» What is the Read the Bible for Life initiative?
The Read the Bible for Life initiative is a whole-church initiative focused on growth in biblical literacy. The pattern in most churches will be to:
- Offer the nine-session group study (READ THE BIBLE FOR LIFE: LISTEN. UNDERSTAND. RESPOND) as a foundational experience for the whole church.
- Then the church will read through the Bible chronologically in a year, as the pastor preaches through the highlights of the Bible's grand story year.
- READING GOD'S STORY: A CHRONOLOGICAL DAILY BIBLE and/or A READER'S GUIDE TO THE BIBLE can be used day-by-day as members of the church read through the Bible together.
» What is the role of this website in the initiative?
» What are ways a church can be involved in the initiative?
» What is in the Leader Kit?
The Read the Bible for Life book (B&H, 2011), a workbook for the group study (LifeWay, 2011), three DVDs, and a CD-ROM with supplemental articles, Bible-study tools, and suggestions for the church-wide initiative.
» Whom does the initiative target in the church?
The initiative is designed to help people grow in their reading of the Bible, regardless of where they are in their spiritual maturity.
» Who should lead the initiative in a church, and how should they prepare?
Leadership of the initiative will vary from church-to-church, but the pastor(s) of a church needs to lead the way if the initiative is to succeed. It is recommended that the leadership of the initiative (pastors, elders/deacons, small-group leaders, etc.) read the book READ THE BIBLE FOR LIFE: Your Guide to Understanding & Living God's Word.
» When will the various resources be made available?
The book READ THE BIBLE FOR LIFE and the accompanying group study have a release date of January 1, 2011. READING GOD'S STORY: A CHRONOLOGICAL DAILY BIBLE and A READER'S GUIDE TO THE BIBLE will be released in Fall 2011.
» What is the difference between the book and the small-group study?
The book is based around a narrative interview style. In the book George Guthrie interviews top scholars, pastors, and others about how to read the Bible more effectively. Small-group discussion questions and a brief exercise are also included at the end of each chapter.
The group study has taken a sixteen-chapter book and focused the most basic principles in 9 30-minute sessions. The format has George Guthrie teaching a small group, with video interviews and creative teaching segments included in the presentation of key principles for reading the Bible well. The group-study also has a workbook with 5 days of exercises for each of the 9 weeks of the study. It would be ideal for a person to go through the study and then reinforce the teaching of the study by reading through the book.
» What role is played in the initiative by the book?
The book READ THE BIBLE FOR LIFE can be bought by individuals, used in small-group experiences, and/or read by the leadership of a church. The book is designed to help lay a basic foundation for reading the Bible well. There are application exercises and small-group discussion questions at the end of each of the 16 chapters, and two Bible Reading plans are in the appendix.
» What role is played by the small-group study?
The accompanying group study, READ THE BIBLE FOR LIFE: LISTEN, UNDERSTAND, RESPOND is a nine-week, small-group seminar on reading the Bible more effectively. Each session is approximately 30 minutes long. The group study sessions contain the most basic principles from the READ THE BIBLE FOR LIFE book and is meant to be the beginning place for the vast majority of people in the church. The group-study is facilitated by a workbook, which contains five days of exercises for each week. There also are small-group discussion questions for each week. The idea is that most churches will offer the small-group study to the whole church prior to the church reading through the Bible as a community in a year's time. Yet, the study can also be used for basic education of new believers or new members in the life of a church. It can be used in any small-group experience or even individually.
» How much time is needed for the video sessions each week?
Each video session is approximately 30 minutes in length. You should set aside at least 30 minutes for small-group discussion. If it works with your schedule, 45 min. of small-group discussion time is even better. The format of a given week is as follows:
- Small group discussion to:
- overview the video session of the previous week
- discuss the small-group questions for the week (which are based on the exercises of the previous week).
- Watch the next Video
- Optional: there can be a question/answer time at the end of the video for the leader to field questions about the video session.
» Can the small-group study be done other than in a weekly format?
Yes. For example, the videos and small-group sessions could be done every-other week, or over two intense weekends (like a retreat). However, the problem with the latter is that the curriculum is designed to help a person grow in basic skills of reading the Bible over time. An approach that takes at least nine weeks will be more effective.
» Are the exercises in the workbook designed for beginners?
One of our greatest challenges was to design the workbook to stretch more mature believers, while offering a beginning place for those who have not read the Bible before. Therefore, the exercises are an attempt to offer some exercises that anyone can do, while raising the bar a bit, stretching everyone to grow in Bible reading. This will mean that beginners should be encouraged to do what they can in the exercises and come to the small-group time ready to learn from others. No one should feel pressure to "fill in all the blanks"! The goal should be to learn something each day and understand that we are all in a process of growth in our Bible reading.
» Can individuals get access to the video sessions?
Yes. The video sessions can be downloaded for a small fee from LifeWay.com/downloads.
» What is the difference between READING GOD'S STORY and A READER'S GUIDE TO THE BIBLE?
READING GOD'S STORY is a chronological Bible, which lays out the Bible in chronological order. Based on the HCSB translation, the Bible is divided into 6 readings per week for 52 weeks. The Bible also is organized according to 3 grand "Acts" and 17 "Scenes" that carry us through the story of the Bible, from Creation to the end of Revelation. Each Act and Scene has a brief introduction to orient the reader to that Act or Scene.
A READER'S GUIDE TO THE BIBLE is also laid out according to the chronological daily reading plan (6 readings per week), but it can be used with any translation of the Bible. The main feature of the READER'S GUIDE is a brief commentary each day, coaching the reader in how to read the portion of Scripture for that day. In this way, the principles from the book READ THE BIBLE FOR LIFE and the small-group study are reinforced throughout the year. There is journaling space for each day and small-group discussion questions at the end of each week. The READER'S GUIDE also has a fold-out timeline, giving the reader the opportunity to fill in the top 100 people and top 100 events of the biblical story during the year.
» Are there discounts if we buy the resources in bulk?
Yes. The book Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding & Living God's Word, published by B&H can be bought by the case for a discount at any LifeWay retail store, online at www.LifeWay.com, or by calling 1-800-448-8032. Also, once a church has bought a Leader's Kit ($99), the church can purchase "Z-sets" of the DVDs/CD-ROM for $60 each. The Z-set is made up of the 3 DVDs and the CD-ROM from the Leader's Kit. Z-sets can be ordered by calling Customer Service at 1-800-458-2772.
» How can a pastor preach through the Bible in a year!?
Good question! The goal of this approach is to choose select, representative passages that will focus on the highlights of the story of Scripture, so that people will begin to understand the framework for the Bible's grand, amazing story. Sample sermon series will be available on this website.
» Do we have to start our read through of the Bible on January 1?
No. The materials in the initiative are not dated, but rather laid out according to weeks and days (e.g. "Week 1, Day 2," etc.). Therefore, the church could start their read-through at any point during the year (e.g., at Easter or the beginning of the school year in the Fall, or January 1).
» How can I encourage people who don't have time to read every day?
First, organize a prayer team; this is a spiritual battle. Second, don't be afraid to raise the bar. People often live down to our low expectations of them. Help people to understand that 20-30 minutes per day is discipline, but it is a fraction of the time we give to relatively unimportant tasks each day. This discipline can become a delight as we seek God in His Word on a daily basis. Finally, strongly encourage people to interact with a small group on a weekly basis. The group experience can provide a vital context for learning, accountability, and encouragement.