Some (possibly) new questions to ask when you read the Bible

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3.16-17

Notice that the list above doesn’t include comfort- which is the primary reason many of us turn to the Scriptures. Though the Holy Spirit comforts us through the word, we are invited to experience the many facets of the power of the Bible. Below are links to three different sets of questions or practices to help enrich your study of the Bible.

7 Arrows for Bible Reading

Three Principles to enrich your spirituality through the Bible’s images, stories, and ideas.

Key Questions for Interpreting the Bible Today

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Advent 2014

Advent starts on Sunday, November 30.

If you haven’t found a devotional to use this season, here are a few you can have emailed directly to your inbox.

The Today devotional (which is year round).

Advent Devotions written by missionaries around the world.

Or, a devotion called “Reconciliation Breaking Through” which reflects on the work of reconciliation Jesus gives to his followers.

Tech Resources to enrich your Bible Reading

We continue our focus on Scripture reading for one more week.

As technology continues to develop, better and better resources are becoming available to the Christian community.

There’s nothing like a good study Bible. But what is really cool about the Faithlife Study Bible is the number of maps, diagrams, and pictures that help you understand the context of the biblical text– all just with a simple click of the mouse. Faithlife is giving away itself away through a software download, enabling you to have a study Bible on your Mac, PC, iPad or iPhone, Android, Kindle.

Another interactive Bible to check out is the Glo Bible. There are two platforms, one free, one at cost (that sometimes goes on sale). A unique feature of the Glo Bible is the number of photographs and ‘encyclopedia’ type articles that connect with places, people and things in the biblical narrative.

There’s another gift at our disposal as readers of God’s Word, though it is much less practiced– reading Scripture with people from the past. Here are two online & free resources to connect you with the writings of people from the Church across time: Monergism and CCEL. Both are searchable theological libraries full of writings from the ‘cloud of faithful witnesses.’

You and the Psalms

At Christ Community Church we’re beginning a short journey with the Bible’s song & prayerbook, the Psalms. On Sunday, Pastor Chelsey shared her prayer for the congregation through this series, that each of us would see how the Psalms are prayers that we can use today in a number of different ways: giving us words and images to pray, freeing us to express our true emotions or feelings, guiding us in theological reflection as we connect our lives with the words of the Psalms, helping us find ourselves in God’s big story and his people’s history, and serving as a launchpad for our own prayers.

To think more about what the Psalms, as God’s Word, have the power to do, read “Scripture Teaches us How to Speak.”

To read an example of the Psalms’ power today, learn from Micha and her son in “Lament and Faith and Childhood: Why my kid and I read the sad Psalms.”

To try your hand as a family, consider using these free downloadable and printable devotions from Robert and Laura Keeley.

Reading the ‘Good Book’

boy reading the BibleDon’t think you’re much of a reader? Doesn’t matter if it’s the Bible or any other book? Jared has some thoughts for you.

Have some books of the Bible that you avoid? Maybe Numbers is too boring, Judges too sad, Psalm 119 way too long… What does Leviticus really matter anyway? Jean shares how reading Leviticus changed her.

Do you read a passage, then twenty minutes later it’s gone? Or do the words and concepts seem to make no sense as to why they matter for you, today? Try these “10 questions for better Bible study.”

Want to help kids in understanding Scripture? Check out the ESV Grow! Bible.

 

This post is about Bible reading.

Photo by Imagens Evangelicas. Used with permission. Sourced by Flickr.

In Christ: The Letter to the Ephesians

This post is especially for those in our local worshiping community. Next week we’ll be starting a series on the book of Ephesians. Consider reading through Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus at least once this week. Here are a few ideas to help:

1. If you’ve read Ephesians, consider reading the letter in a different translation than the one you normally use. Multiple translations are available online at Bible Gateway.

2. Read the introductory material from a study Bible. Here’s a link to the intro in the NIV Study Bible.

3. Pray for the Church. Ephesians is a letter for the body of  believers. Use the teachings found in it as your prayer topics.

4. Ask questions about what doesn’t make sense to you. What do you want to understand better?

5. As you read, write down key verses. Try to summarize the message of the entire book in one sentence.

Doubting Thomases populate the world

Nickel Creek has a beautiful little song called “Doubting Thomas.” The chorus goes like this:

I’m a doubting Thomas
I took a promise
But I do not feel safe
Oh me of little faith

Doubt happens to all of us. What we do with it matters. More importantly, how God uses it matters.

To learn that lesson take a cue from the recently passed Dallas Willard.

“If you’re going to be a doubter, make sure you doubt your doubts as well as your beliefs.”

Watch the rest of the short interview to hear what he means and why being in community with our doubts matters to God.

Finding a resource to help with doubt is a tricky one. Can you “solve” the problem of doubt if you aren’t convinced it’s a problem but actually part of your faith development? There are lots of good books out there to support you as you wrestle, not the least of which is God’s good book, so how about a prayer?

Here’s a challenge from Stephen Altrogge. The title is enough to pique curiosity: “Jesus Doesn’t Think My Doubt Is Cool.”

Finally, here’s a video that underscores that you aren’t the only Doubting Thomas in the world:

This post provides inspiration, challenge, and a resource for Christians as they grapple with doubt.