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.