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The Schmooze

5 Reasons To Read The Bible — Even Though GQ Says You Shouldn’t

A list of “21 Books You Don’t Have To Read” by GQ seems to exist to give 21 pretentious people the opportunity to describe the specific ways in which they are pretentious. The fact is, there is only one book in the world you absolutely should not read, and that is “Lolita”, a diamond-covered trashcan book about child rape that is the calling card of the insufferable.

In one entry, writer Jesse Ball directs readers to skip the book “The Holy Bible,” which he describes as, “repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned.” Yes, as Ball observes, the Bible is indeed “sententious,” which means “given to moralizing.” It is also exciting to ruminate over how it is that Ball is so confident about the intentions of the writers of the Bible, and if and when he will share more of his hermeneutical gifts with the world.

While we wait for more gems from Mr. Ball, let’s talk about a few reasons you should read the Bible.

1.You will sound like less of an uneducated and incurious nincompoop when you speak to the 2.3 billion Christians, 1.8 billion Muslims, and the 14.4 million Jews in the world, all of whom consider “The Holy Bible” (or some part of it) a core religious text.

2.It’s hilarious. The Bible is pretty much a laugh riot the whole way through. Check this quote from 2 Kings, 2, about what happens when you make fun of people.

Thank the New International Version Image by Biblegateway Screenshot

3.It’s just completely wild. Take this exchange from 1 Samuel:11:

Do it to it, Nahash. Image by Screenshot/Sefaria

In modern language, the exchange would go like this: Jabash-Gilead People: Please! Truce! Nahash: Sure, bitches. Our truce is you gouging out your eyes and me doing nothing, sucka’s.

4.It’s full of really good handshakes.

Image by Screenshot/Sefaria

This workplace harassment-esque scene not only showcases an impossibly intimate handshake that I personally hope comes back into popularity, but also kicks off a kind of madcap love-story adventure (Abraham’s servant goes to find Isaac a wife, camel-related hilarity ensues) that could be its own standalone romantic comedy epic, starring Rachel McAdams.

5.It’s really a very nicely-written book.

Not bad. Image by Screenshot/Sefaria

Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny




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