There is almost a challenge for everything. A challenge used to be known as accomplishing a difficult feat or achieving a strict level of discipline for a set amount of time. Now a challenge has been diminished from a test of someone’s abilities to an invitation to engage in an act of unusual behavior.
I’m not saying that online or social media “challenges” aren’t difficult in some sense, but these types of challenges don’t themselves help build any virtues or ideal qualities although they do make me laugh while I mostly cringe.
An ideal challenge is one that brings about a lot of qualities we may see in others that we want for ourselves. The most popular challenges in this category include a diet or exercise challenge. Where one might not eat meat or eat only meat for given amount of time, or where one decides to exercise for the next thirty days. These challenges are great because not only do they stress the body, but also stress the mind. After several days of a bland meal the mind begins to wander towards the taste of something sweet, or when the body has been put through several consecutive rigorous workouts the mind tries to convince itself that a days rest is much deserved. We admire and seek physical challenges because we like to witness the edge of human capabilities.
The challenge I propose and the one I will be embarking on is more mental than physical. The only physically challenging part is where I may be hunched over for long periods of time trying to keep my eyes open. This is the challenge I have when I’m reading a hardcover book as opposed to the comforts of a paperless ereader. Now you might be asking why on God’s green earth would you torture yourself with the struggles of reading a book with paper pages like a neanderthal? That’s because for the next ninety days I’m going to attempt to read the entire bible in both Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). Reading the bible in english is difficult enough, but I enjoy reading so an english only bible in ninety days would be pretty simple. Having to read it in its original text, from just skimming the first few verses of Genesis, has already proven a little difficult.
At first glance I realized that the text reads right-to-left as opposed to the common left-to-right, and it also appears verbs precede their subject noun. For example, “In the beginning created God” in the common english this obviously reads as God creating the beginning, but we know from the rest of the sentence “the heavens and the earth” that is not the case.
The reason I’m doing this is to gain further insight of the scriptures and how it was originally written. Too often I’ve read about situations where verses were added, removed, or completely mistranslated. In this instance I will have every context available to me to further understand. It’ll be an interesting challenge because I have a holiday scheduled in that time and a few travel days so fitting in a reading session and a blog about the topics will be in itself another challenge, so why do it in just ninety days?
Because I’m a masochist.