JumpIntoTheWord

Bible Engagement Blog


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The Abide Bible

Finally, a Bible engagement Bible! For years, I’ve wondered why there isn’t a Bible that incorporates suggestions to actively equip people, in a variety of ways, to connect with the Word and the One who is the Word. To say I’m excited is an understatement! I recently received that Bible in a green cloth-bound hardcover. A gift from my friend Phil Collins, the General Editor. It’s called The Abide Bible, and it was beautifully presented along with a journal and pen.

For as long as I can remember, pastors have been urging their congregations, “To study the Bible.” Bible publishers have supported this injunction with a proliferation of study Bibles. Now I love to study the Bible, as we should (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15), but Bible study shouldn’t be the only way Christians interact with the Bible. We should employ more than our intellect to meet with God in and through His Word (e.g. Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:11, James 1:22). Our heads, hearts and bodies should engage with the Scriptures. Study without reflection or reflection without application results in a Bible engagement malfunction. To connect adequately with the Bible we must read, reflect, and respond to God’s Word.

The practice of reading the Bible is different from what’s required to reflect or respond to the Bible. To engage fully with the Bible we must learn a range of Bible engagement practices. Most Christians say they’ve never been taught how to engage with the Bible. If you’re one of those Christians, then The Abide Bible may be the best Bible for you. That’s because The Abide Bible, as it says on the inside front cover, has “prompts or sidebars designed to help you engage passages and deepen your understanding and experience of God’s Word.”

To assist people in experiencing God’s Word The Abide Bible incorporates five Bible engagement practices: contemplation, journaling, picture it, praying Scripture and engaging through art. To incorporate these five practices in a Bible, in my view, is revolutionary!

A study Bible, by virtue of its name, says, “This is for students.” The Abide Bible, by virtue of its name, says, “This is for people who want to sojourn with the Lord using a variety of senses and connections.”

The Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement contributors who collaborated on the development of the materials for The Abide Bible have, through the prompts and sidebars, made the Bible more accessible to more people. No two people will engage with the Bible in the same way. There are multiple learning styles and multiple intelligences. The Abide Bible makes it easier for spatial and linguistic learners to engage with the Scriptures. If words, feelings, pictures, sanctified imagination, conversations or images help you read/hear the Word and meet with God, then I strongly recommend The Abide Bible for consideration.

Am I a little bit biased when it comes to endorsing The Abide Bible? Yes. I’m unashamedly a Bible engagement guy who has written a book and teaches Bible engagement classes to help people connect with God through contemplating, journaling, picturing, praying, engaging art and other practices as a means to dwell in the Word. I also became a fan of The Abide Bible when I opened the presentation page and saw Psalm 119:105 – it’s the theme text for Scripture Union Canada, the agency where I serve as President. All that to say that you should check it out for yourself at https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/abidebible/

The Abide Bible, Thomas Nelson, 2020.

© Scripture Union Canada 2020

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Discovering Lectio Divina: Bringing Scripture into Ordinary Life

Are you looking for a more devotional approach to Scripture – one that focuses on contemplation and spiritual formation. Here’s a shout-out for Discovering Lectio Divina: Bringing Scripture into Ordinary Life by James C. Wilhoit and Evan B. Howard … 

Discovering Lectio Divina is a great read if you’re looking for a fresh engagement with the Word, to grow in faith, and experience more of God. To titillate your curiosity, here are some selected quotes:

The practice of the devotional reading of Scripture … is to employ the Scriptures as a doorway into transforming intimacy.

Lectio divina … engages the human dimension with the Word and the Spirit of God. We bring ourselves to the text: eyes, questions, circumstances, heart – all of us. We watch as we read, noticing how the reading process is shaped by the Spirit. We allow the Scripture to soak into us and reprogram our heart, changing the very concerns and ideas that control our beliefs and feelings.

Lectio divina is the reading of a lover: the relaxed waiting that is as attentive to the relationship as it is to the text.

The emphasis in Scripture is on satisfying our thirst rather than trying to satiate it or deny it.

The Bible is not all sweetness … it offers both a sweet and bitter word.

With regard to the reading of Scripture, we long to have our association with “sacred text” lead to a more “sacred life.”

Biblical meditation is a path to wisdom, to flourishing, to enlightening, and it is the central piece of lectio divina.

The Scriptures are not just a place where we read about God … they are a place where we receive from God.

Rather than living on in mindless autopilot, where our pace of life or our addictions to media and distractions pull us from the reality of the moment, we choose in lectio, to focus on our being present to the present – being present with this text right here, in my life right here.

The very act of choosing to read Scripture is an act of redirecting our thoughts to the things of God.

Lectio divina … is where reading and prayer are bound together. It is a reading that comes out of a life with God and leads into life with God.

We must employ means of reading the text that are publicly shared and adjudicated. Still, we all have our own gift to offer to the church’s comprehension of Scripture, and we have our own ways of receiving from the text.

We are not infallible readers, and we must come to the text with a deep awareness of our weaknesses. We come to the text in humility when … we are open to hear the challenge of the divine Other.

© Scripture Union Canada 2016

2 Corinthians 4:5