- What's On
22nd May 2015
I hope the recent preaching series on 'The Word' has freshly inspired you to read your Bible. If you missed either of the two talks you can listen here.
Here is a reminder of the four 'tips' for understanding your Bible, from the second talk:
TIP #1: Know if you are reading the Old Testament or New Testament
Not difficult! The New Testament often speaks more directly to our lives and builds on the Old Testament
TIP #2: The 'whole' sheds light on the 'part'
Read the whole Bible! Use a reading plan (suggestions here).
TIP #3: Common sense often makes sense
Understanding the literary genre (e.g. prophecy, narrative, etc.) helps understanding of the meaning.
TIP #4: Focus on the obvious not the obscure
Parts of the Bible are difficult to understand but the main messages are clear
For those who would like to go a little deeper at times in understanding the Bible the study resources mentioned below may be of interest.
1. NIV Study Bible: Having a few explanatory notes next to the Bible text as you are reading keeps things easy. A great way of digging a little deeper.
2. The Lion Handbook to the Bible: A classic! Commentary on each book of the Bible as well as plenty of background information with loads of diagrams, maps and pictures. Very helpful.
3. 'Bible Speaks Today' series: The aims of “The Bible speaks today” series is to expound the biblical text with accuracy, relate the text to life and be readable. They are very accessible and good value. There is a book on each Bible book (sometimes more than one) and even a Bible themes series. Phil Moore’s “Straight to the heart” series are also readable and accessible.
4. NICOT and NICNT series: These are read and used by scholars but still readable for others. If you want to ‘dig deep’ in Bible study then these are great commentaries to use. Not every Bible book has a commentary yet and be warned they are quite expensive! Worth the effort though. The NIV application commentary series is also a very good, scholarly but accessible series.
8th March 2015
Regular Bible reading is an important spiritual discipline for Christians and certainly something we want to encourage City Hopers to be doing. We are privileged to live in a nation with the freedom to read the Bible whenever we want: this is not the case in all areas of the world and it hasn't always been the case in England. This is a privilege we shouldn't take for granted but should make good use of!
Below are a couple of brief historic English stories that illustrate the value people have placed on being able to read the Bible in the past. I hope it will stir us to value the opportunity we have to read our Bibles today. (Source www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/)
1. William Tyndale c. 1494–1536 holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of them to be his native tongue. He fought and died for the right to print the Bible in the common, spoken, modern English tongue of his day… as he boldly told one official who criticized his efforts, “If God spare my life, I will see to it that the boy who drives the plowshare knows more of the scripture than you, Sir!”. In 1536 he was convicted of heresy and executed by strangulation, after which his body was burnt at the stake.
(If anyone has been watching the recent 'Wolf Hall' series on BBC2 then they would have heard 'Tyndale' being talked about as a background figure.)
2. In 1496, John Colet, an Oxford professor and the son of the Mayor of London, started reading the New Testament in Greek and translating it into English for his students at Oxford, and later for the public at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. The people were so hungry to hear the Word of God in a language they could understand, that within six months there were 20,000 people packed into the church and at least that many outside trying to get in! Fortunately for Colet, he was a powerful man with friends in high places, so he amazingly managed to avoid execution.
But where to start?
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3 v16).
Bible reading plans are a really helpful way to get us reading through the Bible in a regular systematic fashion. Then we will read 'all Scripture' that is useful and not just our favourite bits! There are many out there to choose from including plenty of Bible reading apps. Below are a few web links you may find helpful.
Finally, here is a Bible reading plan that I created and currently use.