I recently heard a church leader describe his efforts to read through the Bible. “I’m in the Old Testament right now,” he said. “It’s as dry as dust.”
I’m convinced that this church leader is not alone. It’s a big problem. Many in our churches – including our leaders – do not know how to read their Bibles. They have their favorite passages and genres. They may dip in and out of Scripture. They may even diligently discipline themselves to read through the Bible every year. But they’re not able to read and enjoy all parts of Scriptures equally well. Their biblical illiteracy is startling, and it’s hurting their walk with God, and it’s hurting the church.
That’s why I’m so glad to see Read the Bible for Life by George H. Guthrie. It’s a project that aims to “improve biblical literacy in the culture and the church by simultaneously moving readers toward greater skill in reading the Bible well and a deeper commitment to applying Scripture to everyday life.” It can be used individually, in small groups, or as a church-wide project.
I first used the book Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God’s Word
this year in preparing some lectures on preaching from the genres of Scripture. Guthrie interviews top scholars in this book on how to read Scripture. It tackles foundational issues, such as how to read in context and how to read for transformation. It then moves on to how to read the genres of Scripture, before finishing with a series of chapters on reading the Bible in our modern contexts: for personal devotions, in times of suffering, with the family, and with the Church. The book’s conversational tone makes it accessible but not shallow. Guthrie has done a great job in creating a book that helps the average reader understand how to read the various types of Scripture as they were meant to be read.
You can also buy a DVD Leader Kit
that includes the book, as well as DVDs that feature nine teaching sessions with Guthrie, and files that can be used for a church-wide campaign. It also comes with a workbook. You can also download a free app for the iPhone and iPad. Later this year you’ll be able to buy Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible (hardcover
, or A Reader’s Guide to the Bible, which is a one-year reading plan with a brief commentary on each day’s Scripture.
A word about George Guthrie: I heard him teach for a week in May, and he is the real deal. I’m glad that someone of his caliber has taken on a project like this.
This isn’t a paid endorsement. Nobody asked me to post this. Disclaimer: I did receive a free kit, but only because I was in the right place at the right time, and only after I purchased the book myself. Here’s why I’m writing this: I believe that biblical illiteracy is a serious issue, and that this is an excellent resource for pastors and churches who want to address this need.
If you’re a pastor, I highly recommend that you order a kit and consider a church-wide campaign next year. Biblical illiteracy is a serious problem. Read the Bible for Life provides good, practical help that can help our people learn to read Scripture well, and to experience the transformation that comes through God’s Word.
Find out more at the Read the Bible for Life website.
Tomorrow I’ll have an interview with George Guthrie on this initiative.