Old and New Testaments. I’m already in 2 Kings. I don’t know why I didn’t start a thread about this when I started. Hmmmm. Well, I should be done within a year or so at this rate.
Good luck with Numbers. Always a fun read.
Seriously though, I ought to start chipping away at it again, as well. Perhaps I shall.
Good luck. I tried, old testament. Couldn’t get through it. Barely made a dent in it.
ETA: Let me know how it ends.
Satan did it.
Good luck, it’s tough to get through. Lots boring lists. There are a lot of passages that just don’t get talked about, and make you really wonder. There’s also a lot of wierd stuff, especially with the prophets. Reading the Bible is one of the things that pushed me toward athiesm.
Agreed. Going to follow it up with the Koran?
Seconded, hotflungwok. Reading the Bible was my last step in becoming a full-fledged atheist. Reading Numbers was very nearly my last step in becoming a full-fledged raving lunatic.
It’s been a few years since I finished reading it. I’m a pretty voracious devourer of books and it made for a heavy, lengthy meal. I read the Zondervan NIV Study Bible, so in addition to the actual text I went through all of the notes, too. I didn’t always agree with the interpretations in the notes, but it was a fascinating experience all the same. I’ve read fairly large portions in the KJV, but the only time I made it through the whole thing was with the NIV.
If you’d be interested in comparing between versions or seeing how translations might differ, I’d heartily recommend the Blue Letter Bible. It added quite a bit to the experience.
I read the Old Testament and the Q’uran in my teen years, when I was searching for the elusive thing called God. Good luck with your reading. I respect anyone who at least plows through it.
I used to be completely unreasoningly hostile against things like Cliffs Notes but I’ve eased up over the years. It might not hurt to grab something like that, at least for the historica references.
Now I still have to read the Gita, which I find harder than either of the other two. And that’s my religion, or the religion I used to be part of. Le sigh.
What was in Numbers that set you off?
I think that might be the book with “the begats,” as I always refer to it. (The genealogical lists where so-and-so begat so-and-so, etc.) I’d usually skip “the begats.”
I read it through a few times by the end of my teenage years, mostly as a way to escape the sermons in church on Sunday mornings. I picked up a copy of a Bible with the Apocrypha not long ago so I could read those books - being raised Protestant, if those books were mentioned at all, it was to assert that they weren’t part of the work - but haven’t gotten around to it. I should probably do that soon.
There was something in Numbers?
No, seriously, I was pretty overwhelmed by that book, too.
There’s a paradox involved in reading the Bible, I believe.
If you read God’s Word as determined by the editors of whichever edition you try, you’re a step or two away from the alleged Author. And unless you use a concordance you’re going to have to know a lot more about ancient languages than Shakespearean English to get the drift of what’s going on. But if you do use a concordance you’re going to have to buy into the slant of those editors and authors.
By the time you sift through all the layers of editing and translating that must exist before you can make out the content, you’re going to be so far from any original ideas (whether intended to be factual or not) that Cliff Notes can be a much better analogy than you’d like to think.
I have given it a shot or two over time, but I decided just to pore through the dictionary instead. I know the subject is supposed to change a lot there.
Funny enough, I did that when I was a teenager. It helps when people want to start quoting the Bible to justify their ignorance – I can quote other parts that contradict them My daughter, who is about to turn 15 next week, decided that it is time for her to read the Bible. She is currently reading both the Bible and Anton Levay’s Satanic Bible. It’s funny to me to think that she is walking around with both of those in her shoulder bag. She joked that her yin and yang must be in good balance. I love my kid…
At any rate, enjoy the lists!
That’s Genesis, where they have 10 generations from Adam to Noah, then 10 from Noah to Abram. As literature, the generation sections are thin on plot.
Numbers (Hebrew: In the Wilderness) is largely about the start of the journey from Sinai, certain major incidents on the journey, and the arrival at the Jordan across from Jericho. In the middle is Hukkat Parah Adumah, the law of the brown cow, the most perplexing section in the Torah.
I read it as a teen as well. Mostly so that when in the midst of a philosophical discussion when the inevitable, “You don’t read the bible much do you?”, came up, I could respond with, “I’ve read it cover to cover, you?”. Of course it was followed by Lao Tzu and the Koran, and a few others, because I’m nothing if not thorough.
Numbers, to me, read like a good book of stories slammed headlong into an awful geometry textbook. Very, very dense.
I did this when I was eight, and it gave me nightmares. I kept waking my mother up and telling her we would all die, to which (God Bless her), she would groggily respond “But not tonight. Go to sleep.”
If he’s in Kings, he’s already made it past Numbers.
But that is actually the drudgiest part, IMHO–Kings1-2, Samuel 1-2 and Chronicles 1-2. There’s a lot of lists and repetitions.
Then you get to the Prophets–easier going.
While reading cover to cover is great for those with perseverance, those without should not be deterred from reading the interesting books (each one counts as a book IMHO) individually. You will probably never lose a philosophical argument from not having read 1Chron. But Job, ya know, and Isaiah and Genesis and Psalms and Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon and probably Luke and Acts and Revelations are good choices for general literacy.
If you’re in Kings, then you’re already past Numbers, but for future reference, I really enjoyed reading it with a study companion (book, not person) that pointed out the historical significance of measuring tents and counting oxen, etc. I think the Bible is a very worthwhile read. For better or worse, it’s at the heart of Western Civilization. I’ve actually read it four times through, but only once as a non-believer. It was practically a different book to me.
Following up on what OneCentStamp said:
There’s an old Jewish tradition that says why people have two hands – one to read the Torah, and the second to follow the commentaries.