Recently, I attended a class on mentoring. During the Q&A session, there was a question asking how we can encourage people to enjoy the Bible. While we did not have time to address the issue, most of us can probably identify with the problem. How can we really enjoy reading the Bible? Imagine reading 1 and 2 Chronicles through all the genealogies. Those are probably lethal recipes for sleep.
As I reflect on the question, I think there are a few ways we can do so that we can enjoy reading the bible.
1. Learn how to enjoy reading the Bible by learning the big picture
As I was thinking, I believe that one of the reasons why we dread reading the Bible is because we read the Bible in bits and pieces. When I first became a Christian, I wasn’t guided properly to read the Bible. So I was reading the Bible chapters by chapters. This is possible when we are reading narratives such as the gospel of Matthew. But what happen when we read 1 Chronicles when we have to go through so many chapters of genealogies?
One of the ways to enjoy reading the Bible is therefore learning the big picture. Each book in the Bible has a main point that the author wants to bring across. There is a big picture behind these books. One way to learn of this big picture is to read the book in one sitting. However, this may not be possible for books such as Psalms.
Another way to do so is to rely on a resource called the Bible Project. As stated in the website, the Bible Project aims to demonstrate that the whole Bible is a unified story leading to Jesus. Hence, they have released several Youtube videos on the big pictures behind each book in the Bible. On top of that, they have videos explaining how to read the Bible and several important themes in the Bible. Below is one of my favourite videos explaining the full flow of thought in the book of Leviticus.
I do find that once we know the big picture, we will find it easier to fit the individual pieces in the books into the bigger perspective. They no longer sound isolated and boring.
Disclaimer: I don’t necessarily agree with some of the interpretations that the Bible Project present but they are generally good. Do be critical when you read any interpretations on the internet, including those mentioned in this blog.
2. Learn how to enjoy reading the Bible by reading the manga
Another way that has helped me to enjoy reading the Bible is reading the manga or comic version. For those who are more visual in nature, this is a great way of supplementing our Bible reading. The best manga version that I have read so far comes from the Manga Bible series. This is a five-volume manga series based on the Bible created under the direction of the non-profit organization Next, a group formed by people from the manga industry. I have personally acquired the five volumes and have enjoyed the way they depicted the Bible. In fact, they make the Bible narrative come alive.
The only caution that I offer is that they try to harmonise the four gospels and propose a chronology of the events in the four accounts. This means that we should not just take their interpretation as what the Bible says. And this is why I said that this supplements our Bible reading, but it should never replace the Bible reading.
Otherwise, if you find it difficult to enjoy reading the bible, you can consider this route to learn more about what your Bible says. In some way, this is also another form of learning the big picture.
3. Learn how to enjoy reading the Bible by studying the Bible
The last way I can think of to enjoy reading the Bible is really to study the Bible. If you think about it, the above two points are really steps of studying the Bible. In any study of any book in the Bible, we need to learn what the book says. This involves knowing the big picture. But bible study is something more than that.
We study the Bible because we want to learn more about what the Bible says. If we are not careful, we may read our own ideas into the Bible. Not only that, we miss the riches that the Bible offers us. When we don’t enjoy reading the Bible, there is a chance that we do not understand the implications of what we read. And because we do not understand the implications, we find the Bible pointless and boring. The cycle continues as we live on like that.
I have mentioned how we can level up our Bible interpretation skills and provided some resources to go about doing these things. This is something we need to do on a constant basis. So if we find it difficult to enjoy reading the Bible, then why not dwell deeper into the texts? We may find some treasure that change how we read the Bible forever.
The bible is the basic text for our faith. If we don’t enjoy reading the bible, then we will find it difficult to grow. So what are the other ways we can enjoy reading the bible? Let me know in the comments.
I graduated from the National University of Singapore where I came to know Christ during his undergraduate days after studying the historicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My personal mission is to lead adult Christ disciples to engage the world with sound and biblical reasoning. And I am married to my pretty wife Angelina.