is the bible worth reading?

  1. Fun fact: Some of those begats have a payoff later on. One New Testament author spent a good chunk of his book talking about a guy only mentioned in a genealogy. Same dude is mentioned elsewhere again as an example.

  2. I'd add that you should definitely read it if you live in a country where public policy is (claimed to be) inspired by the bible.

  3. For purely the importance of the Bible to history, and to understand the context to modern day issues that refer back to the Bible, I feel like it’s pretty important. Same reason you read classic literature. Some of it may be boring, but there’s a reason it’s as famous as it is. There’s something to be learned, no matter your religious beliefs.

  4. You can even read it with the guiding principle that you’ll look at the edits and the contributions and the narratives being pushed to see it is really just an early predecessor to a comic book. Multiple monarchs and empires revised that bad boy so when someone says they think the Bible is how we should live, I say why can’t we have the X-men comic or Harry Potter be how we make our laws?

  5. Are you a Christian who wants to realize that there are a lot of fucked up things in the Bible that take a little mental gymnastics to justify? Then yes, read it.

  6. I have read the new testament, especially the parts where Jesus teaches. I am not religious but he says some insightful stuff that resonates with me.

  7. This. Start with the New Testament. The Old Testament can be hard to read and understand the references. I think it’s best to read that one in Bible study or theology class

  8. You will find that the synoptic gospels give different versions— Luke is a bit more liberal and into social justice: “blessed are the poor” in the Sermon on the Plain. Matthew reports it as “blessed are the poor in spirit” in the Sermon on the Mount.

  9. To this comment and the others that made this even more hilarious... Bravo, I needed that laugh. I'm sure the son of the Big man upstairs himself would be "crucified" ...

  10. Not necessarily reading, but I would say it's useful to know the major stories in it at each stage.

  11. Yeah with the side effect being that you'll preemptively spoil the plot of some shows/movies when you catch the overt Biblical symbolism in the name of something.

  12. But by the same token, I’ve read so many books where the “point” is basically just that the protagonist is a parallel for Jesus. I don’t find it to be a very compelling pay off, and I’m struggling to think of an example where a story is actually elevated because it mirrors the Bible or the protagonist mirrors Jesus- always feels more like fan service to me

  13. If you're interested in apocalypse fiction, I'd recommend giving Revelations at least a skim. There's so many modern stories about the end of the world and it can be interesting to see how they draw inspiration from the Christian apocalypse narrative.

  14. This is true. As a catholic, i found the bible to be a guide on good morals and judgments. It isn't to be taken literally in many instances, however like many books there's a lesson to be learned from the stories inside.

  15. No, you're not. The bible is just recycled older stories and the bible has, like you said, already infiltrated so much literary cannon that those references all exist without the bible anymore.

  16. Yes, the Bible has a bit of everything. War, murder, incest, love, home medicinal remedies, betrayal, friendship, street wisdom....

  17. If you want to understand the foundation of the modern western world, you need a passing understanding of it.

  18. If you don't have some auxiliary material to inform you about the context you will miss a lot. Those texts are very dry if you try to read them and understand them on their own, therefore it is wise to listen to what historians, linguists, archeologists (legit ones, not the quacks who try to prove that everything in the Bible is true), and of course theologians have to say about it before reading. Biblical studies is a very rich and interesting topic.

  19. Yes, even if you don't believe in Christianity, reading a book that has had such an impact of humanity is eye opening

  20. I read one I got as a kid from front to back. It was the first "adult" book I remember recieving (besides my Dictionary)that had super thin pages, tiny beautifully styled text, and I loved the stories. I was also a kid who was reading Aesop's fables etc so I was able to read it and see the stories in a metaphorical way like I did with the other books. I remember finding it really interesting and I read it before I'd started CCD classes in the first grade (I was raised Catholic) I'm not sure what Version it was though

  21. Some Jehovah's Witnesses left a book at my house when I was little called "My Book of Bible Stories". Being a bookish kid I read the whole thing from the same perspective as I did the Aesop's Fables book my teacher gave everyone in our class, and I'm glad I did because it gave me a passing knowledge of the most well-known Bible tales. As someone who wasn't raised religious it's been good to have the foundation in terms of understanding certain literary references and historic understanding of events.

  22. It's good to have some biblical literacy if you live in North America, South America, and Europe. It helps in understanding many common idioms like "the writing's on the wall" "a fly in the ointment", "bite the dust", "nothing but skin and bones", etc etc etc. English, in particular, is full of biblically inspired expressions.

  23. Well just like some of the more popular greek myths it had a massive impact on human culture. Also too me it's more interesting than your average mythology, especially if you're reading it with the right historical context

  24. You need to take it in it’s historical context. A lot of the morality in it is barbaric by todays standards, but it was a step forward at the time. Like having rules for how to treat your slaves - it’s still endorsing slavery, but it’s a big step up from, “aw, they’re just slaves so they don’t count, do whatever you want.”

  25. The key thing is READ IT IN CONTEXT! There are special bibles with notes/annotations that explain context, so you might consider getting one of those.

  26. Reading is understanding and making up your own opinion, it's up to you, whoever tells you not to read something is a bigot

  27. Reading the Bible was seminal in my journey to atheism. Once you give it a shot, then realize how little many Christians know about their own faith, you start seeing the hypocrisy written on the wall.

  28. Agreed- i am an atheist, and i married into a christian dominionist family (except for my wife, who is a rational person). To make sure i had my talking points in order for the eventual interrogations and debates, i went through the whole thing, cover to cover, in order, nothing skipped or out of context. After reading it i was still an atheist, though i could make the case for the old testament god being a collective of ancient aliens and the experience of moses as a cosmic science experiment. Really everything is just a science experiment. I have tried to bring that up w/ the inlaws, but they don't want to hear it.

  29. It's good to be acquainted with the more popular parts of the Bible because they are referenced quite a bit in classical Western literature, for example, Shakespeare.

  30. Parts of it are interesting, but there is a lot of filler-text and hateful zealotry with no real moral point to make. In terms of both entertainment value and moral guidance, the bible, especially the old testament, is definitely "mid" compared to books like "Journey to the West", "The Epic of Gilgamesh", and "On the Nature of Things".

  31. I think that for this book, it's a matter of having the ability to understand it's mostly fictional but using some people/location/context that existed. It was modified, transcribed and translated many many times and has served elites to control people so there can’t be much credibility to it. And in my opinion, on top of that, it can be misleading because despite highlighting good values like love, compassion, forgiveness, inclusivity, etc, it also pushes people into thinking all the stories are true as described and conditioning them into believing there is “God” who is there and checking everybody and expecting each individual to do and be X, Y, Z to have a worth to his eye and that those who are not following are wrong.

  32. As a work of literature, it’s terribly uneven. Most of the good writing is in the Old Testament, but even there you will encounter boring historic prose. Some parts of the New Testament, mostly Gospel of John, will stand time.

  33. It’s one big book made up of 66 different stories, poetry books and personal letters. So yeah… it’s probably not a very cohesive “piece of literature”. It’s a collection of totally different things, written in total different times, by totally different people.

  34. If you read it all the way through, you will have read far more of it than the people who use it for whatever their agenda is.

  35. It's crappy fiction, at least the Greeks,Norse and Romans had bad ass gods they make Hollywood action movies about.

  36. You won’t get an honest answer here because it’s likely that very few people here are believers. It’s like asking a fat person if healthy food tastes good.

  37. I'm a hardcore atheist but I think it's worth a read regardless. It's a cornerstone of western culture, everything from Shakespeare to The Simpsons references it.

  38. There are some good messages, love one another, money isn't everything, be kind, be forgiving. There's also a lot of complete rubbish.

  39. It depends? If you want to, go for it. It took me three times, before I managed to read the whole bible. There are parts I really didn’t know. Some were strange (prophets), some really beautiful (psalms).

  40. Yes. It has such an enormous impact on the arts and literature and philosophy and politics of the world, it's a good idea to understand what it says.

  41. I grew up Catholic but I'm now an atheist. I've read the bible. It's worth reading even if you're not religious or spiritual.

  42. Absolutely. Whether you believe in it or not, or whether you practice the religion or not, it is a book that many people live their lives by, and a book that has caused wars around the world.

  43. I think it is worth it. I think all holy books are worth to read and consider. I'm an atheist but I think it is simply interesting.

  44. If you live in a Western culture, I think so. Especially if you like literature in general. A huge amount of Western literature uses references to and themes from the Bible. Often deliberately, but sometimes just by osmosis - things that the author just internalized and they came out.

  45. Yes. Almost none of it is true, like all ancient books of religion, but there is also lots of beautiful writing (particularly the King James Version) and you will pick up on soooo many references in your life, everywhere from Shakespeare to the Peanuts! I’m an atheist, but I get a vibe similar to looking at ancient cave paintings from early humans. Like “this is an early attempt to grapple with the mysteries of life and the universe. They didn’t have it all figured out, but neither do we. I appreciate the effort they made and how seriously they took the quest for knowledge.”

  46. Absolutely. Really interesting look into ancient middle eastern culture and mythology. I think it's worth reading it. The Qur'an as well. I'm not religious, either.

  47. Depends on your purpose in reading. To know what's actually there as opposed to what people attribute to it? Yes, it's worth reading to know. Is it a book that will keep you constantly enthralled with storylines or interesting information? Meh... Not so much.

  48. It's a source of inspiration for much of western literature, so I'd say it's worth it to read the major stories, I wouldn't recommend reading it cover to cover

  49. If you appreciate mythology, and want a deeper understanding of western history and culture, yes. Get a good modern translation with commentary (KJV is rough to read today). Treat it like you were reading the Iliad.

  50. 100%. Religion aside, because it’s foundational, cornerstone literature of Western Civilization. Everyone should know the basics, if they know how to read and think.

  51. No, because it's not a book but rather a collection of stories and documents assembled by committee and never intended to have flow, or continuity. So not unless you're really interested, but if you are then yes, but I would advise reading it with footnotes because there's a lot of different translations and a lot gets lost (or added) in the translations.

  52. My .02 as an atheist. Depends what you’re expecting to get out of it. For me, it’s an interesting read. I treat it as fiction. But the biggest takeaway is that it helps me understand people who believe in what it says.

  53. Genesis is a cool book, imo the most engaging and fascinating book in the Bible. Most of exodus is pretty exciting, you could skip some parts where it’s just describing how the ark of the covenant is constructed.

  54. If you live in a christian country, and want to get a better grasp on the foundation of the ideas that yours fellow have, and fight for, and try to impose on everyone, then it worth reading. Spoiler: genealogical parts are dull as hell.

  55. I would add it is good to study. Just reading it out of the original context and language isn't going to garner much except confusion.

  56. It’s interesting even if you’re a non believer, but it might be difficult to understand / interpret. If you could read it in a bible studies course or with a companion guide of some sort that would be ideal.

  57. Yeah. Especially if you live in a Christian dominant culture. Quite a bit of it is a slog, but there are some good lines sprinkled about, and some of the psalms have lovely bits.

  58. If you enjoy reading, then read it. There's lots of amazing, fascinating, touching, inspiring and horrific stuff in the bible.

  59. I think so. 1) Western civilization has been steeped in Christianity for hundreds of years. Reading the original text is a great way to understand the origin of many ideas and stories in our world. 2) Many people find parts of the bible insightful and inspiring, even if they are not religious.

  60. Seeing as how it’s rehashed content from previous religions and cultures, no, you aren’t missing out on anything of importance.

  61. The Bible is a collection of books that were written several centuries apart, in completely different cultural context and in languages that have since died. The richness of meaning often gets lost in translation.

  62. Yes it is. It's very interesting even if you are not Christian. There are parts especially in the old testament where there are long lists of names talking about who begat whom, they are pretty much unnecessary. It's fairly easy to read. The narrative parts are pretty good I would say, mostly engaging. It's also contains the origin of a lot of ideas and philosophies still used today.

  63. I would say yes, at least the important bits. Whether your religious or not, exploring Christianity, or even atheist, knowing a bit about what the Bible says will help you relate to people who are religious in this regard. This can also apply to the Quran or the Book of Mormon.

  64. Yes, but from a literary perspective, not a religious one. It is probably the greatest collection of storytelling ever produced.

  65. I am currently reading it in my effort to familizarize myself withideological texts that shaped history like Biblie, Quoran, Das Kapital, Mein Kampf etc.

  66. Bible; bit like sweeping magazines from the rack and enshrining them as law; bit of history, bit of fashion advice, some animal husbandry tips, some ‘Just So’ stories, those silly relationship guides (but from the 1920’s and just an historical curio now), a bit of Fortean Times weird shit and a little bit off the top shelf.

  67. Some books of the old testament are an engaging story of a nation. It's among the most complete ancient history books in the world, obviously written with the style in use in that period. Apart from few books that are incredibly repetitive, avoid it (although the rules for the diet and other rules are quite interesting to explore).

  68. Definitely! Not only you learn more about some stories/prophecies as others have mentioned, but also it improves your mental health (at least for me), gets you closer to God as you realise who He is and by obeying his commandments.

  69. It used to be more worth reading, when the people who claimed to derive their political beliefs from it actually cared what it says. Then knowing it would provide a common vocabulary & points of contact with them. Nowadays nobody seems to care what it says, so references to it just sail right past people -- it's like dropping allusions to Moliere.

  70. no there are many different versions and nobody can agree on what god really wants from them or even pull any proof of how we got created for all we know someone could have written this because they are schizo and everyone could have wasted their time over a joke for hundreds of years and the person who wrote it will be getting the last laugh.

  71. It depends if you want knowledge to call out hypocrites that use the Bible/Christianity for reasons of this or that, than yes it is. But don't worry, if you bring something in the Bible that contradicts them, they will disregard, spin it etc

  72. If you read the bible, sometimes it helps to look into the historical context of the bible. Who wrote these books, why they were written, what time period they were written, who they were written to, what was going on at the time they were written.

  73. I've never read it, but I heard an interesting take on it about how it's a collection of stories about every possible situation you could encounter and offers a lesson (appropriate to that time period).

  74. It helps you understand why Christians are so crazy and there are some cultural references that will make society easier to understand, but there is no deep truth or enlightenment in the book, instead all you will find is a mythology of a cruel despot that isn't even consistent in itself let alone with known science and history.

  75. Literally all of this. I would also add if you're going to read the bible, that the Qu'ran is probably equally as important, with the Tao Te Ching and Bhagavad Gita following.

  76. Yes. It's completely different if you don't read the correct translation. It's not that the content is different, it's what will determine how easily it flows while you read. New Living Translation is a "newer age" favorite, but of course there are several. A quick gander at biblegateway.com cam help you select the translation that works best for you. Though it's all important to Christians, if you find it a struggle to get through some of the old testament, I'd recommend starting in the new testament. More specifically, the books written by Paul in the new testament :)

  77. The bible is like going to an all you can eat buffet; there's something for everybody. Like Jesus telling people on one hand to forgive and in another place saying to kill people who don't believe in him. If you're looking for moral guidance try a book of philosophy. But if you need an excuse to oppress others, the bible is good to have handy. Also it's useful for starting a bonfire.

  78. If you simply want to understand Christianity better or at all you'd be better off by consuming other media about Christianity and maybe reading up certain passages of the bible. But reading the whole thing won't help that much, as modern Christian belief systems are basically the result of 2000 years of interpretation of said book. There are parts in the bible that barely have any relevance to the modern religion, but they might help you understand why certain things in the story happened (considering Jesus and many of his early followers were Jewish it can of course help understand Judaism of that era, and much of the old testimony is basically that: what people believed before Jesus entered the stage)

  79. 12 years of parochial school and bible study taught me that reading the bible cover to cover (KJV, NIV, doesn't matter) is the fastest route to atheism. It's basically a fantasy epic with poor character development, no plot, and just too much gratuitous sex and violence.

  80. Yes, if you have the time to read all (it gets tough) it’s worth it just to have an understanding of a central text in much of western society. Especially more so in the US where people constantly try to legislate their interpretation of the books onto everyone else.

  81. Yeah, even if you don't believe in it it's pretty interesting as a story. It's even funny sometimes like in the books of Daniel and Elijah.

  82. I'm listening to "Bible in a Year" podcast, and its honestly helping me connect some dots in several areas of life. Under 100 days to go!

  83. No. Most of it is irrelevant. The majority of the book is a collection of fables and fairy tales from the bronze age mixed together with horrific tales of child rape, torture, and an evil, capricious "god" that acts more like a jealous human dictator than some spiritually superior being.

  84. If you are interested in religion then it is worth reading, so you can make up your own mind about things rather than relying on other people, with their biases, telling you things.

  85. No. And i say this as someone who studied it for almost a decade. There are only two things you need to learn from it: love thy neighbor and love god (if you believe in that concept). There are also some additional, minor lessons like being rich is not the same as being good, how you should invite strangers to your home and always help those in need.

  86. Not really. If you need a book to teach you things like ‘be generous and don’t harm people’ then I doubt it’s sinking in from a 1200 page book in unreadable English that’s already a translation of a translation

  87. No, you can rather use your time reading lovely science fiction or you can read scientific books. You can also read the old Greeks for philosophy if you want to know more about how to behave among humans or the question what is your life worth etc. But don't read the bible especially the new testament, bc a lot of the stories are changed in favour of the Christians in that time. I know stories are stories and not facts, but it is the same if you would the movie shrek 2 but instead shrek the ogre it is now shrek the wizard.

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