Reading boring books of the bible

Here’s a good article about reading the boring parts of the bible.

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/6-tricks-to-make-it-through-the-bible-s-boring-books.html

To which I’d add these points of emphasis:

1. Pay attention to God – its all about God revealing himself, Not everything that happens is holy because its in the bible. People sometimes claim to be good, but they are acting on their own? So always ask ‘Has God spoken? What is God’s role? What is being revealed of his character?’

Because boredom can arise  from reading long complex bits of writing that seem irrelevant.  Focusing on God, who is unchanging, can anchor you in a sea of confronting cultural and historical distance, and start to bring it back to something relevant and shared with the writer of the passage.

2. Also use commentaries for the really weird bits, and don’t be impatient.  Slow down when sometimes you get the urge to speed up. There is often more gold in there than you first think.  I’m looking at you, Ezekiel and Daniel. Often I’ve thought something was irredeemably stupid, and a little bit of commentary makes it pretty mind boggling.

3. Say to God your feelings, no matter how ‘wrong’.  Say the thing you think God doesn’t want to hear. If you find a passage boring, repetitive, needlessly violent or bizarre, say that to God and pursue the line of thought.

Because God is real, loving, slow to anger and wants the best for me, I’ve found this braveness in talking to him has generally opened up insight and blessing.  It means you wrestle honestly with the boring bits, and they actually can come to life in surprising ways.

4. The bible is reflecting you in unpleasant ways, because much about us is unpleasant to God. Its changing you in ways that you will fight and want to hold onto.  Its aligning your mind with God’s, and the ‘boredom’ may be your sinful nature rejecting God’s grace and teaching. Sometimes I stop for a bit, or carry on in pure stubbornness, passionless. I got that way last time I read Psalms actually, which I’m going back to finish next.

5. But also, boredom is just part of life, so sometimes its just part of the deal. The bible has bona fide boring bits, it just does. Accept it, and as the article says, skim the genealogies.

I say this having just finished 1 & 2 Chronicles, which were surprisingly less boring than I expected.  I was going to read Ezekiel next, but as I say I’ve decided to divert to Psalms. Time for some pithy poetry and ambiguity! Songs for all occasions.

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Bible project

Just a shout out to this you tube channel.

Here’s a link to a playlist of all their videos in the same order as the Bible.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVpri7vfPPtKUOaqAAjEtZR4C-bO5Y_XQ

It’s a series of under-10-minute illustrated videos that give you really pithy overviews of the books of the Bible.

They’ve branched out of late and done words and themes and other Christian questions.

I’ve watched their two Isaiah videos (see the first below) twice. It’s like a drone shot of the book… You zoom up from the ground and see the whole landscape.

To find it you just search the name of any book in YouTube, or to be sure “Bible project” + book name.

Thank you Bible project, you’ve done humanity a massive favour!

 

 

Reading plans

I’ve been reading the bible from Bible Gateway. I suppose pretty much everyone does, and I often feel strong gratitude for the people who put it together (though I wish they would change designer at some point – that colour scheme!)

I’ve been dipping into one of their reading plans of late, the whole bible is laid out in chronological order of events, which helps the books lead one to the other.

https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/chronological

I won’t stick to it 100% but useful to know!