Sunday: Let’s Read the Bible With Fresh Eyes Together

Sunday: Let’s Read the Bible With Fresh Eyes Together July 13, 2016

Hi, faithful readers!

How do you like to read your Bible?

If you’re anything like me, it lives somewhere nearby, somewhere that’s always in reach should you need to find a passage, or kill a few minutes while waiting for something else to happen.


Photo credit: Sean MacEntee via / CC BY

I like to flip to Lamentations, or the Psalms, and read a bit of poetry, when I’m sitting around waiting for somebody or something (and Facebook hasn’t gotten my attention first).

Or, I’ll give Paul’s letter to Philemon a quick read (it’s one of my favorites).

Sometimes, I’ll flip through one of the Synoptics and read a few pericopes, usually at random.

And, of course, everyone loves a bit of Job when they’re feeling blue.

But you know what I’ve never done?

I have never read the Bible front-to-back, cover-to-cover, Genesis-to-Revelation.

I’m sure that throughout all of the writing and research I’ve done, I have read at least a slight majority of the Bible over the years.  Certainly all of the New Testament.

But I’m also certain I’ve never read the Torah front-to-back.  I don’t believe I’ve ever read Nahum, or Habakkuk.  I’ve only ever flipped around through the Psalms and Proverbs, and I couldn’t rightly tell you exactly which books are considered “apocryphal” or “deuterocanonical” off the top of my head.

So here’s what I’m going to do.

Starting this week, I am going to read at least one book of the Bible per week, starting with Genesis.  I’m going to go in with fresh eyes, trying to see these documents as the ancient Israelites (or early Christians) did.

Every Sunday morning, I will write a blog post about the reading I did.  The content of the post will depend on the mood I was in when I read it, and on how it made me feel.  I’m going to especially be looking out for things I never noticed before, as well as things that you catch more easily when reading the Bible chronologically.

I invite you to get your Bible down off the shelf and read along with me.  I’ll be generally using the New Revised Standard Version, but I’ll also be using the Revised Standard Version for reference.  I highly recommend one of these two translations, but if you cannot get either of them, then whichever translation you use will be fine.

In addition, I will be consulting An Introduction to the Bible by Robert Kugler and Patrick Hartin in order to learn the historical background behind the individual books, as well as the authorship and dates they were composed.

I also have two friends standing by to offer help with translations; one speaks fluent Hebrew and the other is proficient in Koine Greek.  If there are issues of translation, they have agreed to answer any questions I might have.  They may also offer commentary or insight as I move along.

This endeavor will take many months, and I may never finish it.  I may take a week off here or there, or I may decide to do two books in one week.  I may also skip certain books (I’m thinking now that I probably won’t do the inauthentic Pauline epistles).  But honestly, I don’t know.

That’s what’s exciting about this:  I don’t know what I’ll learn or how it will make me feel.  I like to think that I know a lot about the Bible, but I also know for a fact that there is still so much more to learn, to know.

Please check back this Sunday for my thoughts on Genesis, and if you like, read along sometime before then and tell me what YOUR thoughts were in the comments.  I promise to read them, no matter how long-winded or poorly-punctuated they may be.

Let’s do this together.  I know that this very old book still has some new things to teach us.

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  • Looking forward to this. FWIW, I don’t you should skip the inauthentic Pauline epistles.

    • Christian Chiakulas

      *sigh* you’re probably right about that.

      But that’s months and months off, assuming I stick to my one book per week schedule.

      Some of the shorter ones, like the minor prophets, I’ll almost certainly fold into one blog post.

    • Frank

      Yes you love to ignore the truths that don’t fit in with your opinions.

      • Hi Frank!

      • Iphigenia

        … Huh?

        Here’s what the man said:

        “FWIW, I *don’t* [think?] you should skip the inauthentic Pauline epistles” (emphasis and additions mine).

        Now, I think that Dan was trying to say that Christian should NOT ignore those books, so your reply doesn’t seem to follow. I can see how you missed the “don’t,” though.

    • Iphigenia

      I agree. The Council of Nicea presumably thought those epistles had something worth reading, studying, and applying: they wouldn’t have included them in the canonical books. There’s a lot of stuff in the Bible that’s (ahem) *unpleasant* to modern sensibilities – stuff that we’re inclined to sweep under the rug – but I think it’s important to confront it rather than try to hide it away. We’re all grown-ups, we can handle it!

      • Christian Chiakulas

        Well, they also accepted Pauline authorship.

        But you’re both right, they’re still worth taking a look at.

  • summers-lad

    Great idea. It’s good to read a Biblical book all at one go, to get the overall feel and flow of it without getting too bogged down in the details or just picking out fragments, as we do too much, especially with the Gospels. (I found it was a great way to read Revelation.)
    There are a few books I’ve never managed to read from start to finish. I’ll not tell you which ones – just saying, so you know I’m not an expert. (2 John wasn’t a problem though!)

  • Robert Conner