upper room daily devotions

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bible Basics

Christians need Bible study. That may sound trite, obvious, or odd to say. However, I hear an alarming number of stories about churches that can't sustain a Bible study because people won't attend. Furthermore, when I review the materials for many Bible studies, they are often boring, filled with errors, and (did I say it already?) boring. The Bible is anything but boring, but we do a good job oversimplifying, complicating, convoluting, dumbing down, and drying out the rich, wonderful text of our faith.

I recently was looking for a short introduction to the Bible to teach in adult Sunday school. Curriculum mostly included role-playing (my folks won't do that), collaging, and reading. After culling through about five different written curricula and a few video based ones, I wound up putting together my own session.

This week we're going to have an introduction to Bible - both to the Bible in general and to our own Bibles in particular. People will spend time taking a look at their tables of contents, maps, book introductions, and appendices. We are going to explore the order of books, why they are ordered that way, and the history of the canon.

The Bible brings to us God's mystery, but the Bible itself should not be too mystifying. Christians need to know how to use their Bibles in order for them to find God's word in them.

If you have found good Bible studies (I already know about Disciple Bible Study), please let me know. We are moving to a study of the prophet Amos next...and, would you believe it, I couldn't find much user-friendly material so I'm writing this, too! So, I especially invite heads up to materials on Amos.

Just in case you are interested, Bible Basics includes: What is the Bible? What is the Old Testament (books, language, development)? How does the Old Testament compare to the Jewish Bible? What is the New Testament? When were the books written? How was the canon put together (Jewish Bible and New Testament)? What is the Apocrypha? Did the Reformation affect the Bible? What version is my Bible? What's in it? Are there special articles, explanations, or concordances?

If I've left out anything important, let me know!

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