Bored: why we skip parts of the Bible, and how to quit doing that

Exodus 25-27
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Is the Bible boring?

“I’d rather be dancing in an ill-fitting school outfit instead of reading this.”

My reading plan deviated into a huge chunk of Scripture for today in Exodus.  I immediately recognized that I’m entering into a section of very elaborate instruction for the tabernacle, a section the common church-goer would gloss over.  Apparently the guy that put this reading plan together felt the same way.  Skim it and move on. Nothing to see here.

Why is this exciting or relevant?  This was regarded as inspired word at one point hundreds of years ago when they compiled the Bible canon.  Was it exciting or relevant even then? Why would anyone read this stuff?

Beloved circular logic would reason that I should read this because it’s in the Bible, and that if it’s in the Bible, it must be important. But what does this have to do with reality? The quantity of ornamental knobs and bowls being placed on a lampstand doesn’t help me with optimizing search engine results for this blog; knowing the appropriate colors to weave into the screen door for the tabernacle is irrelevant for determining appropriate finger positioning for modes on guitar.

But 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is pretty clear that ALL Scripture is inspired — a striking observation by Paul before anything was “officially” organized as the Bible. So, we need to take a harder look at this stuff before it’s completely forgettable. Here are some ways to approach territories like this one in the Bible:

Always put Jesus in the equation.  Jesus is the epicenter of the whole thing, so we must always do this. For example, in the context of Jesus’ sacrifice, the mercy seat makes a lot more sense — everything from the gold being cast to the cherubim posted on top of it, face to face. The gold?  Pure, like the unblemished sacrifice of Jesus Himself. The angels?  Their witness of Christ’s death and their appearance at the tomb.

It comes back later. Reading through other portions of the Bible brings remembrance to these scriptures, adding to their significance.  Don’t skip it just because it’s long or contains no immediate application. It’s kind of like a slow cooker — gotta let it sit, baby.

Look up specific items. O Wikipedia, how I adore thee.  Someone has already done homework on pretty much everything in the Bible, and it’s all available online.  For example, why is acacia wood being used for the ark of the covenant?  Acacia has a fragrant scent, which is symbolic of a heavenly aroma to the Lord, but also has a uniquely pest-resistant composition for preservation and is renowned for sturdiness, symbolizing longevity and integrity.  Hmm.

So, next time you blow through the genealogy between Seth and Noah, or the endless judgments on ancient civilizations as described in chunky books like Jeremiah or Ezekiel, stop being selfish about it and slow down.  The spiritual answer that you’ve probably heard would be, “Ask God to reveal to you what this means.” That works too, because there might be something in particular that smacks you in the face, but we should approach the Bible like smart people. Check out everything.  It’s worth your time.

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