Leviticus, the read through the Bible in one year widow maker.

It’s almost January 1st, which means New Year’s resolutions!

Statistically speaking, 82% of Christians will try to read the Bible in one year. (I made that stat up because blogs.)

A lot of them will think it will be easy. That is dumb. Why? Leviticus.

Genesis kind of woos you with stories. Ohhh, Adam and Eve! Joseph and his wicked awesome coat! All the stories! Dem feels!

Then you head to Exodus and you’re feeling good. I’ve got this. This is like a crazy desert soap opera. There’s a priest who just stabbed two people having sex with a spear. This isn’t a boring Bible, this is an action movie! Stallone was probably in the original, he’s pretty old.

You get all cocky and feel like you’ll have this Bible knocked out by May. What kind of loser Christian needs a whole year? You are unstoppable!

And then … Leviticus.

In order to seem relevant, I have to contractually say, it came in “like a wrecking ball.”

Suddenly, the amazing stories are gone and in their place you know what you get? Detailed information on how to tell if a sore is infectious. That’s right, a detailed analysis on what color the hair in a sore will change. Riveting!

There, stuck in the Bermuda Triangle of Leviticus you’ll start to daydream about David and Goliath. If you could only get there. If only.

March bravely into the new year my friend. Be bold and strong!

But never turn your back on Leviticus. That book will murder you.

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  1. says

    For me the widow maker was the 1-2 punch of Leviticus followed up by Numbers. If you survive the onslaught of how to deal with bodily discharges (Chapter 15 if you’re interested) you’re dropped by the genealogies, arrangements of camps, and consecrations for the next 10 chapters. This combo has taken me out of the fight many times.

    • Suzy says

      Chapter 15 makes a great background to the story in the gospels of the woman with the bleeding issue who touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed. It puts her pain and social estrangement into a much more dramatic situation that allows us to grasp the full scope of it.

  2. Brittney says

    I started reading through the Bible in June 2012…and I finished in a year. But man, some of those OT books make it tough.

  3. says

    Ah but Leviticus has all those chapter about what to do and not to do during sex that when you’re 10 years old and flipping through the Bible randomly during church because the sermon is boring, you’re like…..”is this supposed to be in here??? why don’t they ever talk about this??!”

    If Numbers didn’t do me in, it was the Chronicles. I like statistics as much as the next person…but sometimes….I don’t.

  4. says

    In college I took Intro to Accounting… A weed out class as they call it. The steps of the equations remind me of the details of Leviticus. It’s like reading through quicksand. But you can do it! (By the way I got a D in accounting and never took another business class. D for Diploma right?)

  5. says

    Yep, that was my comment, too. If you survive Leviticus you will almost certainly be too exhausted for Numbers. From a butchers manual to accounts of troops and land, it’s not quite the action movie you thought you started…

  6. David says

    You need to break it up. I started in I read daily from 4 different books. I started in Genesis 2 chapters a day, Psalms 1 chapter (when I finish Psalms I start it over again) , proverbs 1 chapter and Matthew 1 chapter. That way you don’t get bogged down in a certain genre. 5 Chapters a day 3 in the morning and 2 at night I highly recommend it.

  7. amanda says

    Try hand copying Leviticus. That one is a doozy. I should know since I finished doing just that about a week ago (after hand copying Genesis and Exodus). It was so daunting that I am now working on Matthew instead of going to Numbers. (Yes, I am hand copying the Bible. It’s forcing me to slow down and pay attention, and writing is indescribably soothing for me. I have two friends on the same journey, so I promise I’m only as weird as they are!).

  8. JWB says

    I started a one year journey in June – made it through the L&N gauntlet! I kind of feel like I should’ve earned a merit badge for it .

  9. Derek says

    I found Leviticus and Numbers to be fine; the books that really got me were 1-2 Chronicles, and especially Proverbs. Trying to read and take in each individual Proverb almost proved impossible.

  10. Garrett says

    Wow, this is hilarious, Jon. You’re spot on.

    For me, all the regulations and technicalities of the Torah make the Gospel seem that much more wonderful. Good News indeed!

  11. Janessa says

    2nd half of Joshua is what did it for me! Chapters and chapters of which tribe got which land! But then Judges sure made things interesting again…

  12. says

    Leviticus was probably one of the more practical books for them.

    Imagine a book on health care being relevant today.

    If one is responsible for child care for future men, the material has some alternative uses.

    I’ve heard there are parallels with Hebrews in the New Testament.

    13,337 days

  13. says

    I started reading the OT while also listening to an OT Overview class on iTunesU. It gave me a whole new perspective on some of the “boring” books like Leviticus which is basically a treatise on why we need forgiveness.

  14. says

    I’ve actually made it through the Bible every year for several years now. I’m with the throngs that can manage through Lev…it’s Numbers and Chronicles that get me.

    However, my biggest, “huh?” is Nahum and Obadiah. Every single year I wonder, “What in the world is this in the Bible for?” I just don’t get it. At least with Leviticus I can remind myself through it that God is holy and stuff like that. But Nahum? I got nothing.

  15. says

    I read through the Bible in 90 Days… and breeze right on through numbers and Leviticus… reading them in a big chunk lets you dodge death. Also in 90 days I keep up with what I have read about better.

  16. Fred says

    This has to be one of the funniest posts I’ve read in a while. It’s funny because it’s so true!
    I will try again next year. I have never completed the Bible in one year, but there’s always a first time!

  17. says

    HaHa! This is so true! I hope I don’t get hit by lightning, but the book that follows Lev. is just as challenging. Sometimes I read the words, but I don’t know what I just read because my mind kind of wanders during that part. Pray for me! :p

  18. says

    As always very hilarious. I have read your book START, and I have to say thank you. Because you encouraged me to start my on blog #YOLOforGod and its been truly awesome thanks for getting me motivated and start something that could possibly go viral.

  19. says

    I have read through the Bible several times and I still don’t remember parts of it each time I do it. I feel like reading through the whole thing just to say you did it is pointless. I never got much out of it but then my motive was the issue. I love when I stumble upon something and it reaches out to me and speaks to me and then I see the same thing woven through out other passages. I will probably attempt to read through again at some point. My last attempt was using the Message thinking it would all make more sense but it didn’t. PS (This is not an attempt at a “Read through the Bible Juke”)

  20. JD Dargai says

    I’m reading Leviticus right now and I’ve actually come to really like this book. Just so interesting to see this huge world and everything in it maker get down all close and personal with his family. It’s like a dad to his son: “Now little Jimmy if you see that little red spot on your hand get bigger by tomorrow you come to daddy and we’ll check it out ok?” The extent of God’s detail and care described there gives me peace with my insecurities about my God caring.

  21. says

    Leviticus is now my most favorite book of the Bible. I was led to the late Ray Stedman’s divinely inspired sermons on what the spiritual as well as natural teachings of this great book are. He teaches that Leviticus shows us the way to holiness (wholeness). Here is the link to his website teaching on Leviticus. Check it out, you’ll never see Leviticus as boring, meaningless or a widow maker again!


  22. says

    I’m totally with you! One thing that helped me through was what Brian Hardin said about Leviticus on the Daily Audio Bible (which is how I get through the Bible in a year…) – Leviticus is God taking a people who only know how to be slaves, and teaching them how to be a nation. So even basic (gross) stuff has to be there to teach these people how to live in community and not kill each other, in any of multiple ways. :-D

    Does it make it any easier? Maybe a little. Do the “emissions” passages still make me want to run screaming? Oh, good gravy bones yes.

    • Jon Rasmussen says

      Cal, I’m also a DAB reader/listener. This year was my first time giving it a listen, tough at times, but a good way to read through. I might try it again next year, but I would suggest for others to give it a try too. It’s $2 I think and you can listen on your phone or mobile device anywhere, pretty cool. Think more podcast than Bible on cd.

  23. says

    Whoa, there. That whole priest-sex-spear episode went down in the book of Numbers. For real (Num 25:7–8).

    See, now I’m all confused. It’s like you made it through Leviticus and read Numbers (you sandbagger, you!), or are you had the gumption to bluff about having reading Exodus.

    I’m not even mad. That’s amazing!

  24. Sheri says

    I am almost done (2013 was the year) … but i thought Ezekiel was tough. my BIY version was books at a time, it did not go in order, per se… you got a break from OT along the way with NT. If Ezekiel had been earlier in the year i think it would have stopped me in my tracks. Chronicles was tough too! So proud that i am actually going to finish up — have only Zechariah, Malachi and Revelation left!

  25. says

    It’s so funny because it’s true. So many year I say I’m going to read the Bible cover to cover and I get bogged down in Leviticus. One year I actually made it through only to get bogged down in Lamentations. Lamentations is the Swamps of Sadness of the Bible . . .

  26. says

    I have an hour commute to work each way (55 miles) so I sometimes kill time listening to Spotify, podcasts, etc. One of the best ways for me to plow through those Old Testament books like Leviticus and Chronicles is to listen to them via the Bible Experience. It’s well acted and is an easy way for me to dive into the Bible. And seriously…who doesn’t want to listen to Samuel Jackson, LL Cool J, Denzel Washington and others act it out? ;)

    Grace & peace,

  27. Ethan says

    Probably because Leviticus is a bunch of rules and regulations set about to force the Jewish people to be distinct to their counterparts. None of it applies to Christianity. 90% of the old testament is irrelavent to the teachings of the new testament (which is why the Jews deny Jesus.)

  28. says

    Too true, too true.

    Or you could be like me and skip the Old Testament all together. Except for the Psalms, because their easy reading. Only me? Whatevs.

  29. Meggie Kornelsen says

    It’s my third year reading through the Bible. I’ve used the NLT Chronological Bible to do it. So much more interesting! However, I’ve got a bit behind during Ezekiel, found that a very hard read… I highly recommend chronological way of reading.

  30. says

    I’m good through Leviticus. I’m not saying it isn’t hard, but I’ve read it a few times now and I’ve actually found it helpful for understanding the rest of the Bible.

    What stops me cold is trying to get through Isaiah, Jeremiah, AND Lamentations. In fact, I’ve never done it in one go, I always have to mix in some gospels or pauline letters.

    • says

      That’s why I did one of those Old Testament / New Testament paralleled plans, so it wasn’t all Lamentations but had some Hebrews mixed in.

  31. David Lozzi says

    I just finished Leviticus like 2 days ago, and I’m dreading Numbers 10 times more. Definitely a 1 2 sucker punch.

  32. says

    Hilarious. And true. I successfully made it through the Bible in a year, yes, and Leviticus was HARD. I blogged about it, even, because with a book like it, how could I not blog about it? But I persevered and made it through and got all the way from Genesis to Revelation. I felt pretty dang good about myself, honestly, which probably wasn’t the point at all.

    • Kentara says

      Haha! Probably not, but you still get props!
      PS. I was never feeling the “read the bible in the whole year” just give me Paul’s epistles and the book of James and I’m GOOD. But now maybe cause you guys are……

  33. Mike says

    I am no fan of Joyce Meyer, but she earned my propers when she admitted that she’d never read the Bible all the way through. “One word…Numbers.”

  34. Andrew h says

    Why do you think it’s such a big deal to read number Leviticus ect. I read all of those I’m middle school just because wanted to. I finished the bible my freshman year.

  35. says

    Easiest solution is to skip straight from Exodus to Joshua and listen to teachers who can explain the types and shadows of Leviticus, etc., well. I like Joseph Prince because he talks about the Tabernacle and High Priest and stuff, but it’s all genuinely interesting stuff. Probably the reason God let so much be written about the Law was to drive home the point (painfully, if necessary) that nobody can keep it. Thank God for Jesus!!

  36. Naropa says

    If you read the Chronological version of the bible, then Job is the “widow maker”. It comes up very early in the reading and makes the faint of heart put down the book and pick up “People”

  37. Jason says

    Try skimming Leviticus. Grab a good Study Bible and read the introduction. It should explain the themes and purpose of Leviticus. The reason you read it is to understand what it communicates, not just finish the project. Once you read the intro skim the book and move in into Numbers. (Skim it in 1 day) you can also skim the first 10 chapters of Numbers. The OT makes more sense if you pay attention to dates and know the historical setting to the prophets. It comes alive! Godspeed.

  38. Christina says

    Personally Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy did it for me, Nothing like laws, procedure and more law, to make you want to remove your eyes from your head. Kings got a little old too just because there were so many failures!!

  39. ddhamlin says

    I actually like Leviticus. I never stop having the thought…”He had to tell them NOT to do that? Wow.” It’s the same reaction you have when you are reading obvious safety rules and you think. “Hmm, someone had to have done that stupid thing in order for it to have made it to the safety rules.” You know, don’t have sex with your mother, and so on. I guess humanity had to start somewhere.

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