as cannibalistic and were shocked.(Joh 6:50-60).

Louvres-antiquites-egyptiennes-p1020068.jpg
Statue of Apis (Hapi-ankh) the sacred bull worshipped in the Memphis region. Being sacrificed and reborn he also served as an intermediary between humans and other powerful deities (originally Ptah, later Osiris, then Atum). – Thirtieth dynasty of Egypt (Louvre)

In my third post I also tried to show that the identity of Jesus Christ as Immanuel did not mean he was the incarnation of God, ‘God in the flesh,’ like so many christians do want us to believe. Proponents of the Trinity teaching claim it is implied by the meaning of Immanuel, namely, “With Us Is God” that God would be entered in his world in Jesus his body. They do forget that ‘incarnation’ is an abomination in God’s eyes and was the common practice in the thought of those who worshipped false gods, like the living Apis bull being an incarnation of the god Osiris and also an emanation of the god Ptah (vocalized as Pitaḥ in ancient Egypt). The Bible also speaks of the god Pharaoh, who was thought to be the incarnation of the falcon-headed god Horus the successor of Osiris.

Plato (428/427 bce-348/34bce), ancient Greek philosopher, student of Socrates (c. 470–399 bce), teacher of Aristotle (384–322 bce), and founder of the Academy

Clearly many Christian worshippers where influenced by Plato and other philosophers, who were firmly convinced that

“the soul outlives its present incarnation, to be duly rewarded or punished” {Plato}

in the afterlife, based on how the person lived while on earth.

It was a common practice among Jews to embody the word “God,” even “Jehovah,” in Hebrew names. Even today Immanuel is the proper name of many men, none of whom are incarnations of God.

It was by God His Holy Spirit, (God’s Power) that God caused conception in the womb of the young girl Miriam (today better known as the virgin Mary). As a result, Jesus was born as a perfect, sinless human. (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:35; John 8:46).

When we take up the bible we should know that we may find words from those above mentioned Hebrew Nevi’im or prophets, of which Jesus was one of them. But there words were to be written down, inspired by the Most High Almighty. When reading the Bible we should then as such remember it are the Words like God wanted them to be brought over to mankind. The bible is therefore not to be looked at as the word of man but as the Word of God.

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Preceding articles:

How to Read the Bible

Called Immanuel does not mean to be Jesus being God

Next: How to Read the Bible (sequel 2)

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Further reading

  1. Creation purpose and warranty
  2. Challenging claim 1 Whose word
  3. Jesus begotten Son of God #4 Promised Prophet and Saviour
  4. A season for truth and peace
  5. Ransom for all
  6. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  7. Trinity matter
  8. Altered to fit a Trinity
  9. Does there have to be a Holy Trinity?
  10. The Trinity – the truth

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Other articles related to the matters mentioned

  1. Grey Matter and the Afterlife
  2. The Afterlife of Furry Friends
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  4. A Strange Work
  5. A good thought for today…
  6. He was in the beginning
  7. The Picture of Advent
  8. God Himself
  9. Karma & Causation 
  10. Christianity – Nature of God
  11. I used to write Christmas letters
  12. What does the Afterlife have to do with Christmas? Making Christmas meaningful to you today.
  13. We Look Like in Heaven
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  17. Review: The Discourses of Epictetus
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  19. Life to the world — full of Glory!
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  25. Incarnation and Image
  26. Incarnate
  27. Incarnation Part 2: Humanity
  28. Reflections at the Manger
  29. Lighting the Candle of Fellowship
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  39. God Breaks Through
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  46. Paul Harvey’s “A Man and the Birds” (A Christmas Story)
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  48. The Last Day of An Advent Calendar: Christmas Day!
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  54. Jesus, Our Immanuel: Reflections on the Incarnation
  55. When Christmas Falls On Sunday
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  57. Christmas Day, December 25, 2016
  58. The Word Became Flesh
  59. Breathe
  60. Jesus in the filth
  61. Come, Let Us Adore Him
  62. Day Twenty-Eight of An Advent Calendar (Evening): Christmas Eve – Pouring Out Divinity into Humanity
  63. when the Son became man
  64. Rejoice!
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  68. Search the sky for stars and follow them wherever they lead, but not at the expense of looking down. Those who only look up will never…
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  77. The Opportunities Of Christmas
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  82. Incarnation Matters
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  86. Incarnation Thoughts
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  146. Manger Scenes
  147. God Come Down
  148. Emmanuel, Come to Us! A Prayer for our World at Christmas
  149. Emmanuel means god wit us – But what does that mean?
  150. The Attractive Nativity
  151. What if God were one of us?
  152. Christmas’ Greatest Gift
  153. The Reason for Jesus
  154. William Blake and the Divinity of Humanity

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