Atheist Bible Study Project

Often, my religious friends talk about podcasts and such that go through an entire Christian bible in a year. As a cradle atheist (meaning I was born into and raised by a non-religious family), I have never read an entire bible before. Sure, I am familiar with a lot of the main stories of the major religions and I read a few books and chapters of the Christian bible for the purpose of understanding literature. In recent years, however, as I have gotten interested in counter-apologetics, I have thought about reading a whole Christian bible. 

I have a print copy of the New King James Version that I bought back in high school to figure out literary references for English class. However, since that is not the only English translation of the text, I did not know if that was the “best” to focus on. I have heard discussions about other translations, some more poetic, others in more easily understood language. If you would like to hear a scholarly discussion about how translations of bibles are created in modern times, take a listen the episode How to Translate the Bible: Problems and Pitfalls on Bart Ehrman’s podcast Misquoting Jesus.

I am not a religious scholar, nor an expert in ancient languages, cultures, or linguistics. I am looking at the verses as an educated woman living in the United States in the year 2023 with an understanding of modern English and German. As my surroundings are permeated by loud voices that proclaim the bible to be the literal word of a deity that we should all live by, I figured I should take a look at what those words actually are and what their literal meaning is to me. 

Since my plan was to read the whole thing, I needed something to keep me on track. So, I signed up to get an email of the Bible Verse of the Day on Bible Study Tools. That website has features to compare various versions of each verse in different English language translations, as well as in a variety of other languages. Therefore, this project involves me reading the daily quote in the New International Version and jotting down my thoughts about it. Then, I read the whole chapter that contains the quote to get some context, and aid in my personal goal of reading the whole bible. Finally, in each blog post I will examine the commonalities and differences between several English versions and the two German translations available on the Bible Study Tools website. (I am not endorsing the website, nor am I on their payroll. I am merely stating my source of information.)

List of Verses