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Reading the Scriptures: Onerous or (dare we say) Enjoyable?

BibleA favorite ‘bucket list’ item of spiritual seekers is reading the Bible through at least once in their life, and preferably within a set time frame such as a year.  Yet for many who have tried this noble undertaking, Leviticus often stands as the dividing line between the sheep and goats – between those who launch forth at Genesis only to stumble and stop vs. those who forge on toward the finish line of Revelation.

Bible Reading Plans

Deciding to no longer trudge through chapter after chapter of Jewish ritualistic practices that seem to have little to do with busy, techno-plugged in lives of today, is of course, understandable.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!  With over two billion Christians on the planet, many of them sharing this same goal, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn of Bible reading plans that address what could be labeled:  ‘Overcoming the Leviticus slump’.

One of my favorites – because of its simplicity and effectiveness—is “Professor Horner’s Bible-Reading System”.   Here’s a link on the BibleRoads website where we’ve posted it so you can get details. https://bibleroads.com/resources/bible-reading-plan/

I hope you’ll try it.  It pulled me through the Scriptures within a year and became an activity I deeply looked forward to each morning instead of an onerous task done out of guilt or obligation.

Bible Translations

A related question might be: ‘So what translation do I read as I’m coming to know the Scriptures more intimately?’  For those most familiar with the King James Bible, that may be the text you’ll choose because of its magnificent use of language—the rhythm, cadence and vividness that make it, with Shakespeare’s work, the pinnacle of English literature.  For others, the Elizabethan English can be a stumbling block and for them, a more contemporary translation would be desired.

CEBFor the latter, there are two translations I would recommend:  The Common English Bible (CEB) and The New Living Translation (NLT).   Both have Study Bible versions which help the reader understand cultural, geographical and historic facets of the Scriptures, as well as provide maps, charts and illustrations.  Attending the debut panel presentation of The Common English Bible in 2011 at The Society of Biblical Literature’s international meeting, I was pleased to hear the Editorial Board explain their alliance of twenty two faith traditions and one hundred and twenty Bible scholars to produce this newest translation of the Scriptures.  This admirable collaboration over a period of  years has resulted in a text that  serves Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, excelling in both accuracy and clarity, two of the editors’ stated goals.  This is a link to Amazon for the CEB translations mentioned.  

NLT Study BibleI discovered The New Living Translation a number of years ago while reading a parallel Bible with four columns of text.  I noticed, while reading each subsequent translation, that my eye kept returning to the ‘third column’, the one featuring the New Living Translation text, published first in 2008.  Using some forty scholars, this Study Bible has over 25,000 notes and is a treasure trove of discovery for the curious student.  It has some of the linguistic beauty and vividness of the King James with the clarity of contemporary speech and has been one of my major study Bibles since.  And this is a link to Amazon for the NLT translation discussed.  

There are many powerful, moving translations, each serving different audiences and needs.  The Bible continues to be adapted to each age in which it pastors the flock of the world with The Living Word.    Our job is to quiet our lives enough to drink it in – deeply.

We’d love to hear your experience in reading the Scriptures through and hope you’ll share with other BibleRoads readers.


Checkout some of our related Products

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9 Responses to Reading the Scriptures: Onerous or (dare we say) Enjoyable?

  1. David Bear July 3, 2014 at 6:38 am #

    Good morning;

    So funny that you mention the Leviticus slump! I have read the KVJ of the Bible, cover to cover, and really had to buckle down to get through Leviticus. To this day, whenever the Christian Science daily bible lesson, or my own study as I work through the Concordance (or Concord) preparing meeting readings, leads me to Leviticus, I always acknowledge the inspirational passages found there because they can seemingly be so few.

    Reading the bible brought a whole new light on the Scriptures for me. It was so much of a journey that felt like walking a long road, and as with any such journey, the longer I stayed with my companion on that walk, the better we began to understand each other. The bible is now my very dear friend.

    It took a little over a year to read through the old testament, lots of names and rituals and rights. Once the new testament is opened to thought, it is as if the light literally just pours out of a cloud. The language of the new testament is clearer, although Paul should have been made aware of the hanging participle, it is bright and bouyant, full of hope and promise. I couldn’t put the book down at that point and finished within a few weeks.

    Perhaps if one has the proper mindset going into it, the bible won’t seem so much like reading one of the longest and dullest books ever written, but it will be to you that journey to get to know a dear friend, even God. The Scriptures are after all, “…our sufficient guide to eternal life.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; pg 497:3), that makes me curious to know the way!!

  2. Laura Blatz July 3, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Reading the Bible was one of my to-do items for years. I finally did it with the help of a little folder called “Reading the Bible in a year.” It simply had every day of the year listed with the assigned Bible readings right next to it – only 2-3 chapters a day. I decided I did not think it would be a good idea to try to read several Psalms each day for a month so I took to reading one Psalm every day in addition to the regular assignment. The first time I read the Bible through I used Moffat’s translation – modern and at times quite an eye-opener. Since then I have been dipping into many different translations and appreciating all the hard work that has gone on to give us as accurate and as meaningful a work as possible. Just like Madelon, I really like the NLT; I have also come to deeply appreciate The Message. At first glance it seemed too modern, almost slangy, but there are places where I just go “wow, I get it!”

    • Madelon July 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      Laura,

      So good to hear your experience. I love how you were led, just as we all are, to fulfill a deep desire to do this important step. Also appreciate your thoughts on various translations, like Moffatt’s and The Message — both of which I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate.

      One of my favorite experiences in leading Bible Study groups was to see how each person would resonate to a translation that was just right for them, eventually buy it and then thoroughly enjoy their new discovery with regular study.
      Stay in touch. Love hearing your experiences.
      Madelon

  3. Tawny July 3, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Our church has joined in a resolution to read the Bible through in a year. Some folks have chosen to begin in Genesis and read through to Revelation using the many plans available on the internet.

    Several of us have chosen Prof. Horner’s plan mentioned here. I have taken that path and am reading the Bible in the New Living Translation on my Kindle. I love it! I am eager to read each morning and have found nuggets I had never read before as well as old favorites that have brought comfort, hope and healing in the past.

    It is fun to hear so many folks share their love for this reading each Wednesday evening and how it has brought revelation to their lives. So grateful for the link to Prof Horton’s plan on BibleRoads.

    • Madelon July 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

      Great to hear your whole Church is undertaking this wonderful study together, Tawny. Thank you so much for sharing this as I suspect others will be inspired to recommend the same for their churches.

  4. Kathy Box July 3, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    I started reading the Bible from cover-to-cover on January 1 of this year and I just finished it. I read the New Revised Standard Version. I liked that it wasn’t in columns and just read like a book. I didn’t use the study version because I just wanted to read it straight through. Sometimes if I didn’t understand something I would use my NIV study Bible. Somehow I got through Leviticus even though it was difficult. I would read every night before going to bed. I feel that it truly blessed me and I look forward to my continued study. Thank you!

    • Madelon July 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      Kathy,

      A huge congratulations as this is something so many WANT to do but don’t. Bravo and really appreciate you sharing the NRSV translation and how you did it.

      Blessings!
      Madelon

  5. Joanne Otto July 3, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    I had read the Bible through from cover to cover a couple of times and done studies of some of its individual books, but was looking for a new approach. I discovered Dr. Horner’s on your website and followed it to the letter for about a month. I really enjoyed the discoveries I was making by reading from different books of the Bible on the same day, but I sometimes found ten chapters taking more time than I had available and the amount of skipping around I was doing somewhat confusing. So I’ve come up with a six-chapter modification that seems to work well for me and am gradually transitioning into it.
    The translation I’m using this time is The 21st Century King James. It maintains the beautiful language I’m accustomed to (even “thee” and “thou”) but clears up occasional places where the original KJV uses words that are now obsolete or have changed meaning.
    Thanks so much for encouraging me to embark on this adventure.

  6. Tina July 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    I found a One-Year Bible helpful, and happened to choose the NIV. I have read other versions in subsequent years, but that version was particularly helpful on my first journey because each day’s reading included chapters from the Hebrew scriptures, the New Testament, and the Psalms. So I didn’t have to get all the way through the Hebrew scriptures before starting the New Testament. And it’s set up so you get to read through the Psalms twice, which I loved.

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