The Bible

What Is The Bible?

The Bible is our Father God’s love letter to us, his children. 

When we come to the Bible we are not just reading a story; we are being dealt with by God. In this book we are encountering the living word of a lively God, and our task is not to stand in judgement on it but to stand under its judgement on us. We find however that its judgement is full of mercy for, in fact, this is a glorious love story-the story of a loving God pursuing his wayward people to give them back their birthright, which is life in all its fullness.”  

John Chapter 10, Verse 10

The Bible is a collection of books that the Church has recognised as being ‘inspired’ by God – the books are written by very different human authors, but with the inspiration and guidance of God.

The Bible is the primary way that God communicates to us.

How Do I Read The Bible?

Very few of us can start with Genesis and read avidly to Revelation! Bearing in mind that the Bible was written over something like 1,400 years by over 60 writers it may be a good idea to make some choices about what to read, especially if we’ve not read lots of the Bible or not read it for some time.

But wherever you read, try to keep coming back to the four Gospels for their vivid portraits of Jesus. Why not read a Gospel right through in one sitting (Mark takes about an hour)? Do the same with one of Paul’s letters. On Sundays we can only ever study a few verses, so enjoy the whole piece.

We read the Bible in different ways at different times. We may just want to grasp the story. It matters that we know the basic flow of the Bible because that’s our basic picture of Gods activity. We may read to study, exploring how a book was written and teasing out the nuances of each line and word. We may read it to be transformed, allowing a few verses to soak deep into our souls each day to draw us to God and to godly living.

We’re all different; some of us will find a daily slot easy to create; some of us will find other ways. But regular Bible reading matters. This is where we fuel our faith, fund our imaginations and form our discipleship. Christianity without the Bible can only ever be a pale reflection of the riches God is offering us.

Here are some ideas for living with the Bible. Some will appeal to us if we love to think a lot about things. Others will appeal if we prefer a more emotional approach. Taste and see!

1. Web Based Reading & Apps

A fantastic way into reading can be found at which provides both a reading with some reflections on the reading, as well as some songs and prayer suggestions – everything you could need for a daily ‘quiet time’ with God. There are also lots of good bible Apps like ‘Bible in One Year’.

2. Daily Information & ’30 Days’

2. The older form of word live – Excellent and inexpensive (even free!), many notes are published that offer a page for each day with prayer, a Bible passage, reflections on the passage, something to think about and ways to put it into practice. Some now also come as daily emails. Don’t worry if you miss a week or ten, just move on to today’s page and carry on. It isn’t meant to make you feel guilty! A very good introduction to daily notes comes from Nicky Gumbel’s book ‘30 days’.

3. Reading Someone Else’s Notes

Someone else’s Bible notes may make you potty. You can do your own thing of course. A simple process can help.

• Pray first, asking for the Spirits wisdom. 

• Read – take a whole book or section and work through it steadily at your own pace. Try to cover Old and New Testaments. 

• Think – what did this passage mean when it was written? What does it mean today? What should I do as a result? You may find it helpful to keep a diary of thoughts. Or writing it down may be the last thing you want to do! 

• Pray – allow the passage to influence what you pray. 

4. The Benedictine Method (Lectio Divina)

Benedict (6th century) refined this method and it can be a wonderful way to really dwell on just a short bit of the Bible. Its also simple! There are just 4 steps:

• Read a short passage leisurely and thoughtfully. Reread it several times. Allow one sentence, phrase or word to draw your attention. 

• Think – turn that phrase over and over in your heart and mind. Repeat it many times. Allow it to touch you and spark your imagination. Imagine what God is saying to you through these words.

• Pray – allowing your thinking to turn into a conversation with God. Focus more intentionally upon God and allow God to be part of your conversation.

• Live out what God has shared with you. Let what you’ve read become part of how you live. Let the insights and feelings you’ve had flow through your day. Return to them throughout the day and continue to reflect upon how this bit of the Bible is coming alive within and through you. Just as Jesus was God in the flesh, so you become this bit of the Bible in the flesh.

5. The Ignatian Method:

This is about entering imaginatively into the heart of a Bible story. It was developed by Ignatius (16th century) and you’ll find plenty of books about it at the bookshop.

It works thus:

• Choose a passage, say one of the stories about Jesus. 

• Read the story slowly and carefully. Close your eyes, and let the story unfold in your imagination. 

• As it unfolds, imagine that you are there. Use all your senses. What can you see, hear, feel, smell, taste, touch? How are people dressed? What’s the emotional atmosphere? Where are you in relation to the key characters? 

• Let the story continue in your mind. As things are said how do you react? How do people around you react? As action takes place how do you respond to it? All the time keep asking yourself how you feel. Let the story’s action draw you in so that you get caught up within it. 

• Gradually let the story reach its conclusion. Then let yourself simply be still with God. Enjoy the moment and the space. Turn what you’ve experienced into prayerful conversation with God. 

6. Listening To The Bible

The bible was designed to be listened to, coming from an Aural culture – as such listening to scripture can be a very powerful way of engaging with God. The Actor David Suchet has recently completed a recording of the latest NIV translation and this can be downloaded or obtained as CDs.

Which Bible Should I Use?

The short answer is anyone that you feel comfortable with. 

There are a range across a spectrum of bible translations ranging from the literal word for word translations at one end to the free flowing at the other.

Good formal translations include the New King James Version (NKJV) and more free flowing translations like Eugene Peterson’s ‘The Message’ or the Good News Bible.

Most bibles come somewhere in between the two ends and seek to achieve what is called a ‘Dynamic Equivalence’ which aims to be true both to the original Hebrew and Greek that the bible was translated from, and the way in which words are used in modern society.

Good examples of ‘Dynamic Equivalent’ Bibles are the New International Version (NIV)  or New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) which would probably be a good starting point for most.  You can get most bibles in a ‘Study Bible’ format which has a wealth of helpful extra information.

How Do I Get A Bible?

Do please help yourself to one of the Bibles at church – we love giving away bibles!

If you would like help in choosing and ordering a bible then do please speak to any of the ministers here and we would be delighted to help!