How to Read Half the Bible for Lent (and Still Take Days Off)

Two years ago for Lent, I decided to read a book of the Bible every day. It was more manageable than it sounds, mostly because you don’t realize how many short books there are until you start reading them. I more or less kept to my reading plan, which included Sundays off, as Catholics do in their Lent observations (the theory being that “each Sunday is like a mini-resurrection celebration”). I worked my way through two-thirds of the books of the Bible…. which left me with 23 very long unread books.

This year, I’m picking up where I left off. Coincidentally, these unread books fit well with the Year B lectionary theme, which is all about covenanting. It’s a good time to dwell in the Abrahamic promise; the covenants the Israelites developed in the wilderness; the failed covenant of kingship; and the somewhat obtuse covenant expounded in Hebrews. Continue reading

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How to Read the Bible in 40 Days

Of course, the trick is not to read it in 40 days. What I’m aiming for is a book a day, which is about two-thirds of the Bible by books but half by actual page count. There wasn’t anything I was itching to give up this year, but I’ve spent a lot of time complaining recently (read: the last five years) about low biblical literacy. But I haven’t read big chunks of the Bible since seminary. I miss it. I can’t, in the next month, make space to read the whole Bible, but I can fit in a good chunk of it. With my life being what it is, and the election cycle being what it is, it seemed like a good time to read the Bible. Within some reasonable parameters.

When people tell me they want to get more familiar with the Bible and ask where to start, usually I say “the short books.” Start with the short books, because it’s a little like Shakespeare: the more you read, the more you enjoy it. Warm up on the sonnets, and you’ll be laughing out loud when you get to Much Ado about Nothing. The Bible is funny, at times. But the humor requires context. Continue reading