JumpIntoTheWord

Bible Engagement Blog


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Bible Engagement Workshop

I wear two hats! My day job is serving as the President of Scripture Union Canada, and on the side, I also serve as the National Director of SGM Canada.

Me wearing two hats is a benefit to both ministries. Both SU and SGM are Bible agencies, so there are synergies that can be harnessed for mutual benefit. One area of collaboration is Bible engagement advocacy. We know, and we’ve seen, how we’re stronger together when we work together to promote connections with Jesus and His Story.

SGM’s latest initiative is a vlog called the Bible Engagement Workshop. The Bible Engagement Workshop is a free eLearning hub where people anywhere and everywhere are trained in Bible engagement. The video blogs take the form of PowerPoint presentations that are ±13 minutes long. Their meaty content cuts the fat and chews the fact!

The Bible Engagement Workshop was developed because 95% of Christians say they’ve never been taught how to engage with the Bible. When SGM heard this alarming statistic, they wondered what they could do to help. The result, a new virtual workshop every month where participants are equipped to receive, reflect, remember and respond to the Bible.

SGM Canada is hoping and praying that the workshops will help cultivate change. They want to see closed Bibles open. They want Christians to pick up their Bibles and apply the principles and practices that are taught in the workshops. And they’re dreaming about the day when most Christians will meet with God every day in and through dynamic encounters with the Word.

The Bible Engagement Workshop launches today! So, joining together for combined effect, with simulated balloons and fireworks, the Bible Engagement Blog is announcing the inauguration of the Bible Engagement Workshop!

Take some time to check it out. This is a tremendous resource for individuals, families, small groups, local churches, and schools. You can access the workshops directly through Loom, or at www.bibleengagementworkshop.com

Listen to a featured video:

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Why Pray Scripture?

Many people pray. Many people pray biblically informed prayers. Praying, or praying biblically informed prayers is different from praying Scripture.

Every Christian should pray Scripture. Unfortunately, most Christians, while they know how to pray, don’t know how to pray Scripture.

Praying Scripture is using God’s Word directly to inform and form the content of prayer. It’s praying the Scriptures word for word, praying the Scriptures word for word along with reflection on the words, or praying the themes of a Scripture passage in a manner that sticks close to the text. According to Christian spirituality professor, Evan Howard, “To pray the Scriptures is to order one’s time of prayer around a particular text in the Bible.”

Here are ten reasons why we should pray Scripture:

  1. Jesus prayed Scripture.

When Jesus was dying on the cross He prayed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46. It’s a direct quote from Psalm 22:1 and illustrates how Jesus obviously read, understood and prayed Scripture as it related to His situation or circumstance.

  1. The Israelites and early Church prayed Scripture.

The people of the Old and New Testament times prayed Scripture and meaningfully applied it to their contexts (e.g. Nehemiah 9:5-37, Acts 4:24-26).

  1. It enables us to enter into the Story.

Praying Scripture personalizes the Word. When we personalize the Word, His Story becomes our story. As this happens, we find our parts in the drama which in turn enables us to act out the roles designed for our lives.

  1. It focuses the mind and heart.

Praying Scripture changes us. It captures our imagination, forms our identities, directs our desires, and shapes our habits. When we pray Scripture, we don’t have to ask, “What should I pray for next?” or “What words should I use?”

  1. It provides meaningful content for prayer.

Sometimes our prayers are trivial or trite – the same tired ritualistic phrases. Praying the same old prayers the same old way mummifies prayer. When we pray Scripture, it provides substance, form, and a wide range of subject matter for our prayers.

  1. It strengthens interaction with the Scriptures.

Reading Scripture and praying Scripture go hand in hand. Bible reading enables us to pray more vividly and expressively. The more you pray Scripture the more you’ll read Scripture, and the more you read Scripture the more you’ll pray Scripture. Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology Andy Naselli says, “But if we pray Scripture as we read through the Bible, that will force us to pray about a rich variety of issues in scriptural proportion.”

  1. It cultivates breadth and depth in our prayers.

To pray Scripture we must read and reflect on Scripture. The process of reading and reflecting on Scripture cultivates breadth and depth in our prayers. Left to ourselves, our prayers have a narrow focus, but the Scriptures open us up to many things we can and should be praying. As author and teacher, John Piper reminds us, “If we don’t form the habit of praying the Scriptures, our prayers … eventually revolve entirely around our immediate private concerns, rather than God’s larger purposes.”

  1. It kindles love for Jesus.

Jesus is the theme of the Bible. Praying Scripture draws us closer to Jesus. Love is fostered by proximity. The nearer we get to Jesus, the more we love Him. Ray Ortlund says, “I have learned to see the Bible as kindling for a holy fire. Scripture is meant to inform us, and thus to inflame us. It is meant to illuminate our thoughts of God, and thus to ignite our affections for God.”

  1. It aids Scripture memorization.

Praying Scripture involves repetition. Repetition is essential for memorization. As we pray God’s Word back to Him, it helps lodge His Word in our hearts and minds.

  1. It aligns us with God’s will.

We can’t go wrong when we pray Scripture. Praying Scripture is praying truth and praying truth unites our hearts with God’s heart. Therefore, when we pray Scripture we won’t be self-deceived because Scripture brings us in line with God’s will.

Are you in a prayer rut? Do your prayers lack life? Do you have the best of intentions to pray, then when you get started, your mind wanders or you fall asleep? You can pray for hours if you pray Scripture. Open your Bible to the Psalms, start reading, pause at each verse, engage your sanctified imagination, pray the verses back to God, and without fail, you will pray dynamically and productively.

Recommended Resource: The Abide Bible, Thomas Nelson, 2020. [This Bible includes prompts or sidebars to help you pray Scripture]

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Gospel of Matthew: Word for Word Bible Comic

Wishes do come true! For years I’ve longed to see the unadulterated and unabridged Scriptures in a comic form. Now, word for word according to the New International Version, what I yearned for is finally here!

When I received a pre-publication copy of the Gospel of Matthew: Word for Word Bible Comic from Simon Amadeus Pillario, I wondered if it would live up to my expectations. Would it accurately depict the historical, geographical and social realities of what the German form critics refer to as the sitz im leben (life setting)? Would it incorporate what’s been gleaned from archeological discoveries? Would it invite, rather than stifle, sanctified imagination? Would the style of the illustrations be among the best in the world and appeal to all age groups and different cultures? And, would the format highlight the narrative nature of the Scriptures?

Delightfully, the Gospel of Matthew: Word for Word Bible Comic does most of the things I’d hoped it would do. The exception is that it’s not deemed suitable for children. Each book has age advisory ratings, most of them 12+. While I appreciate the fact that it stays graphically true to the sin, corruption and depravity that is part of the Story, it sadly means that 26% of the world’s population (those under 15 years of age) don’t get to benefit from this tremendous publication.

Forgive me for this brief side-note concerning children, but I’m both a Bible engagement and a children’s ministry guy who is hoping that the fabulous creativity that’s been invested into this Bible comic will be harnessed to help children engage with the Bible. Maybe suitable extracts could be compiled with children in mind. On the other hand, maybe ways could be devised to cut and paste the comic so that parents, educators and those who minister to children could select age-appropriate sections in much the same way as we select age-appropriate readings from text-only Bibles.

Moving on. When I read the Gospel of Matthew: Word for Word Bible Comic I was totally captivated. I’m a veteran Bible reader, yet the visuals triggered reflections and insights that opened my heart and mind in ways that enabled the Word to impact me in fresh ways. And more, it made it easier for me to enter into the drama, find my part in it, and see myself doing what God wants me to do.

In a nutshell, the Gospel of Matthew: Word for Word Bible Comic is the Bible in 2D! Do you need to see in order to remember and learn? This Bible comic book brings imagination into focus!

Available at:

https://www.wordforwordbiblecomic.com/buy

Visit Simon’s Blog:

https://www.wordforwordbiblecomic.com/blog

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5