Reading the Bible

by Steve Ray on August 18, 2019

A Little Poem about Bible Context

I supposed I knew my Bible,
Reading piecemeal, hit or miss,
Now a bit of John or Matthew,
Now a snatch of Genesis,

Certain chapters of Isaiah,
Certain Psalms (the twenty-third),
Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs —
Yes, I thought I knew the Word!

But I found that thorough reading
Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read the Bible through.

You who like to play at Bible,
Dip and dabble, here and there,
Just before you kneel, aweary,
And yawn through a hurried prayer;

You who treat the Crown of Writings
As you treat no other book,
Just a paragraph, disjointed,
Just a crude, impatient look.

Try a worthier procedure,
Try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture
When you read the Bible through.

To study the Bible and learn how, visit CatholicScriptureStudy. To buy Catholic Bible Study software visit Use the Promo code STEVERAY10 for a 10% discount.

Writer Amos Wells reflected our need for thorough Bible study in this verse: Leading the Way by Paul Borthwick, Navpress, 1989, p.  139. Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Phillip November 4, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Nice poem. Coming from a protestant background, now catholic, I understand how real this poem is. Once I understood the whole thing about the bible & authority, I came to notice how ignorant of the Bible I was. Nice website Steve.

Colm Barry August 7, 2014 at 7:49 AM

The “funny” thing is, when it comes to the Bible, that people read it in that way. I am aware that sermons “encourage” this by often concentrating on just one single verse. No wonder the flock does likewise (and isn’t that easier, in between a shower and the football game). But they’d never read any other book like that (except cook books – maybe they think the Bible is such a thing, leaving out all the dishes one does not like as much?).

Justin Myers August 15, 2014 at 1:27 PM

So I am curious …
How does the Catholic Church teach one to read the Bible? From Start to Finish, cover to cover from Genesis to Revelation? Does God commands us on how to read the Bible?

Peter Shafton May 28, 2015 at 2:44 PM

Great post Steve. Being Catholic (now) and a poet to boot wow.
I remember it said, that if you follow the daily mass readings for about 3 years, you would have read the whole New Testament, and most of the Old Testament right through.
Keep up the great work Steve.

Elise Hougesen May 17, 2020 at 8:09 PM

The word for rope in Aramaic is very similar to the word camel. The Peshitta Bible explains some of the confusions. Sine Jesus was speaking to fishermen working with ropes and nets, about the impossibility of threading a needle with a rope.

STEVE RAY HERE: Thanks Elise. Appreciate your comment. After researching this quite a bit, I have concluded that the word actually means camel and not rope.

However, I have seen others who make a good case for such. That word used for rope is never used in the New Testament but the word camel is always referring to the animal. That’s one of the reasons why I have concluded that the word that can easily be confused between the two is, always in the New Testament, used as the animal.

Thanks again though and God bless you.

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