Ways of Engaging with Scripture

Scripture Engagement handout from the FOBAI Annual Meeting 2014
Author: Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement

While many tend to think of prayer and Bible reading as separate spiritual practices (e.g. first I pray, then I read the Bible), they can be even more powerful when combined into one practice of "praying Scripture."

The Forum Of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI) Annual Meeting 2014 was held in Sri Lanka, with the theme "Next Generation Scripture Engagement - The South Asian Experience". We began every morning with a time of Scripture engagement in our table groups, meditating on Psalm 1 in different ways. On the second day, the focus was on Praying Scripture.

"To pray the Scriptures is to order one's time of prayer around a particular text of the Bible." This can mean either praying the prayers of the Bible word-for-word as your own prayers, personalizing portions of the Scriptures in prayer, or praying through various topics of the Bible.

Download the handout which contains more thoughts on Praying Scripture, including insights into how George Mueller started his day:

"The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord blessing upon his precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God; searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately or less into prayer."  [more...]

A new way of getting people to get to grips with Scripture
Author: Steve Levy
Published by: Evangelicals Now (March 2010)

"There used to be just three people in our church reading through the Bible — now there are 150. One older lady, a believer since her 20s, had attempted to read the Bible through for years and every time had given up. ‘Now, together with everyone else, I think I’m going to do it’, she said."

Steve Levy describes how his church has divided everybody up into small groups - Read the Bible Together groups - which meet together once a month. Before coming to the group, people are asked to read or listen to a book of the Bible. They then come together to share what God has been teaching them: "We need to help each other. The Bible is written to be talked about. It grows. It is not bound."  [more...]

Author: Phil Green (ed.)
Published by: Biblefresh/Evangelical Alliance UK (2010)

"Why aren’t we laying subversive charges of Bible Semtex everywhere that blow people’s minds - blasts like Creation, Fall, God’s Master Plan, Adam and Christ, The Cross, Trinity and Relationships, Christ’s Glorious Achievements, and much more? Our goal isn’t to teach bland moralism but to re-shape millions of minds with God’s ‘do-my-head-in’ story of Creation, De-creation, and Re-creation in Christ. Only then can relationships, moral decision-making, and our brief lives be done fully to the glory of God.."

Published as part of the Biblefresh initiative, this free downloadable e-book is a compilation of articles by preachers in the UK. They seek to answer the question: "What does preaching need to look like in our multicultural, digital, image-soaked, biblically illiterate, global age? Does preaching need a refresh to be refreshing?"

Authors include: Greg Haslam, Krish Kandiah, Vaughan Roberts, Chris Green, Peter Mead and Derek Tibdall.  [more...]

Author: Krish Kandiah
Published by: Lausanne Global Conversation

"Many people feel the Bible is irrelevant for the modern world and unfortunately the sermon can underline that perception in two ways. First if we preach the text but do not apply it to our context, we confirm people’s suspicions that the Bible has nothing to say today. On the other hand if we preach without allowing Scripture to set the core heartbeat of our message but instead rely on holding people’s attention through great story telling or multimedia clips – this again implies that we believe the Bible has nothing to say today."

Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance UK) encourages preachers to adapt their sermons to model how to read the Bible, showing their listeners an appreciation for the Bible that can help increase biblical literacy. He argues that "raising the level of biblical literacy does not mean simply giving people more information about the Bible, or helping them find more time to read the Bible, but imparting skills that will help people enjoy the Bible in its depth and diversity, bridging the ancient text with our contemporary context and inspiring worship for its Author."

This article is part of the Lausanne Global Conversation on Scripture in Mission.  [more...]

S.O.A.P. is a method of Bible reading and journaling. It can be used with any daily Bible reading plan.

S for Scripture
Open your Bible to today’s reading (according to whatever plan you are following). Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. When you are done, look for a verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal.

O for Observation
What struck you and caught your attention in what you read? What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Paraphrase and write this scripture down in your own words.

A for Application
Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this scripture can apply to you today.

P for Prayer
This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.  [more...]

Promoting Scripture use in difficult environments
Author: Mary Beavon

“The illustrations captured the imagination of the children.”

Mary Beavon describes a Scripture Use activity their team used in an area of Cameroon where churches are small, travel is difficult, and people have little money. They developed Scripture Big Books (from Shell Books), which served to both teach the Bible and promote literacy. They were used in churches and open air. Though it is not a sustainable activity, it provides useful manuscripts and exposes people to written forms of the Bible.  [more...]