I am not a big fan of reading things that don’t interest me. If I am interested, I will read intently. If I must read (i.e. College textbooks) I will barely retain anything, and am better off not reading and using the time and book as a reference guide for homework.
I feel similarly about the Bible. I used to try reading it cover to cover a few years back. Unfortunately, that got boring/tedious fast. I have tried opening to random pages and reading random parts of the bible, but that just seems confusing.
I’ve heard of some form of “praying with the Bible” by reading random passages and interpreting/meditating on them or something like that. I have attempted that, but I don’t understand how to do it so I just gave up. This seems like the best way to read the Bible without making it a chore that just leads to pointless day-dreaming.
Any tips on the Bible for a easily bored with reading person?
I know this sounds like an odd question but which version of the Bible do you read? I know that a lot of people have problems with certain versions because they’re hard to understand and even if they know what it means it’s not in language that they use on a daily basis
…we are told not to judge… yet, from your avatar, it seems that you tend to be idealistic, suave, and intellectual…
Have you considered that it is not the Bible but your take on it that keeps you from being able to engage and digest the Word of God?
Here are a three passages for all who Seek to ponder when studying/reading the Word of God:
[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]6:12 Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim. By those who love her she is readily seen, and found by those who look for her.
6:14 Watch for her early and you will have no trouble; you will find her sitting at your gates.
6:17 Of her the most sure beginning is the desire for discipline, care for discipline means loving her,
7:14 For she is an inexhaustible treasure to men, and those who acquire it win God’s friendship, commended as they are to him by the benefits of her teaching. 7:15 May God grant me to speak as he would wish and express thoughts worthy of his gifts, since he himself is the guide of Wisdom, since he directs the sages. 7:16 We are indeed in his hand, we ourselves and our words, with all our understanding, too, and technical knowledge.
7:21 All that is hidden, all that is plain, I have come to know, instructed by Wisdom who designed them all. 7:22 For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, active, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, sharp, 7:23 irresistible, beneficent, loving to man, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits; 7:24 for Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things. 7:25 She is a breath of the power of God, pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; hence nothing impure can find a way into her. 7:26 She is a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God’s active power, image of his goodness. 7:27 Although alone, she can do all; herself unchanging, she makes all things new. In each generation she passes into holy souls, she makes them friends of God and prophets; 7:28 for God loves only the man who lives with Wisdom. 7:29 She is indeed more splendid than the sun, she outshines all the constellations; compared with light, she takes first place, 7:30 for light must yield to night, but over Wisdom evil can never triumph.
8:1 She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things for good. 8:2 She it was I loved and searched for from my youth; I resolved to have her as my bride, I fell in love with her beauty. 8:3 Her closeness to God lends lustre to her noble birth, since the Lord of All has loved her. 8:4 Yes, she is an initiate in the mysteries of God’s knowledge, making choice of the works he is to do. 8:5 If in this life wealth be a desirable possession, what is more wealthy than Wisdom whose work is everywhere? 8:6 Or if it be the intellect that is at work, where is there a greater than Wisdom, designer of all? 8:7 Or if it be virtue you love, why, virtues are the fruit of her labours, since it is she who teaches temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude; nothing in life is more serviceable to men than these. 8:8 Or if you are eager for wide experience, she knows the past, she forecasts the future; she knows how to turn maxims, and solve riddles; she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders, of the unfolding of the ages and the times.
(Wisdom 6:12, 14, 17; 17:14-16, 21-30; 8:8)
There is so much given to us in Scriptures… there are levels and depths within levels and depths… and yes, there are dry technical/numerical/descriptive fillers that cannot but slow down even the most analytical and mellow mind.
Yet, even if Scriptures were to dispense with the heavy fillers, people who search them as though they were some romantic/action novel will continue to miss connecting with God’s Revelations.
Take what has been coined the shortest verse in Scriptures: “Jesus wept.”
Why? What was God conveying to them/us? Are there layers/levels to Jesus’ reaction? For whom was Jesus weeping?..
Granted, not all passages in the Sacred Scriptures are as complex/simple as this… but consider what you are giving up by refusing to engage God beyond your self-imposed limitation.
In the past I have read the Bible from cover to cover as a Lenten exercise-more than once. And parts are really hard to get through, esp. parts of the OT.
If it is hard for you to read-go to the library and get the Bible on tape or the record version. Play it in a quite background or setting in your room or in the car as you drive. You will be surprised how much you will absorb.
It isn’t awful to daydream. I’ll make a little side bet that even Jesus-in His human state-did a bit of daydreaming, too… You can try to direct your daydreaming by using religious prayer card images or Biblical pictures and symbols, to turn the time into small or simple meditations.
Unless you are a super saint, prayer life does not happen overnight. You will find the way that works best for you. For most of us it is a lifetime work in progress. Be patient with yourself as Christ is patient with you…and all of us. Peace and prayers.
Pray a short prayer before reading to focus your mind on God. Stick to shorter books first that are easier to get through and aren’t as tedious. I would suggest books such as Ruth, Esther, James, Philemon, Jude, and any other non-Pauline epistle. Also I would focus more on the New Testament first since it’s much shorter and easier to read. Most of the long and monotonous passages about obscure rules and genealogies come from the Old Testament anyway. And don’t worry about trying to read a whole book in one setting or reading a set number of minutes a day. As long as God knows you’re trying then you should be fine.
I have a similar kind of attention span. I dont do well reading anything from cover to cover. I recommend learning the Bible in whatever manner serves you best because one size doeant fit all. I find myself changing directions of my attention to different sections as my attention span desires. I am always in a state of transition in my Bible studies, and I have accepted that it is the way I learn best and it keeps me zealous for learning the Scriptures. I dont let myself feel obligated to any system of reading and learning. I let myself explore those things that have my interest at the time, and I may jump to something different when I find myself hitting burnout or something gets monotonous.
You don’t have to read it in large chunks either. Just one parable, story, chapter, or whatever at a time is fine.
If I were you, read the readings for mass each day, even if you don’t go to mass every day. They’re short, and enough to pray on and dig dealer if you want to or have the time.
You can find the daily readings online or in a missalette or other publication if you have one. If you find they are “too short” on a day you feel particularly motivated you could find that passage in a Bible, and read it in more context.
Another thing that might help you keep interest is lectio divine as someone mentioned above…but don’t get too caught up in doing it “properly”… just read the passage a couple times, and then I write about it in a journal. I note what stands out to me, what I’m having difficulty with, what it think means for me at that moment I.e. What is got trying to tell me, and how can I apply this passage to my life.
For me, the journaling is key especially when praying with the Bible, it’s a physical activity that can help keep interest…it stimulates more parts of your brain than just reading alone does. And writing your thoughts and reflecting can help you dig deeper into the passage. I find I think too fast, (probably a product of my generation…growing up on video games and computers didn’t help that), so I bounce from thought-to-thought so quickly I retain very little. When I take the time to write my thoughts on the scripture out, it slows me down, and I can spend some good quality brain-and-heart time with the passages.
I was recently reading through the book of Leviticus and it was challenging for me to get through because some of it is really dry. Try to mix it up a bit. Read through a bit of Leviticus, then go to something from Psalms, then back to Leviticus. Mix up your reading habit by including other books.
One way I got through it was by reading a Jewish commentary on the book, which explains a lot of the things in there. It was more or less a line-by-line commentary. That may sound duller than just reading it. Who would want to read 400 pages about Leviticus?
In some respects I find Leviticus very interesting. All these people who had to bring their best bull or ram to the Temple for sacrifice. It was like a public confession. People might have thought or said, what’d you do?
The Jewish commentary explains that a lot of the sacrifices had the purpose of re-dedicating the Temple, God’s dwelling with Israel. The sins of the people desecrated the Temple, and the blood of these sacrifices was used to re-dedicate the temple, to sanctify it, so that God would remain with them.
It really points to the role of Jesus, whose body and blood was the atonement for the sins of the world. The shedding of Jesus’ blood is harder to understand, even at all, without something before it in the Bible that explains what the sacrifice of a victim was all about.
The last chapters are called the Holiness Code. Now, I don’t remember the details, but that’s what those chapters are about – how to be holy. I can’t think of any specific examples right now.
When Moses brought the tablets down from Mt. Sinai, he found the people worshiping a golden calf. It’s thought that the cultic rules in Exodus and Leviticus were established as a “minimum” of righteous conduct. The people did not intuitively obey the commands to love God and neighbor, so a lot of these laws were given to point them in the right direction of a relationship with God. Of course, the mindless observance of these laws was not encouraged – they merely pointed the way to loving God with one’s “whole heart”.
I don’t get bored with my Bible reading. I just read it and let whatever is there reach out to me and make its impression. I also keep a journal and often my entries are the result of what I have read. I find a lot of it very interesting and especially the New Testament and the Gospels.
One thing that I find very helpful is to read it all to see what is happening and what I can learn from it.
The only parts I have ever skipped is the genealogies because they are too complex to really help me in day to day living.
It takes some self discipline, I know, but the rewards are well worth it.
I read every day “The One Year Bible – Catholic Edition”. Every day they have a reading from the Old Testament, then maybe something from the Psalms, then something from the New Testament - then at the end of the book they have a reading from the “Deuterocanonical Books” - by the end of the year I’ve read the entrire Bible.
We have to remember that the Bible is a library of books, not a single volume written by one person at one period in history. Unless we have a basic understanding of who wrote each book, why it was written, and to whom/for whom, many books and passages can be nothing other than obscure and meaningless.
Even the Psalms were written over time, each one addressing a different time period in Israel’s history and with different emphasis on different things.
Picking the Bible up cold and expecting to understand it just makes reading it that much harder. It’s no wonder so many find themselves completely puzzled and lost, thus leading to daydreaming and/or abandoning any attempt to read it.
Everyone should take a basic course on the Bible–it’s history, it’s authors, and major themes of each book/chapter/passage. A good commentary may be all that most people need. But please don’t read it cold. Do get some good resources to help you so that you can get more out of it and appreciate what the authors were conveying to their readers, and to us. A bit of education helps us be more open to receiving, not only knowledge, but the spiritual growth the Holy Spirit wishes us to obtain.