Bible in a year: August

What have you been reading this month?

I’ve been reading Chronicles, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs in the Old Testament this month, as well as Romans and 1 Corinthians in the New Testament.

I’ve also reached the 100 mark in the Psalms!

How did you get on with Song of Songs?

David Suchet’s audio recording of this was quite something (I often listen to the Bible in the car on the way to work). Romantic poetry might be his niche.

Once you get past the erotic references and questionable similes, there are some interesting and profound insights. ‘Do not awaken or arouse love until it so desires’ is a countercultural challenge to our of world instant gratification; love is intimate and not to be taken lightly.

Song of Songs is also very complimentary towards Lebanon. I don’t know how my wife would react if I suddenly said to her, ‘Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon’. I think it’s a compliment. Maybe I’ll try it.

You’ve been reading about a lot of kings in the last couple of months in both the books of Kings and Chronicles. Do you have a favourite?

King Josiah always stands out to me, partly because he was so young when his reign began. Eight years old! He’s very likeable for being the complete antithesis of his evil father, Amon, and his even worse grandfather, Manasseh.

He was a righteous king. He’s not quite a classic Disney hero though. His death is perhaps a little disappointing. In one account, in 2 Kings, he is simply shot dead. This felt like a weak way to go for such a great king. But then in the 2 Chronicles account of his death, it’s blamed on his sin. I wanted him to be my perfect hero – I like things to be perfect, but even Josiah had faults.

You’re two thirds of the way through the Bible in a year now. If you could study one of the books you’ve read in more detail, what would it be and why?

I’d pick Acts and 1 Corinthians (sorry that’s two); one as a raw account of what Jesus’ early followers were up to, the other a more instructive book to a particular group of people. I’d love to delve deeper into them both and draw out everything we can learn for today.

If I could actually somehow speak to one of the authors, I’d probably choose one of the prophets in the Old Testament like Hosea. How did God speak to him? What was it like? What was he thinking?

You can study books of the Bible on your own or with others with our Bible Book Club resources.

What’s still to come?

I still haven’t read most of the Old Testament prophets, including the big boys like Isaiah and Jeremiah. Lots of Paul’s epistles still to go too. I’m looking forward to it.

Tom Newbold is Bible Society's Digital Fundraising Officer.

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