Tuesday, January 1, 2019


Review: 4/5 stars (Is it wrong to rate a book of scripture?)

I have been slowly concocting this review since I started reading the Bible eight months ago, so my thoughts are a bit disassociated from each other. However, I feel that I want to post this review as a testimony of my beliefs and accomplishment.

I’ve heard stories from the Bible my whole life, but this year was the first time I chose to sit down and read them for myself. Once I started reading it in April, I randomly decided my goal was to read the whole Bible by the end of the year. I had previously read all the New Testament, but I’d never read the Old Testament, other than a few chapters here and there. I did not know at the time how much effort I would have to put in every day to even make this goal a possibility.

From the very beginning, I could tell that my faith was increasing. I learned so much that I didn’t already know, and stories I did know were made clearer in my mind. I feel like I have a deeper understanding of the history of the people in the Middle East area during the first few thousand years of life on earth. And that’s all the Bible is—a history book. History has never been my strong point, but the stories have always interested me nonetheless.

The Bible is hard to read; I’m going to be honest. Besides being 1,590 pages long, it is written in English from over 400 years ago. I was reading the King James Version, the original English translation from 1611, so a lot of the language is antiquated or has changed over time. Words have lost definitions and changed meanings, verbs have lost endings, etc. What’s great about this edition though is that, with these original words, we get a lot of secondary meanings and nuances that the more contemporary versions lack. Many words used in the Bible had multiple definitions back then, and oftentimes more than one definition was used in a single context. Modern translations often omit these double meanings, sometimes creating confusion or inaccurate descriptions for readers. I personally believe the KJV is the most correct of any English version of the Bible available today, which is why I chose it as my version to read. It took me a long time to read my designated six pages a day, sometimes more than an hour because I was looking up archaic definitions and cross-references, etc. to really get the most meaning out of my reading experience. It was a journey, that’s for sure, but I’m so glad I did it (and I’m glad to be done now). I had to read the whole Bible at some point in my life, and what better time than the present.

Genesis and Exodus were the most interesting books to me, probably because that’s where all the famous stories come from. Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were full of laws and described how to perform many different kinds of sacrifices. Those books honestly dragged on and felt quite repetitive, although I understand their purpose for when they were written, showing the children of Israel how to properly live the Law of Moses. Much of the rest of the Old Testament kind of blended together, and I think my interest waned a bit after the books of Moses.

Starting the New Testament was like finally being able to breathe after holding my breath for a long time. I didn’t know before this read-through that the New Testament comprises only 25% of the Bible because the Old Testament is just so dang long. But my relief was short lived because the four Gospels are somewhat repetitive as well, telling much of the same stories of Christ’s life over and over. I guess that is a good thing though, that the Bible continues to affirm and reaffirm the teachings of Christ and that He is our Savior.

I find it interesting that many Christians I’ve talked to haven’t read the Bible before. I feel like as a believer in Christ, I should read the Bible to know the history of what I believe in. It was a testimony builder for me because I believe the Bible is true, that the stories within really happened and aren’t merely made up stories. It is clear that some things have been abridged and edited by whoever compiled the books, and we know that lots of things were changed and removed and added during the Council of Nicea, but all faults are at the hand of man, not God. God is perfect, even if his book of scripture written by man is not, and I believe that’s an important distinction to make that a lot of people disregard.

I want to note my rating the Bible four stars. My rating for this book is different than my rating for novels and other books I read. I found it hard to read through some of the denser parts of the Old Testament, and I think anyone who has read straight through the Bible, especially the King James Version, can attest to that. It wasn’t always an enjoyable read, but I am immensely glad I read it. I am also giving it four stars because I do not believe the Bible is the only scripture we have from God. He is an everlasting God, the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that means he continues to give us revelation and scripture even today, just like he did with the ancient prophets. I just cannot justify giving this book of scripture five stars when I believe that it is not entirely translated correctly and when I believe that greater, more-correct books exist.

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