Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hitting the Wall

A while ago in church someone mentioned that she'd just finished reading the Bible cover-to-cover.

Why haven't I done that? I asked myself. I have read the entire New Testament several times and have read selected portions of the Old Testament, but there are vast areas of unchartered territory I still need to conquer. 

So I started.

Genesis went great. It's downright riveting--Adam gets created and then kicked out of the garden and Noah's trying to get his animals gathered and then Abraham shows up and there's that coat of many colors, and I could barely put it down! Exodus wasn't bad either. As I read, though, I started getting this unsettled feeling in my stomach. Something about my auspicious start bothered me deeply. I spent a few days trying to pin down what felt wrong about it all.

And then a sickening realization struck me. In 145 pages I had already covered almost every Bible story I knew. Sure, I still have David and Goliath to look forward to, and something about the battle of Jericho, but what on earth fills the other 1039 pages of the Old Testament?

I kept reading, bracing myself for the blow, and sure enough, it came. Leviticus. And after about 3 chapters full of dead lambs and goat and sacrificial altars and peace offerings and sin offerings and sweet savors I began toying with the idea of picking a new religion. Do Hindus have a shorter Bible? 

In the end, I decided to push through the wall. I bought two different books about the Old Testament. I read up on symbolism and ancient Israelite culture and Hebrew translations and I made it through Leviticus a better person. 

Then I hit the next wall: Numbers. So far: 3 chapters of numbering and sorting the camp of Israel. Turns out, there were a lot of Israelites. And I get to read about them, tribe by tribe.



  1. Haha Camber you crack me up! I love reading your blog. Good luck with the reading!!

  2. That is awesome!! You are a better person than I am for taking on that challenge. Thanks for the inspiration though.

  3. keep it up! I remember Bishop Ludlow saying about his beloved Old Testament: "a chapter a day keeps the devil away!" :)

  4. I read the Old Testament when I was on my mission. And I can honestly say that I got through it because sometimes there's just not a lot to do in the Nauvoo Visitor's Center.

  5. Watch out for Deuteronomy! It's like a repeat of Numbers...

  6. Thanks for the good laugh Camber. I know EXACTLY the feeling. It took me 2 times to read the Old Testament. Numbers is rough. I wish I could say it gets better--I found Chronicles to be quite boring. Hang in there though! YOU CAN DO IT! Just push through and do it. When you actually finish reading it you will have the greatest feeling of accomplishment!

  7. I forgot to add, though, that you really do want to read it. There are some beautiful scriptures in the Old Testament, mixed in with the monotonous repetition. I like a lot of things in Kings, Chronicles, Psalms, Proverbs. It was those moments when I thought "I'm so glad I read this" that made reading the whole thing worth it.

  8. This is Lance, not Jillyn.. I just read this post and laughed out loud. That doesn't happen too often, but your description of the old testament had me rolling. I too have had my struggles with this enormous volume of scripture. Someone once told me to skip song of Solomon because it wasn't really scripture. Let me know what you think when you get there.