How to Read the Boring Parts of the Bible

A MINISTRY LEADER WAS CAUGHT OFF GUARD when a pastor asked her to do a reading of Scripture before the church service started. That’s all. “Just a simple reading before he preached—no commentary, no embellishments, just read it and take my seat,” said the writer for Christianity Today. “Why my sudden crisis of confidence? The text was Luke 3:23–38, the genealogy of Jesus, composed of 77 tongue-twisting names, requiring a solid two and a half minutes to read aloud from start to finish.

“The pastor, a dear friend, noted the look on my face and asked, ‘Is it weird to read that before I preach?’ Everything in me knew I should say no, but I wanted to yell, ‘Yes! I’m just going to read these endless names and wander back to my seat in the awkward ensuing silence?’”

I can relate. Though I haven’t yet read any genealogies to my congregation, I do have to slog through them in my daily reading of the bible. I just started 1 Chronicles in the Old Testament. There before me are nine chapters of names I’m not familiar with—nine chapters!!! Here’s how to do it: Skim.

Now before you call me a slacker, a cheat, or a lazy Bible reader, please know that I’ve read through these names word-for-word at least once in the twenty-plus times I’ve read through the Old Testament. You need to as well. Why?