JumpIntoTheWord

Bible Engagement Blog


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Opening the Scriptures to Open Eyes

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45 (NIV).

They were trudging down the road, shoulders slumped and faces drawn, their distress evident for all to see. From their animated and heated discussion it was clear that they were trying to make sense of a recent tragedy. And then a man drew alongside them. Matching their pace he asked what they were talking about. They stopped walking … the burden of his question seemingly too much to bear. Unfazed by their unhappiness the man asked a question, and moving on they began to chat about the things that were heavy on their hearts.

The conversation that unfolded between the men on the road was about Jesus of Nazareth and the Old Testament prophecies that spoke of Him. What the men on the road didn’t realise was that the man who’d joined them and was now talking to them was Jesus Christ – the one who’d been crucified three days previously and the very one about whom they were speaking!

“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

The encounter on the road to Emmaus is revealing: It points to the tremendous value Jesus placed on the Scriptures and how, because they were central in His life, He wove them into His daily dialogue with people. The encounter also shows us that people need a fresh understanding of the Story in order to make sense of the issues they’re facing. Jesus opened the Scriptures and in so doing opened the eyes of the disciples.

Which raises a pertinent question: How will people come to know and understand the Story if we don’t share it with them? Conversations are needed … conversations seasoned with life words … conversations that explain what the Scriptures say about Jesus Christ … conversations that Jesus can use to open eyes to see Him.

© Scripture Union Canada 2017

2 Corinthians 4:5


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Ten Bible Engagement Facts Every Pastor Needs To Know

Here are ten key Bible engagement facts* every pastor needs to know:

  1. Bible engagement and church attendance are inextricably linked
  2. People who read the Scriptures a few times a week will usually attend church frequently
  3. Local churches that major on Bible engagement are more likely to grow
  4. Bible engagement is the primary factor that sustains and nourishes faith
  5. Robust conversations about the Bible are strongly correlated with church health
  6. Christians are built-up spiritually primarily through conversations about the Scriptures
  7. When confidence in the Bible is nurtured, church attendance is strengthened
  8. If people don’t have confidence in the Bible, they probably won’t attend church
  9. People who believe the Bible is relevant to life are more likely to attend church
  10. People who believe the Bible is the “Word of God” are six times more likely to attend church weekly

With the above facts in mind, how should the local church be aligned to better facilitate and encourage Bible engagement? Pastors, here are ten practical suggestions:

  1. Encourage everyone in the congregation to regularly read and reflect on the Scriptures
  2. Equip people with Bible reading guides, plans and resources that help them develop and sustain daily Bible reading disciplines e.g., Scripture Union Guides
  3. Cultivate small groups that facilitate vigorous conversations about the Scriptures
  4. Promote, preach and teach the trustworthiness, relevance, usefulness, inspiration and uniqueness of the Bible
  5. Create opportunities or forums for people to discuss the weekly sermon and associated Scripture text
  6. Train people in public Scripture reading so that the Bible is read dynamically, clearly and compellingly
  7. Have Bibles available in the pew and actively encourage people to use them during services and gatherings
  8. Provide opportunities for people to publicly share how God strengthens, supports, comforts, inspires, informs or guides them by His Word
  9. Give everyone who doesn’t have a Bible an age appropriate easy to read version (maintain a supply of Bibles, advertise availability of free Bibles)
  10. Highlight the importance of Bible engagement with an annual program, quest or activity that the congregation does together e.g., E100 Challenge

 

*[The ten facts are gleaned from the research findings of the Canadian Bible Engagement Study (CBES). The CBES is the first ever comprehensive national study of why Canadians do or do not connect with the Bible. World-class market research company Angus Reid Strategies, led by Angus Reid, conducted the survey. The CBES sampled 4,500 Canadians regarding their use, beliefs about, and attitudes toward the Bible. You can download the CBES for free at www.bibleengagementstudy.ca]

© Scripture Union Canada 2014