A few weeks ago on my Facebook page I shared a post titled “The Bible is not boring, why do we treat it that way?“. Someone commented on my post wanting to know if I’d actually read the whole Bible because there are several boring passages. She was in the middle of reading the Bible to her kids and the book of Leviticus is boring. She’s right, it can be. I’m part of the way through my second time of reading the Bible this year and I’m in the middle of Deuteronomy (and when I read the comment I was in the middle of Exodus), and it’s boring. So, for today’s Bible lesson, let’s look at what to do with boring Bible passages.
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What to do with boring Bible passages? Find out why
Let’s start with the why, the reason a passage is boring is going to need different ways to address the boredom.
Here are the common types of boring Bible passages:
- genealogy, all the begats
- rules, what you can and can’t eat
- land grants or geography
- poetry/prophecy (maybe this is just me, I struggle with Psalms)
Which one do you struggle with? I’ve also noticed it can also be hard when you are reading large passages of any one of these. I can easily read a chapter of Deuteronomy, but 5 chapters have me wondering why I decided to do this.
So that is my first tip: if you can, break it up into shorter segments
You can do anything for a few minutes.
First thing to do with boring Bible passages: find the patterns
The laws have patterns.
I just finished reading Deuteronomy 20, and it’s all about how to conduct war (this is after all the constitution for Old Testament Israel).
It works through a pattern of what to do when they go to war. Over and over again you see the phrase “when you” and “let him.”
After finding those phrases, take a piece of paper and write down both of those phrases and write down what you learn about each of those phrases.
Looking for patterns in boring Bible passages can be a great way to draw more out of your Bible study and keep you engaged in those long lists of rules.
Next, look for what stands out in the boring Bible passage
Let’s look at genealogies. As an example, the genealogy of Jesus, in Matthew 1:6 it says “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.”
This is after generations of “Bob was the father of Harry. Harry was the father of Tom….”
It stands out and causes you to think back to who David was and who Bathsheba was.
As a matter of fact, there are 4 times the pattern changes, and each time the story adds the mother. Each of those women is an interesting story.
Or, the genealogy of Noah in Genesis chapter 5, Over and over again we are given lists of Bob had a son at 257 and he went on to have several other sons and daughters and lived for 435 more years.
Over and over again until Enoch.
Enoch walked with God.
Look for the different.
Do the math
Sometimes genealogies give you ages.
That can be fun, have you ever sat there with a timeline and figured out exactly when everyone was born and died?
Did you know Noah was one of the first people born after Adam and Eve died?
Or in Genesis 11, we get Noah’s family tree all the way down to Abraham. If I did my math right, Noah didn’t die all that ong before Abraham was born. Which had me wondering, was Noah alive when people started to build the tower of Babel?
Do the math on the genealogies to make your boring Bible passage more interesting.
Grab your colored pencils and some maps to make geography Bible passages interesting
I love maps. As a kid, I loved looking at the maps in the back of my Bible. I would trace Paul’s journeys and wander all over New Testament Jerusalem. I planned escape routes for Jesus on how he would get out of Jerusalem.
I was a strange child.
Getting back to boring Bible passages.
Draw on your maps.
That leads me into poetry…..
How to deal with poetry
I’m going to admit, poetry isn’t boring for most people.
For me, after a chapter or so I want some nice straight forward narrative.
So draw what you’re reading.
No, really, draw all the crazy stuff Ezekiel sees in his visions. They’re really crazy.