Interacting with the Bible in community

I want to say a few things about a very accessible and simple way to read Scripture together in community. Each week I lead members of the church staff in a time we call "Shabbat" (Sabbath). It is 20 minutes of resting from our labor and enjoying God's presence. There is no "Bible study" here, but I have found it to be an incredibly rich time of interacting with Scripture in a prayerful atmosphere.

Here is what we do:
1. Read a passage together. We read one chapter a week. In recent months, we have gone through Ruth and Esther, and now we are starting Daniel.

2. Ask, "What do you hear? What do you notice in this passage?" One thing I have found is that people notice a lot of interesting things when we allow Scripture to speak to us. (That is because the Holy Spirit illuminates Scripture to us.) I have been in discussions over passages I have read dozens and dozens of times on my own and studied thoroughly, and then found completely new and valid insights that arise out of a group of people reading a passage for the first time together.

3. Pray truth from the passage. I love praying God's Word! For instance, if the passage is about Daniel's refusal to eat the king's food because it would defile him, I might pray that we also will know what defiles us and refuse to take it in. When we pray Scripture, we are praying along with God's heart. That gives us incredible confidence, and it plants Scripture deeper within us.

There is nothing particularly revolutionary here, but I can tell you this method will open up God's Word to you and your friends or family in a way that is very non-threatening, participatory, and engaging. Give it a try!

Comments

  1. I think your post represents a very significant idea. A little while back we read an article in school here called the Willowbank Report which was created by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. There is a section in that article called "The Learning Community." It emphasizes "that the task of understanding the Scriptures belongs not just to individuals but to the whole Christian community." Since I don't believe that any of us has a complete theology, it is important that each community of believers wrestle with the application of the gospel to their given context. Doing so not only recognizes our natural human makeup as more than just individuals but it also allows for us to go farther in our understanding of the application of Scripture to our given context by relying (at least in part) on the work of others.

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