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Author Topic: how to gain a love for scripture?  (Read 1048 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: June 02, 2011, 10:02:53 PM »

Before converting, there was no Bible in the house until I brought one home from the local non-denom. Church when I was 9.  I was never taught how to navigate through it or anything by my family until I started to practice my faith after chrismation and truly became a Christian.  But now, I honestly don't have a desire to read it.  I so wish I did.  As a little kid, I was given the impression that religious things were bad, and I think that because of this, I can't just read the Bible.  I would love to read some every night, pray about and digest it, but I just don't have the drive too.

How does one acquire the drive to read the Bible?  I sit down with my Bible, but get extremely bored and end up looking at the colorful icons inside it, and then put it away.  I love to read spiritual books, just not these most important ones.   Embarrassed

any advice or tips?
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 10:12:29 PM »

Before converting, there was no Bible in the house until I brought one home from the local non-denom. Church when I was 9.  I was never taught how to navigate through it or anything by my family until I started to practice my faith after chrismation and truly became a Christian.  But now, I honestly don't have a desire to read it.  I so wish I did.  As a little kid, I was given the impression that religious things were bad, and I think that because of this, I can't just read the Bible.  I would love to read some every night, pray about and digest it, but I just don't have the drive too.

How does one acquire the drive to read the Bible?  I sit down with my Bible, but get extremely bored and end up looking at the colorful icons inside it, and then put it away.  I love to read spiritual books, just not these most important ones.   Embarrassed

any advice or tips?

Just dig into it. Like learning to swim...jump in!

Don't read much at first. Forget the Old Testament entirely for now, focus on the Gospels and Epistles. Start with just the prescribed readings for the Liturgy each night. They are usually not very long. Eventually, you can expand it.

Another common rule is to read a chapter in the Gospels and two chapters in the Epistles. That's the entire New Testament in 90 days.

For me, when I first started "reading" the Bible, my biggest issue was that I didn't get it. I'm thankful for having the chance to formally study the Scriptures at the colligiate level and get the tools needed to properly navigate the Bible. For you, I'd recommend what Fr. Hopko does about reading the Bible...put into practice what you understand and ignore the rest for now. As your hunger grows, start asking questions. You have a priest. Wink
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 10:29:44 PM »

^ I totally agree. Start with the New Testament. I actually read the New Testament several times over and started the Old Testament a year or so later. I hit a rut in Isaiah (or was it Jeremiah?) three years ago, and I haven't been able to get out since. It's not for the faint of heart.  Wink (I just feel like I don't have enough knowledge of the historical context to really appreciate it; although I think that reading the Pentateuch, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are good OT books to start with)

Perhaps look for the Church Fathers' specific commentaries on NT books and read it while you are reading the book of the Bible, so you'll have something to refer to and get some insight from.
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 11:17:15 PM »

When one looks at the whole text or a copy of the Bible all in itself, it can seem, pardon my words, a little bit daunting. The whole book taken together is rather long. Try not to think of it that way: break it down into smaller parts, for instance, "Today I'll read five pages" or "Today I'll read two Epistles," something like that. When I was in another church, they had a book called the missal, which is the Bible readings segmented into daily selections (plus the prayers and hymns we'd use if we were in church). I don't know if your jurisdiction has that. There are some sites which give the daily Bible passages for Orthodox, and my parish has recently given out little booklets with a listing of the readings.

I believe this link has the OCA's readings for the day: http://www.oca.org/reading.asp

Best of luck.   Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2011, 12:20:00 AM »

Just read it (Hey, I wonder if advertisers will pick up on that phrase? Tongue).
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2011, 10:46:18 AM »

Well, I know that I have the same problem.  The simple answer is, don't let yourself not do it.  Decide to read x amount a day, and don't ever let yourself off the hook and eventually you will hopefully grow to enjoy it.  I don't necessarily agree with the advice to stay away from the OT right now, I know that it is a whole lot easier for me to read the wisdom literature (Job, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, etc.) than it is to read epistles and, to an extent, the Gospels.  It just interests me more.
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 11:10:14 AM »

Quote
If you do not feel like praying, you have to force yourself. The Holy Fathers say that prayer with force is higher than prayer unforced. You do not want to, but force yourself. The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force (Matt. 11:12).
http://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/prayer.html#
-St. Ambrose of Optina

I imagine that the same would apply for reading scripture.  Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2011, 01:47:16 PM »

I just happen to stumble upon this: http://www.sv-luka.org/library/howtoread_jp.htm Smiley Hope that helps.

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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2011, 02:03:13 PM »

Ok Trevor72694
Im not Orthodox...i'm not anything really... and i have only been learning about the bible since October last year but I LOVE IT!!! ( so its easy for me) I don't think you can just "read it" like some people have said.... if you just can't be interested SO..... i have two suggestions for you one is funny and one is serious.

Ok one is that you look at things that are to do with your own life in it....so..... like what is going on in your life.....girlfiriend??? Married??? Job??? What you are doing with your life and who you want to be in life and start from there. Ok take me for example i grew up in care and i think that way to many children are left in care by people.... left to rot there and no one cares about them enough to adopt of foster them. SO i looked up in the bible to what it had to say about kids that had no one looking out for them and James 1:27 is now my favourite scripture verse. It had allot to say about that topic and so now i ask all Christians who can....why aren't you fostering a kid?? You have space and you already have a kid so..... get to it. One more won't make allot of difference to you. That's how i learn....from bouncing of things that are going on in my life or situations that are important to me yeah??? good.

The other suggestion is this..... if you cant get motivated then i will send you a tonne of questions that i have.....and you can help me find out the answers.... that way your nose will be in the book 24/7 haha....

Poppy
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2011, 02:08:12 PM »

^ I totally agree. Start with the New Testament. I actually read the New Testament several times over and started the Old Testament a year or so later. I hit a rut in Isaiah (or was it Jeremiah?) three years ago, and I haven't been able to get out since. It's not for the faint of heart.  Wink (I just feel like I don't have enough knowledge of the historical context to really appreciate it; although I think that reading the Pentateuch, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are good OT books to start with)

Perhaps look for the Church Fathers' specific commentaries on NT books and read it while you are reading the book of the Bible, so you'll have something to refer to and get some insight from.

Yes. The OT is very hard to get, especially the Major Prophets. Not only does it require knowledge from the Pentateuch about Jewish religious practices and theology, it also requires you to be familiar with the books of 1-4 Kingdoms and 1-2 Paralipomenon (Chronicles). Then you have to match up what you know from those to the time period in which the book of prophecy was written, just to get the setting! It's definitely challenging, and if I didn't have a professor over my shoulder walking me through it and assigning me research papers, I probably wouldn't have gotten through.

Just tackle a bit of the Epistles and Gospels, and broaden your horizon as your hunger for Scripture grows (and it will). Ask questions when you feel you need to, about even the littlest things. Don't assume you understand. If there's doubt...ask. You can also ask the same people about patristics relating to those passages. The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom are an amazing companion to Scripture, once you're familiar with the Scripture from which he's expounding.
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2011, 06:53:15 PM »

Trevor:

You can also listen to an audio version. They have free New Testaments on line that can be downloaded to your computer or mp3 player. I like the ones at faithcomesbyhearing.com .

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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2011, 08:03:53 PM »

Trevor,

 The first thing I would do is pray.  Pray that God will give you the will and desire to read the Holy Bible.  But also, and this is just as important, IMO- pray that you will understand what you read (if you come to a verse you don't understand, see what the Fathers/Mothers had to say about it and ask your priest).  The second thing you might do is read from the day's Lectionary.  The OCA, GOC, and Antiochian websites all have the day's verses listed.  Two things that I do, in addition to the Lectionary is 1) I read a chapter from Proverbs every morning.  Since today is the 3rd, I read Proverbs chapt. 3.  On Wednesdays and Fridays (the weekly fasting days) I also read the book of St. James.  Also, reading a little from the Gospels is always recommended.   Just start out slowly; don't take on too much at once. 

 However you approach it, I encourage you to do so prayerfully. 
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2011, 10:01:15 PM »

I agree with Gabriel. Pray. It's also sort of a "just do it" kind of thing. I, too, have trouble getting down and doing it. If you're really serious about getting into Scripture, it may be a good idea to buy a study Bible. There are many great ones from Zondervan (a protestant publishing company), and there is also a killer Orthodox one from Thomas Nelson Inc. called the Orthodox Study Bible. It contains the LXX as the OT, with wording similar to the New King James version, and a NKJ New Testament. I believe there is also commentaries from the Fathers, Icons, etc. Here is a link to it.

http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Study-Bible-Ancient-Christianity/dp/0718003594
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2011, 09:32:14 AM »

Neon is right I have just got the Orthodox bible it is fierce!!! and also i have got one on kindle as well that i carry around with me. Seriously thats a good thing. get a kindle!!!
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2011, 02:58:52 PM »

Everyone has given great comments, but let's be sure not to give any spoilers to the OP.
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2011, 04:32:03 PM »

Neon is right I have just got the Orthodox bible it is fierce!!! and also i have got one on kindle as well that i carry around with me. Seriously thats a good thing. get a kindle!!!

Isn't the Kindle version missing the footnotes?
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2011, 05:07:01 PM »

duno mate sorry i wasn't clear with what i said..... i got the Orthodox bible hard copy and another different bible on my kindle. Its got notes with it as well though on the kindle its a study bible. But i can't tell you if the Orthodox bible on the kindle comes with the notes or not because i don't have that one on my kindle.... lolOl sorry all jumbly
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