I’m reading the Bible from start to finish for no other reason than that I’ve never done it before.
Between attending Catholic school and being a lector at Mass, I’ve read parts of it. But never the whole thing.
I’m just over 500 pages in and if you’ve read the Bible, you know that’s not very far. Some thoughts on what I’ve learned to date:
· I have no concept of Middle Eastern geography.
· In biblical times, gold and silver were apparently lying around in big heaps everywhere.
· It was a difficult period in which to be a woman.
· In the Bible, people have huge families and live for abnormally long periods of time.
· The Bible would be a lot shorter if it didn’t tell the same stories over and over.
· There are many excruciatingly painful ways to die.
Since I’m approaching reading the Bible in the same manner in which I read any book, I didn’t go into it looking for hidden meanings or life-changing lessons. I’m just reading it. But since it IS the Bible, you sort of expect it to teach you something.
The version I’m reading is a study Bible which means in addition to the scripture, along the margins are interpretations of how biblical lessons can be translated into modern life. Some of these seem a little far-fetched but others are shockingly simple and make obvious sense.
I asked my best friend, who incidentally gave me this Bible many years ago and now works for a church, whether I could use a highlighter and write in it without being sacrilegious.
“Of course,” she said. “In its physical sense, it’s just a book, like any other book. It’s the words themselves and what they mean to you that make it spiritual.”
Since then I’ve highlighted a few verses and turned back the corners on a couple of pages I want to refer back to.
I haven’t experienced any epiphanies while reading the Bible but the exercise is making me more thoughtful in the sense that I’m thinking more about the world around me, my place in it and what I’m doing with my time on Earth.
Since I only read a couple of chapters every morning, I won’t be finishing the Bible any time soon. I figure there’s no hurry; it’s been around a LONG time and however long it takes me to read it is how long it takes. Like any Good Book, it’ll be worth it.
Have you ever read the Bible? What did you get out of it?