not all who wander are lost...

long-form thoughts and reflections as I journey along

I really enjoyed this post from Derek Sivers on taking a year to read the Bible. Even if you aren't a religious person, there is value in understanding where others come from (and where, as Sivers points out, western culture originates). He has two main suggestions: sample translations and then pick something easy to understand and supplement your reading with the Bible Project; they are both great suggestions!

For the first, don't just blindly pick a translation. Read about them, their translation philosophies as well as academic reviews. Not every translation is the same. For example, while the Passion Translation likes to call itself a translation, it was made by one guy who has refused to disclose any sort of translation committee and adds a healthy dose of pet theologies that aren't in the original text. The Message is a paraphrase where the author puts everything into his own words and phrasing (I do like the Message quite a bit and respect that the author is upfront and honest about what it is and is not). Personally, I'd recommend the NRSV as it's pretty straightforward to read, is a good translation with a published/transparent committee and is used in a lot of academic resources.

The Bible Project is also a great resource to help digest what's going on in the text. The team behind it have done a great job distilling out key themes and plot points that otherwise are easily lost in such a large and open book.

Ultimately I'll just say that I've found a lot of value in reading about the cultures and faiths of people different to me - it really has built understanding that has allowed me to connect with them from a place of understanding rather than fear or concern or superiority. If the Bible is different to you, consider checking out what it actually is (and isn't).

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