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Bible Engagement Basics Comments

Since Bible Engagement Basics was published in July 2017 I’ve been gathering comments connected with the distribution of the book. The comments have been made during face to face conversations, usually during church visits at the conclusion of a Bible Engagement Sunday service where I’ve preached a Bible advocacy message and made the book available for people to purchase. The comments have also been made by people who have read the book and then connected with me because they wanted to tell me their stories.

I would not have thought about blogging these comments if it hadn’t been suggested by a friend. He asked me about the impact of the book, and while telling him, he stopped me and said, “You should blog these stories. They’re encouraging and could be helpful.”

So here are some comments about Bible Engagement Basics:

“Thank you for your message this morning and for your book. You said things I can’t say … good things that the congregation needed to hear … just recently the Sunday School teacher asked me, ‘Who came first, Moses or Jesus?’ … Your book will help!” – Rector of an Anglican church.

“When I bought the book I thought I’d only read one or two chapters, but I ended up reading all of it. Which is unusual because I don’t usually read non-fiction books.” – Young man in his twenties.

“Thank you so much for the practical coaching and instructions through your book on how to engage with the Word of God. I have greatly benefited! I wish everyone of my staff can get to read it. It is very informative and sBEB-Front-Coverimplifies the aspects of Bible engagement so well.” – National Director of SU Uganda.

“If you can’t afford a copy of Lawson’s book, I’ll personally buy one for you. Everyone needs this book!” – Pentecostal pastor at the conclusion of a Bible Engagement Sunday service.

“I’ve never read the Bible but after hearing your message today (it was on 2 Kings 22-23) I’ve promised God that I’m going to start reading it and hope that your book helps me do this.” – Gentleman in his eighties who has worshipped in an Anglican church all his life.

After preaching a Bible engagement message at a seminary chapel service I asked one of the professors why the school, at the conclusion of the service, was giving copies of Bible Engagement Basics to their students. “Students are usually expected to buy their books. This is unusual,” I said. He smiled as he replied, “We believe this book expresses the core values that are important to us.” – Toronto Baptist Seminary Professor.

“Since reading your book I felt compelled to read the Old Testament. I’ve never read the Old Testament before and started reading Isaiah. It’s amazing. It’s like Isaiah is describing our world today!” – United Church member.

“I agree with what you said about reading the Bible. I’m a pastor from Jamaica and have been visiting family in Toronto. I go back home tomorrow. I’m taking copies of your book for some people in my congregation. It will help them.” – Baptist pastor at a Bible engagement Sunday service.

“Recently at our International Leadership Team conference in Colorado, I passed along copies of your book ‘Bible Engagement Basics’ to a number of our international regional directors. They were eager to accept it. Now the book is in Hong Kong/China, 2 directors covering the whole of Africa, India, US, France, our directors of Latin America and the Middle East.” – CEO of an international Bible agency.

“I’ve needed a handbook like this. I’m not reading the Bible as much as I should. I’m hoping this will strengthen my Bible reading.” – Middle aged lady.

“We have had a conference for SU school group leaders and members this past weekend where we have been using Bible Engagement Basics. Rather than just sell them or give them away we want, where possible, to use the book with small groups to introduce them to it and get them engaging with it so it can be maximum help to them in engaging with the Bible.” – Executive Director of SU Scotland.

“I finished reading your Bible engagement book yesterday and I enjoyed learning new things from it like Lectio Divina. I don’t usually read theological or academic books but this was easy to read! Thanks for your encouragement to emphasize reflection with reading the Word.” – Physiotherapist.

“It’s really good! I never expected it to be this good!” – Mission Agency colleague.

“I was so pleased to hear that 250 of your books were sold after the Sunday morning service … Thank you for presenting a wonderful, biblical exposition. You applied the truths accurately and meaningfully and in an interesting way. It was wonderful for me to also be blessed by hearing your message.” – Church of the Nazarene Pastor.

“It’s very potent, your book … every time I pass my Bible where it sits in the living room, I feel guilty and feel I should be reading it and nothing else!” – My mother.

© Scripture Union Canada 2018

2 Corinthians 4:5


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The Enemy of Bible Engagement

“This will be the year I read the Bible,” you say to yourself. And so you begin, with the best of intentions, but before long you’re taking strain. Then you get to Numbers and your days are numbered!

Why do so many of us struggle to read the Bible? Even when we really want to do it, we somehow fall short. Are we feeble, or what? Why can’t we muster the discipline? Why do competing priorities take precedence? Why do we struggle to focus on the text? Why?Reading-Bible

There are many practical reasons why we don’t read the Bible, but there’s one big spiritual reason that trivializes all other reasons: Bible reading takes great effort because Satan’s the enemy of Bible engagement.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Satan does everything in his power to undermine our engagement with God’s Word because he’s hell-bent on doing everything he can to destabilize, demoralize, damage or destroy our relationship with Jesus.

Here’s why: Satan hates truth because Jesus is the Truth (cf. John 14:6). And he hates the Word of God because God’s “word is truth” John 17:17.

Satan’s been the enemy of Bible engagement since the beginning of humanity. The first thing he did to undermine God’s relationship with the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden, was to twist God’s word (cf. Genesis 3:1).

Satan’s also been the enemy of Bible engagement since the beginning of Christ’s public ministry. The first thing he did to try and demolish Christ’s work to redeem and reconcile the world to the Father, was to twist God’s word (cf. Matthew 4:1-11).

Satan has been and always will be (until he’s thrown into “the lake of burning sulphur” Revelation 20:10) “that ancient serpent … who leads the whole world astray” Revelation 12:9. And one of the main ways he leads humanity astray is by blinding our minds to the value of the Word or obscuring the Gospel message that connects us with the One who is the Word. Satan uses smoke and mirrors to divert us away from God. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Let’s not forget that Satan’s called the “prince of this world” (John 12:31) because the whole world is under his control (cf. 1 John 5:19). That’s why it’s naive to think we can connect with the Bible in our own strength. We need supernatural power, a power greater than Satan’s power, in order to successfully read, reflect, remember and respond to God’s Word.

So don’t try to go it alone. Don’t think that a New Year resolution or your personal discipline will be enough for a Bible reading victory. And don’t be so arrogant to think that you can do anything you set your mind and will to do. For it takes One greater than the enemy of Bible engagement to help you get into, and stay in the Word. It takes “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,” whom God sends to “teach you all things” and remind you of everything He has “said to you” John 14:26.

There you have it. To grow stronger in Bible engagement you need to depend on the Holy Spirit. So remember to ask God daily to fill you with His Spirit (cf. Ephesians 5:18) and then open the Book and trust Him to “make everything plain to you” (John 14:26 MSG).

© Scripture Union Canada 2018

2 Corinthians 4:5