Which Bible Book is Your Most Difficult?

Posted on October 3, 2022


By David Ettinger

Happens Every Year
It happens every year – twice! It happens this way because I have read through the entire Bible twice yearly since 1987.

This means reading every book of the Bible twice a year. This includes the Book of Exodus, the most difficult book in the Bible for me to get through.


Me (at work) shamelessly posing in front of Exodus 25.

Exodus is my most difficult Bible book because I am not a builder. I am not a fixer. I don’t “work” on objects. I can barely hammer a nail into a wooden board. And mostly, I’m terrible when it comes to inches and feet, width and height, and how curtains are embroidered and sewn together.

All these endeavors concern the construction of the Tabernacle of ancient Israel, the description of which begins in Chapter 25 of Exodus. I love Chapters 1 through 24 as they consist of narrative, and I enjoy it very much.

Can’t See It
But Chapter 25 on (with the exception of chapters 32 through 34) is, to be quite honest, a slog for me. The problem is, I just can’t see in my mind’s eye what’s happening. An example of this Exodus 25:10-12:

Now they shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it. You shall also cast four gold rings for it and fasten them on its four feet; two rings shall be on one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it.

I just can’t picture that. Some of you builders reading this may think, “Man, this guy’s a loser. Where’s the problem?” And indeed, I’ve asked some of the guys at work – those who build stuff – if they can picture this, and say, “Yes, very clearly.” Thanks for nothing!

And then there’s Chapter 26, verses 1-3:

Moreover, you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and violet, purple, and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skilled embroiderer. The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; all the curtains shall have the same measurements. Five curtains shall be joined to one another, and the other five curtains shall be joined to one another.

This all flies over my empty head.

I’ve Tried
This doesn’t mean I give up on Exodus 25 and onward (as well as other “construction” passages strewn throughout Scripture). I mean, I try, I really do! I consult commentaries, review Bible dictionary books, and see what I can glean online, but it just doesn’t register.

Really, I would have to see reconstructed Tabernacle items before my very eyes – which I have – in order to fathom them. And even though I’ve seen some very good ones which I’m sure are precise representations, when I return to the Exodus text, I’m just as lost as ever!

What About You?
So though the Tabernacle portion of Exodus represents well less than 50 percent of the book, my inability to envision it makes Exodus my most difficult Bible book.

What about you? Which Bible book is the most difficult for you to wrap your mind around. Or, to word it more civilly, which Bible Book is you most challenging?