Many people who have attempted to read through the Bible start to get stuck around Leviticus. This is unfortunate for at least two reasons. First, the reader might not complete their reading through of the Bible. Second, the reader might remain unexposed to the historical and spiritual richness of Leviticus. To this end Julian Freeman offers the following three suggestions to help one read through Leviticus.
1.Buy an ESV Study Bible. This is going to sound funny, but it’s not intended to be: There are pictures in this Bible. It seriously helps. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I feel like I understand the layout of the tabernacle better now than after any other time making it through Exodus.
2. Look for Patterns. When going through a book like Leviticus, it is easy to get caught up in the details and miss the big point. For example, did you notice any recurring phrases as you read through the last 3/4 of Leviticus? From chapter 11 on the phrase ‘I am the Lord’ is repeated 49 times. That’s significant. You’ll want to read the book noticing those kinds of patterns and asking, ‘Why is this said so many times?’ That will help you understand the book as a whole.
3. Read it as Literature. While there are so many lists of laws, they are not randomly strewn together. There are particular narrative incidents given in between particular laws and commands. Why? What’s the point in putting that particular story right where it is, after that particular event? Those are the types of questions that will help you benefit from Leviticus, because they’ll keep you focused on big picture issues, rather than particular case laws.
To these suggestions I would add this. Keep a notepad and pen nearby for jotting down passages or questions that you have as you read. This allows you to keep reading without getting bogged down by looking to a commentary or some other resource. After you have accumulated a number of questions then look for answers in commentaries, study guides, etc. all at the same time. For a good mid-level commentary I would suggest Mark Rooker's commentary on Leviticus in the New American Commentary series.
HT: Tim Challies