Just my advice, the first time I went through the entire bible, admittedly I skipped the genealogies… why? Well I can always just look them up in a graph someplace, and what it amounts to is:
Adam and eve had another son after able died named seth. Seth had a great great grandson Noah, Noah had 3 kids who spread out and multiplied the earth. Several generations later there was David. Well after David is Jesus.
That paragraph is pretty much the highlights of all the genealogies in scripture that’s particularly relevant… There I saved you about 10 – 15 hours out of 70 in just one paragraph. If you want more detail, honestly it’s best to look at a graph then try to read it anyway, and there’s plenty out there. Just Google “Bible genealogy” then go to images.
Now over the years I didn’t ignore the genealogies, I did review them, and I even reviewed some of the pagan kings mentioned in scripture aswell. What I found particularly interesting is theres 2 different Nebuchadnezzar’s in the book of Daniel. The first one is the father who conquered Jerusalem in the time of Jeremiah and is the one inquestion in the first couple chapters of Daniel. The second one is the son Nebuchadnezzar II. While the bible does mention this it’s buried in a long list of:
“Bob begat James. James begot John. John begat Paul…..
So certainly I would recommend also Google in Nebuchadnezzar II not just ‘Nebuchadnezzar’.
The point of having a written word of God is for you to understand it. Skipping genealogies doesn’t take away from scripture, they are their so reputable people like Answers in Genesis can study it and make a graph out of them for you 😛 More importantly I would maintain, they can be a very time consuming distraction trying to read it all out. Whats relevant to you is the over all plot and concepts from Genesis to Revelation, and that you take this as the absolute truth. I think at the end of it, you’ll find scripture is more about “why you need Jesus’ rather “how to live your life”.
Aside from that…
Don’t clip verses into a convenient 2 sentence line thinking you know scripture. More over,
Don’t make assumptions either…
Let us assume we are in or near the last day. As many know, Christ tells us there will always be great deception out there, particularly towards the very end. Even the elect and especially in the church their will be great deception. If this is so, once we read the bible it may conflict with our preconceived ideas the world has spoon fed us…
I don’t mean to offend anyone, but excuse me pardon me… perhaps YOU are not exempt from being deceived.
I think for myself a good deal of what made the bible “hard” was that I was always told one thing, yet I’m reading this thing. My preconceived ideas in even some of the smallest things, became a HUGE mental block…. Always be willing to consider perhaps you’re ideas are wrong and the bible is the authority on what ever topic, even over a pastor or some other source. The faster you learn that skill, the easier reading scripture gets.
The bible describes itself in a very curious use of terms – “The Living word of God”.
Just follow me. The bible is just a book… It’s has pages, a binding, publishers page and everything else every other books have. Yet it’s living?
Don’t you find that a curious way to describe a book?
Sometimes I swear… well a better way to put this might be – There is a reason people keep going back to the bible and read it all over again later. Sure most of it is pretty straight forward and easy to comprehend. Infact old English isn’t really that far removed from modern English once you understand ‘thou’ means ‘you’ and ‘Thine’ means ‘me’.
Yet sometimes things don’t register for some reason. And I do mean it can be a sentence as simple as say;
“The king of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem”
As the bible explains itself in 2 Corinthians, there’s things God closes for our understanding because he wants us to concentrate on a different point… It could be days or even years later, you come back to the very same sentence and understand it completely – but other things you use to understand now don’t even register… This is actually a very old and abstract theory in Christian theology. You will not be the first to notice this anomaly, if you do.
The trick here is KEEP READING!
Simply read on until the text begins to register in your head. Take it as God is teaching you, and there’s things he doesn’t want you to focus on just now rather something else. This is his way of guiding you through scripture…. And indeed while this sounds a bit abstract, the concept is mentioned many several times in just about all the new testament books.
Over time, you will be able to identify the difference between this concept and say a mental block from your own preconceived ideas as mentioned earlier…. It’s not really something I could teach you or write about or download into your head, it simply takes a bit experience with it to learn it.
One last suggestion
Don’t be shy to Google… seriously. You would be amazed how bad your English really is. Sometimes even the most common English words have a definition very different in how particularly us Americans use them. There’s other things to Google aside from definitions… I believe I mentioned Nebuchadnezzar and the genealogies. Perhaps there’s something your curious about along the way, an ancient town, a map, maybe terms like “Fountains of the deep”…. Google it. Trust me when I say, it can help you find understanding simply to ask questions while reading scripture…. Though as for myself I have found that I tend to be more of independent learner then most people – this is just what I did along the way, I can only speak from personal experience.
BLAH BLAH BLAH… right?
I hear you, I know when I’m ranting, that’s done. The summary of all that is just read the Bible, and simply let the spirit lead you along the way. Yes you will have to go back over it again… Infact you might even get addicted to it… Trust me, its a fantastically written book, there’s a lot of interesting concepts. When your finished with it, you always feel like you want more of it. Though at first I know, your kinda drudging through the pages. Your going to love it.
Ok you took my advice and skipped the genealogies, now you only have 60 hours of bible reading instead of 70. I just want to put this in perspective for those thinking 60 hours is a long time to do something….
*16 +/- hours to watch all Star wars movies 1- 7
*56 hours per week invested into sleeping.
*20,912 hours to listen to all 1300 songs on this writers laptop.
*40 hours working
*350 hours to read the Bhagavad Gita BTW ( if you think for a second the bible is ‘hard’, you don’t even want to know what Buddhist go through. It’s alot easier to be with God 😉 )
* 250 hours to read The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale collection
* 120 hours to learn algebra in middle school- (minimum)
*78 hours per year in church sermons.
Just think about this list here. I suspect everyone reading this has had to learn algebra… failed miserably, eventually got it, and found they never use it again in real life 😛 In theory, you could have read the bible twice over instead of algebra in middle school… AND it would be more worth your while… just don’t tell Mrs. Fitzpatrick I said so….
Yet think also of how many times you’ve watched Star Wars, maybe some other movies… Sure maybe your not even considering Buddhism, as a christian I wouldn’t recommend it anyway…
Truth be told it’s not inhumanly possible to read scripture. It’s not even all that complicated to do. It’s really about priorities and what you choose to spend your time with. Easily you can read this whole book inside 1 week – 5 days minimum even with a job and decent sleep…
I would recommend give yourself a month atleast, so your not cramming things in your head… space it out a bit, and give yourself some time to breathe. Some say give yourself a year…. The point being, make it a priority.
Before I end this…
You might be interested in a Audio book Bible. Particularly look for “Dramatized”… but don’t mistake that word…. A dramatized tape simply means they use different voice actors for when various characters are speaking in a particular scene.
The voice actors are not saying even a single word different from the text, they are just differentiating themselves… Try listening to a regular audio book bible and you’ll see how it can just run together. You can’t really tell sometimes if say Jesus is speaking or the pharasee…. anyway, A dramatized audio book Bible is an excellent means of reading the Bible, if you pay attention… don’t let your thoughts wonder, try to stay focused. You can read along with the voice actors or you can do it while say getting ready for bed. It’s an excellent tool to help you through scripture that can make it go actually a lot faster.
What ultimately matters here is that you understand scripture. You don’t have to memorize it word for word… In history class I was always taught “Concept is what matters not memorizing dates, and even people’s names”. Anything other, then the whole point of what ever is happening likely your just regurgitating dead Jewish people names and something Jesus said 2000 years ago… It becomes meaningless that way and won’t really resonate as well as the concept presented.
I hope this article might be helpful to someone out there. In the time it took you to read all this, you could have been finished with Genesis on audio book by now 😉