Bible Study is Better in Community

CHRISTINE GORDON|GUEST If only I had a nickel, (or maybe a Starbucks tall Americano with cream), for every time I’ve heard the following: “I decided to read through the Bible. I made it all the way to the first couple of chapters of Leviticus. Then I stopped.” Yup. I’ve been there. You started with great intentions and a real desire to meet God in his word. Then you came to a verse like this, “And from the peace offering he shall bring an offering made by fire to the LORD consisting of its fat: the entire fat tail cut off close to the backbone, the fat that covers the entrails, all the fat that is on them, both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he is to remove with the kidneys” (Leviticus 3:9-10). At that point certain thoughts may have entered your mind. “Hm. Maybe I overestimated myself,” or “I mean, Bible reading is overrated, right?”  The Bible is a complicated book, and parts of it take real commitment to understand. It can be difficult to reach the point where the text is speaking to your heart and connecting you to the God you’re craving. How many genuinely Jesus-loving, God-seeking people have begun some sort of Bible study with great intentions only to stop a few days or weeks later? Then comes the shame and disappointment of quitting, along with the still present ache for a richer understanding of God’s word. Let’s step back for a moment from the world of Bible study and enter another field to help us understand what might help. A study reported by the National Institutes of Health found that 95% of those who started a weight loss program with friends completed the program, compared to a 76% completion rate for those who tackled the program alone.[1] A huge marketing push for many gyms includes a buddy program, or some sort of person-to-person accountability for those wanting to hit their fitness goals. These marketers aren’t just trying to help you make friends; they’ve tapped into something true about our God-imaging humanity: we do better together.  Genesis 1:26 reads, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” God exists in trinity; he lives in community. We, his image bearers, flourish when we do the same....

Bible Study is Better in Community2022-05-04T23:18:53+00:00

Reading the Whole Bible: A Life-Changing Journey

Many years ago, when our four children were ages four to then, I decided we should embark on a year of reading through the Bible. I chose the One Year Chronological Bible in the New Living Translation, hoping that the simpler language would help our children understand the reading. Leviticus is notoriously challenging, even for adult readers. One night, we were in Leviticus 18, and after the fifth or sixth repeated command, “Do not have sexual relations with…[your daughter, granddaughter, uncle, etc.]” (Leviticus 18:6-18), our ten-year-old son burst out, “Do we have to keep reading this?” I had to admit, it was a good question. Should we read the whole Bible? Do we really need to make our way through all the begets and begats and the barely comprehensible Levitical laws? While there are many good arguments for reading the entire Bible, I’m going to focus on one here, and then offer some tips for doing it, along with several plans to consider. A Really Good Reason to Read the Whole Bible  Why read the entire Bible? Because it is the one true overarching story (meta-narrative) that defines the life of a Christian. Authored by God himself, it introduces us to the complexities of his character and grows our wonder and worship of him. Not only that, but through the work of his Holy Spirit, the Bible transforms us into the character of Christ—every single word of it. Let’s consider how knowing the overarching story of Scripture helps us to live as glory-giving creatures of God. When we read Genesis 1 and 2 and see how marvelously and majestically God designed everything in the cosmos, we are awed at the Creator. We also reclaim our sense of self, our own God-shaped beauty and purpose, since we were created in his glorious image (Genesis 1:26-27). As we move on to Genesis 3 and read of Satan’s seduction of Adam and Eve, we recognize our own temptation to doubt God and to do things our own way; that is, to sin. The “fall” addresses our questions about the brokenness we see in our own lives and in the world around us. It also grows our gratitude for God’s abundant mercy and forgiveness of sins. Even plodding through the laws of Leviticus and the headcounts of Numbers reveals something about God and something about us: he is a covenantal King who counts his people as precious. Moving on through history and the prophets, we continue to see our King’s faithfulness to an unfaithful people....

Reading the Whole Bible: A Life-Changing Journey2022-05-05T00:21:29+00:00
Go to Top