As I write this, I’ve just got home from a night of studying 1 Corinthians with some St Philips women. We’ve been doing an online study put together by Ridley College and finding it useful, not only for helping us understand 1 Corinthians but also for shaping us in how we read Scripture more generally. In this study, they maintain the importance of three concepts in reading the Bible:
- Mind the Gap – the need to understand the context of the passage in its original context.
- Smell the Roses – pay attention to the details of the passage.
- Join the Dots – apply the passage to our lives today.
It’s also been excellent to hear the feedback from those people who have been attending the How to Read the Bible course on Wednesday nights that Kieran has been running, focused on Romans 8. (It is fantastic to hear our teenage student leaders, as well as some adults, memorising Romans 8.)
Those are just a couple of ways people in our community have been reading and studying the Bible together. I wonder what has been assisting you, individually and corporately, in reading and reflecting on the Bible recently. Also, what God’s been teaching you through His Word.
If you are looking for some suggestions for how you might engage with Scripture personally, here are some ways that I know some of our St Philips community have found useful:
Bible in One Year (BIOY) – If you do all of the readings in this, you will read through the whole Bible in a year (as the name suggests!). For each day there is a Psalm, an Old Testament reading and a New Testament reading, as well as a reflection from Alpha’s Nicky Gumbel on each passage. You can do all the readings or just choose some of them. Download the BIOY app for your phone and you can read it, or have it read to you if that works better for you. If you prefer a hard copy, there is a book of the BIOY reflections which will be available later this month. A number of St Philips people are currently using BIOY, so if you are wanting to engage with something numerous others are also doing, this is a good one to choose.
Tim Keller’s devotions on Psalms, My Rock, My Refuge, or his devotions on Proverbs, The Way of Wisdom – a few verses of Psalms or Proverbs, with a short reflection and prayer.
Bible reading plans on the YouVersion App. There are lots of different plans to choose from here. You can read by yourself or start a plan to do with some friends. One that gives you an overview of the Bible is The Essential 100 which covers 100 key passages of the Bible. There is also a hard copy of this plan with a reflection on passages. (Chat to me if you are interested in that.)
In my personal Bible reading, I’m currently reading Hebrews and have been reminded that the word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). I’m loving observing how this is true in the lives of many St Philips people and the transformation it’s bringing. If you are not currently engaging regularly with God’s Word, I encourage you to have a look at one of the above suggestions.