Bible Reading

Author: Colin Marshall
Published by: The Briefing, Issue 143 (September 1994)

If I had to hazard a guess as to how many Christians engage in one-to-one Bible reading and prayer, I would say less than 1%. I have no data on this; it's just a hunch. This seems strange if it is such a simple and convenient way of spurring each other on in the faith. Why don't we do it?

In this practical article, Colin Marshall explains the WHY, the HOW and the WHO of one-to-one Bible reading.

...think about the long-term effects of meeting like this. The two friends will know the Bible better, pray regularly and deepen their friendship. They will encourage each other to deal with God and his word with integrity. As they open their lives to each other before God's word, they will “spur one another on towards love and good deeds” (Heb 10:24-25).

  [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...]

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...]

Training for small groups with DVD and workbook
Authors: Tony Payne, Simon Roberts
Published by: Matthias Media
Whatever your current Bible reading habits (or lack of them), and whatever your level of knowledge and confidence, Six Steps to Reading Your Bible will help you make progress in getting into your Bible. The course is especially designed for use in small groups, and utilizes a mix of video instruction, fun skits, Bible study, discussion, practical exercises, prayer and home assignments that will help you on the road to establishing a new and more enjoyable Bible reading habit.
The aim of this course is that people will:
  • become familiar with the basic shape and nature of the Bible
  • be motivated to read the Bible for themselves
  • learn how to apply basic reading skills to the Bible
  • learn how to apply a Bible passage to their lives
  • understand how the whole message of the Bible hangs together and centres on Jesus
  • benefit from the encouragement and experience of others, as they work together in learning to read the Bible
  • be well on the way to establishing a new habit of regular Bible reading.
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Reading big chunks of Scripture, out loud, together
Author: Carl Laferton
Published by: The Briefing, 3 November 2011

"What we are trying to do is say we want our people to know the Scripture — and how will they know the Scriptures other than by reading it? And what’s the best way to read it? I’m convinced that it’s designed to be read in big chunks, out loud, with people getting together."

Cornerstone Church in Kingston, UK, have embarked on 'The Big Read'. The idea is to read one book of the Bible each month, together in small groups.

On the first Sunday of the month, the pastor preaches an overview of the book. Then at the midweek prayer meeting, they read the first few chapters together, leaving the rest for the small groups during the other weeks of the month. They've put together a series of 10 questions to help them reflect on what they're reading.

For more details, see the article in The Briefing, which contains some provocative thoughts on Bible reading from Cornerstone's pastor, Pete Woodcock.  [more...]

How To Get Your Entire Church Reading and Enjoying God's Word
Author: Whitney T. Kuniholm
Published by: Scripture Union USA (2012)

"So a bigger vision of Bible engagement is not just that more individual Christians will form a Bible reading habit. That’s a critical first step. A bigger vision is that more groups of Christians, of all denominations, will begin reading and living God’s Word together, and as a result, the Church will be renewed and relevant for a new generation."

Reflecting on what he's learned from the E100 programme, SU President Whitney Kuniholm, asks "How can you get 'average Christians' to start and maintain a regular Bible reading habit?"

He suggests seven key elements, 'the essential architecture', to pastors and church leaders:

  1. Take Spiritual Leadership
  2. Make it a community experience
  3. Use habit-formation principles
  4. Affirm a variety of devotional methods
  5. Have a flexible format
  6. Follow a unifying theme
  7. Offer a follow-up plan…from the beginning

In conclusion, the author observes that: "When people begin reading and applying God’s Word together, a spiritual power is unleashed that can dramatically transform individual lives and entire churches."  [more...]

Author: Pauline Hoggarth
Published by: Global Christian Library, Langham Creative Projects (2011)

The Seed and the Soil explores the power of the Bible that brings about God’s transforming and liberating purposes, as well as its power as an often oppressively misused text. Characterised by a wide variety of storytelling, this book is accessible to all that read it.

Available: May 2011

The Seed and the Soil is available for pre-order.  [more...]

Read the Story. Experience the Bible.
Published by: Zondervan / Hodder & Stoughton (2011)

What is 'The Story'? It is both a book and a campaign.

The book is an abridged version of the NIV Bible, arranging the Biblical narrative in chronological order in 31 chapters. Bridging paragraphs with some explanation are included between the selections of Bible text. There are no verse numbers. A few psalms appear in the chapter on David's life, and Proverbs in the chapter on Solomon. Extracts from Paul's letters appear in the chapter of stories from the book of Acts.

As well as the main version of the book designed for adults, there are also versions for teens and for different ages of children (2-5s, 4-8s, 9-12s).

The campaign is a call for churches to take up 'The Story' as a journey through the Bible for all ages - to encourage people to grasp the Bible narrative and how the different parts of the Bible fit together. There are teaching notes for pastors and group leaders as well as video clips. This could be a 31-week series to go through the whole Story, or churches could adapt parts of it according to their needs.

One of the challenges of producing an abridged Bible is to know which passages to include and which to leave out. Not everyone will agree on the choices made. For example, The Story misses out the Tower of Babel. It would be interesting to compare different panoramic/abridged Bible products as to the decisions they have made.  [more...]