How to enjoy reading the Bible
If you ask most Christians what their favorite book is… They’ll say it’s the Bible but that’s kinda the “correct” answer. If they’re honest, reading the Bible feels like a chore. It feels like taking a multivitamin each day. You know it’s good for you but it doesn’t bring you any joy or excitement. I’ve even heard people say that if you have trouble sleeping, try reading the Bible… Apparently, it’s doubling as a sedative for some people.
I believe that it’s just a matter of perception. I’m going to cover some points that may help when reading it. This is how I read the Bible and I find the Bible really interesting. Perhaps I can change your perception. Let’s see how it goes.
The clash of timelines
One area that people unwittingly struggle in is that they can’t reconcile the Biblical timeline with the evolutionary timeline. So they start to cherry-pick and create an amalgamated timeline in their mind. The origin story in the Bible is completely different.
Evolution is based on the absence/non-existence of God. That is the foundational belief and the origin story is narrated accordingly. I touched on this in the article, “Is God real?” but I’ll reiterate this point. It’s not science vs religion, it’s belief vs belief. Both parties, start off with their foundational belief, they make observations and draw conclusions in line with their beliefs. Both are biased.
The Bible has a much shorter timeline. Creation took days not a gazillion years. Also, there isn’t the notion of primitive humanity in the Bible. That’s an evolutionary concept. They were building cities early on in the timeline although I doubt that it was at the magnitude of our current cities. This is a far cry from the primitive human narrative that took forever to discover fire.
The Bible narrative is vastly different. You cannot cherry-pick the Bible or mix and match. An interesting point is that the world sees humanity as being initially primitive and we eventually expanded our thinking capacity to where we are now.
From the Bible’s perspective, humanity has changed technologically but our mindset is still the same. We, like all the generations before us, find new ways to commit the same old evil.
Location, location, location…
Sometimes we don’t even realize that we feel a disconnect between the Bible and the real world. We subconsciously treat it in the same manner as locations in fictional fantasy novels. For example, Nineveh (from the story of Jonah) feels the same as middle earth in the Lord of the Rings, it’s a nonsensical location.
However, when you look up the location of these Biblical places, the Bible starts to become real. The ruins of Nineveh are actually in Northern Iraq. Mount Ararat (where the ark landed) is in Turkey. The Bible becomes more real to you in this way. You can Google it or alternatively, you can check out Ray vander Laans series (it’s a little old but still very interesting)
What’s your ology?
We all have something that fascinates us. Dig into those interests while reading the Bible. If you’re fascinated by archeology then read up on Biblical archeology. Perhaps you’re fascinated by eschatology, anthropology, or whatever ology floats your boat. Sink your teeth into it from a Biblical perspective. Heck, there’s even a few examples of cryptozoology to be found in the Bible (look up the leviathan of Job 41 and behemoth in Job 40)
The perils of retrospect
Last but certainly not least is that we read scripture in retrospect. We’ve heard the stories countless times since childhood so we read them in a matter-of-fact fashion. Try this, when you read a portion of scripture, put yourself in that moment. This alone will make the Bible very interesting and actually a lot of fun. Imagine, you’re in that moment without knowing how the story unfolds. Feel the emotion in that space and time. Sometimes your experiences might shed light on what it must have felt like.
Let’s try it out. We all know the story of Noah’s ark. Here’s a man that God considered to be the only righteous person in his generation. Due to our recent stint in quarantine, we probably have a good sense of what it felt like to be cooped up in the ark. We think we had it bad, he lived through an actual apocalyptic event. Now imagine, you are the saving grace of humanity. Your task is to restart civilization. You get out of the ark and you build an altar to God. What’s next on the agenda? Where do you start?
20Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded a to plant a vineyard. 21When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.
Of all the things that he could have done… What did Noah do? He started a vineyard. This man came out of “quarantine” and was thirsty. All the liquor stores were wiped out by the flood. And like the thirsty folks that tried to DIY alcohol out of pineapples. He makes his own… And he gets smashed. ????
So smashed that he’s found lying naked in his tent. Now we can speculate, perhaps he got the recipe wrong or maybe he just overdid it. Do you see how the stories become richer when you consider the moment?
The Bible is seen as a book about religion. I see it as a book about relationships. The relationship between a perfect God and imperfect humans. The Bible never sugarcoats anything and that’s the beauty of it. You see the humanity in these people. You see people that are clearly flawed, yet God uses them.
It’s an interesting point to consider that God uses people that by religious standards should be rejected. Religious people are all about appearance. They know how to carry themselves in a manner that suggests holiness. However, God measures us by the intent of our heart, our desire to know Him and have a genuine relationship with Him. It’s a wonderful thing and the Bible is full of these stories.
If you merely wade in the shallows without diving in and experiencing the emotion at that moment. You’ll miss a lot in the Word.
Remember it’s not just a spiritual book, it’s a historical book, it’s a book about relationships, love stories, and everything in between. Learn to appreciate it for all that it is. Until next month, take care.
My goal is to emulate Jesus and follow his example but if all else fails, I’ll be like David. A writer, a man after God’s own heart and someone not to be trifled with.
I believe in discussing life in a candid (unfiltered), no holds barred manner that stimulates personal growth.
I spend my spare time creating content that is informative, entertaining and that will help others in their personal development.
The Hustle is a project that focuses on career and purpose.
I also have a cooking vlog called Passing it on which is on Facebook and YouTube.
In matters of faith, I contribute to this ministry.
I love reading the OT, seeing how history does match up (Patterns of Evidence is a biblical archeology update) and how God drew almost every line as pointing to Jesus. I believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible, and this makes a person in the evangelical circles an outcast, but I’d rather please God than man. I love delving into the Hebrew and Greek for a better understanding. One of the most profound things I learned about Hebrew, is that each letter has it’s own meaning.
Hi Claire. You should check out The Bible Project. They have some interesting videos regarding word studies… Here’s one of the playlists. 🙂