Why I Stopped Calling Parts of the Bible ‘Boring’

Scripture is a door and a feast if you ask the right questions.

When I started leading a Bible study at my church, I had the daunting task of choosing the first book for us to study. I don’t remember exactly why I chose Jeremiah, but I vividly remember the face a fellow seminary student made when I told her. “You’re going to have to warn them,” she said, “that it’s such a difficult book.”

So when I announced that we were spending the next six months in Jeremiah (because that is how long it takes to study 52 dense chapters), I said something I’d heard many Bible teachers say before me: “I know this book is boring. But we’re going to learn something.” I think I was trying to lower the stakes for them—or maybe for me. I was setting the bar low so that if Jeremiah held their interest even a little, that was a success.

But looking back, I regret saying it. It’s not true. Jeremiah isn’t boring. The Bible isn’t boring. Even the parts that people always say are boring are weird, gripping, and awe-inspiring. If we let them, they will absolutely command our attention.

There are books of the Bible that get a bad reputation for being tedious. We know we’re supposed to think that Leviticus is important or that the prophets are still applicable today, but we also know that everyone will nod in agreement if we admit we think they’re “a bit hard to get through.”

After years of Sunday school and youth group, the parts of Scripture I let get labeled “boring” took up a surprising amount of the whole. There’s Numbers, which starts out with a census; and Chronicles, which seems to just repeat Kings; down to Revelation, which everyone “knows” is just bizarre. In my church, …

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