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Debate: Which parts of the Bible are best for summer reading?

The Pope’s advice is to dip into the Book of Tobit, the Book of Esther or the Song of Songs. What would Herald readers suggest?

By on Wednesday, 3 August 2011

PA photo

PA photo

Today Pope Benedict XVI suggested that Catholics read the Bible during their summer holiday.

It is not, probably, what first comes to mind when we come to plan our holiday reading. Scripture can seem a rather daunting option, especially for the beach.

Helpfully, Benedict XVI has recommended some passages that can be read in an hour. These include the Book of Tobit on family and marriage, the Book of Esther on the power of prayer, and the Book of Ruth on divine providence.

He also suggested, more ambitiously, “the Book of Job, which tackles the great problem of innocent suffering, Ecclesiastes, for its disconcerting modernity which questions the meaning of life and the world, [and] the Song of Songs, a beautiful poem symbolic of human love”.

In our editorial published in this week’s paper we advised dipping into the Psalms, which mix high drama with beguiling poetry.

What would Herald readers suggest?

  • Gerald Miller

    I’ll just read whatever that girl on the beach is reading.Sorry
    Actually I have a Bible near my computer and I just pick it up and open it and read something,anything.Any passage inspires me.Any day or any season.I try to take my Bible reading seriously and I usually get something out of it or the reading is very comforting to me.Thanks be to God! Thank You Jesus for my Bible! Ger

  • Jeannine

    I recommend Genesis. After reading it, you’ll realize that your problems are minuscule compared to those in Genesis.

  • Parasum

    Definitely not Esther – Psalms, perhaps, or Ecclesiasticus AKA Sirach AKA ben Sira. Or Job, as suggested. In the NT:  St. John’s gospel, Romans, Hebrews, James, Revelation (Acts is a bit too energetic for a holiday).  IOW, avoid the OT narrative stuff, because too much happens. Job is a bit too ambitious, without a decent commentary.

  • Uillidh

    Skinner: Reverend, this is Principal Skinner. I’m facing a crisis, and I didn’t know to whom to turn …
    Lovejoy: Well, maybe you should read your Bible.
    Skinner: Um, any particular passage?
    Lovejoy: Oh, it’s all good.

  • Aidan Coyle

    Definitely the Psalms are a good place to begin as they’re relatively short, although not all would readily speak to contemporary readers. For me, an obvious recommendation would be Mark’s gospel because it’s short, theologically straightforward for the average reader, and it also contains delightfully human touches in its stories of Jesus’ life and ministry which can render the historical Jesus startlingly real to readers (for example, see Mark 5:43 for Jesus’ instruction about giving Jairus’ daughter something to eat after he had raised her from the dead).