Engagement with the Bible (all ages)
Backed by Scripture Union, this is a reading resource that can be done individually, in groups, in families, or church communities. It has taken 100 key readings from the Bible (50 Old Testament, 50 New Testament – Essential 100) to give a general overall of the Bible Story. The aim is to encourage a Bible reading habit as well as providing an overview of the narrative of the whole Bible. The readings include an accompanying book and punch card or the increasingly popular phone app. There are also resources for children.
Live Light in 25 Words
Bible Society – October 2012. This is a campaign that aims to get Christians to register to begin a Bible reading habit, starting with 25 words for 31 days. It can be undertaken individually or in groups. There are a variety of helpful resources that the campaign offers to those who register, as you can further investigate on the website. Once registered you will receive regular emails at the time leading up to the campaign. Following the October campaign, the resources will still be available.
Two excellent book resources
· Pat and David Alexander (eds) The New Lion Handbook to the Bible. (Oxford: Lion). Later editions for the most contemporary contributors and up to date articles on topics such as archaeology, how the Bible came together, cultural perspectives, science and faith.
· Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart How to Read the Bible for all its worth (Zondervan) Now in Multiple editions. Also by the same authors How to read the Bible Book by Book. These resources look at the historical context of the Bible, and the nature of each different type of literature within the Bible. Once these factors are understood then the step towards application of the Scripture to our contexts today becomes clearer.
· Alpha course http://www.alpha.org.au/ . Course, books, reading resources, DVDs.
· Christianity Explained course and materials. http://www.christianityexplained.com/
· EDWJ (Every Day with Jesus) for New Christians – by Selwyn Hughes. Personal devotions.
Skills for Bible Study
· Milk to Meat – SOAP format – Kylie Butler. Also offers church seminars, personalized church and pastor surveys and individual Bible reading mentoring/ coaching. Australian (based in Melbourne) http://www.milktomeat.com.au/
· Marcus Curnow has some excellent guidance for approaches to the Bible including “How to run a Bible Study that doesn’t suck” . See http://marcuscurnow.wordpress.com/bible-stuff/ . Australian.
· Read the Bible for Life – George Guthrie – formulated for small groups, individuals, DVD, online, personalized reading programs. Helpful in skills on how to read the Bible, major themes in the Bible, and the different types of literature within the Bible. http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/readthebible/ . American.
· www.bibledex.com (academic but engaging introductions to each book of the Bible
Bible Studies and Personal Devotions
There are countless Bible Studies or Devotions designed for groups or individuals that are available at Christian bookstores and online organisations. They are designed to cater for a variety of different study styles, generations, and vary in their focus and function. Preference is according to your personal taste and the needs you are looking to fulfill.
· Scripture Union Resources
· Bible Notes
· Words of Hope – for people with dementia
· Daily Bread
· Encounter with God – quarterly – under 35
· Closer to God – new Christians – contemporary
· Sound Bytes USB with audio files, books, activities – for 12-13 yrs old
· Visit the Scripture Union Australia website for these resources
· Selwyn Hughes – EDWJ (Every Day with Jesus) Personal devotions and Bible passages
· Navigators – http://www.navigators.org.au/resources.php . Tools for discipleship and evangelism
· Tear Australia – http://www.tear.org.au/resources/bible-studies/ Justice and issues oriented Bible Studies and resources
· Campus Crusade for Christ – http://resources.ccca.org.au/ . Resources for discipleship, Christian growth and evangelism
· Character studies – http://www.cloudofwitnesses.org.uk/
Bible Study Groups
Your local church will assist you with what they may have available internally, or in your community. Studying the Bible in community is crucial to maintaining growth as a Christian, being able to learn from others on a discipleship journey as well as being accountable. Two organisations that focus on Bible Study groups are:
· KYB – Know your Bible
· BSF – Bible Study Fellowship
To know which tool to use, know what you are looking for (i.e.: Bible reading, Bible Studies, skills on how to interpret the Bible, background to the Bible, theology, ethics, history, etc) and the purpose for the tool
For deeper study of the Bible that will give more information and context of particular books or passages:
· Commentaries. These are available in different forms (e.g.: single book commentaries that focus on one book of the Bible in depth; the whole Bible covered in one commentary).
· Bible Dictionaries
· Theological dictionaries
· Old and New Testament surveys – overviews of the Bible with commentary, often include maps and charts.
· Bible Atlas
· Concordance – acts like an index for Bible topics, words, names, places etc. Connects verses and themes.
To cater for different learning styles, there are many resources such as:
· Videos on Bible stories/ themes/ issues – Time -Life series/ Ten Commandments/ Joseph/ many films on Jesus that are narrative or historical/ Nooma series
· Comic or cartoon versions of the Whole Bible. Excellent for any age to get an idea of the overall narrative.
· Audio bibles and podcasts. Many theological colleges offer introduction courses to the Bible online (such as units in Old or New Testament overview), some for free.
For a more narrative approach to the Bible story: the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis; Gene Edwards “The Divine Romance” (Tyndale House Publishers, 1993).
There are so many different types of Bibles available that it would be difficult to do justice to them all in this space. Suffice to say that there is a section in the book How to read the Bible for all its worth(Fee and Stuart) that focuses on which translation/ version if you are wondering about that. In terms of the ‘type’ of Bible, it is up to your need regarding size, tools available etc. Today there are also many free versions of the Bible you can download as an app for smart phones/ tablets / computers.
It may be worth considering investing in a Study Bible that includes study notes, introductions to each book of the Bible, maps, charts, concordance and cross-references.
· Online Bibles and other study tools can be found at
· Old Testament Gateway – has many other links to help with the study of the Old Testament http://www.otgateway.com/oldt.htm
· New Testament Gateway –Mark Goodacre’s website for links to New Testament Study http://www.ntgateway.com/
· A website on Reading the Old Testament http://www.hope.edu/bandstra/RTOT/RTOT.HTM
· Big Bible Project UK – dealing with Biblical literacy by using technology including social media, online Bible reading plans, community reading of the Bible. http://bigbible.org.uk/
· For more in depth Scriptural research
· You may also choose to use a smart phone/ tablet app. There are free or paid apps available including Bibles, Bible Study tools (see Olive Tree, Logos, Go Bible, Youversion for a start), audio Bibles, Bible reading plans, general resources, sermons, games, quizzes etc. The choice is endless!