There are millions of copies of the Bible available, with various translations of the original Hebrew and Greek, but for many of us the Bible is a daunting book which we feel we ought to be more familiar with but somehow can’t seem to get engrossed in. In our All Saints confirmation group we were looking at ways of getting to grips with the Bible and understanding scripture, as well as engaging with it as part of our devotional life. I produced a list of resources which others might also find helpful in exploring the Bible; this is an important way in which we might hear and understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to the universal Christian Church and to each of us personally in our pilgrimage with Jesus.
There is of course a Bible study fellowship group which meets every other Wednesday evening; this focuses on small sections of scripture from particular books of the Bible with discussion in relation to our discipleship as followers of Christ. If you are interested please speak to Paul Barnes. (Jo J.)
RESOURCES FOR READING THE BIBLE
Scripture Unionhas free online material that you can use to help with reading and understanding the Bible. WordLive is an on-line interactive way of engaging with the Bible. Available through Scripture Union or search for word live
They also offer a daily reading notes booklet called Daily Bread:
Daily Breadhelps people explore, understand and enjoy the Bible - and work it out in everyday life. Daily Bread gives you:
An annual subscription provides you with four quarterly magazines and free postage.
Bible Reading Fellowship BRF offers various daily reading notes (some are available electronically as well as in booklet form) Ann Bell (859796) can help with providing BRF daily reading notes.
New Daylight – readings for each day with comment and prayers (available in Large Print)
The Upper Room– includes reflection and prayer
Guidelines– detailed study
Day by Day with God – for women
Taizé Community– a religious community in France made up of over a hundred brothers, Catholics and from various Protestant backgrounds, coming from around thirty nations seeking to live united in Christ and serving the poor and the young - online Bible readings, meditations and prayers at the Taizé website (Read more about Taizé on this website’s ‘Our Choir’ page.)
Daily Reading Bibles- these are designed for reading through the whole Bible in one year, with readings divided up into daily amounts.
Study Bibles– these have added notes with lots of extra information on the text and how it links with other parts of the Bible and the story of the Old Testament and of Jesus.
Commentaries– these can be used to study a particular book of the Bible in more detail and BRF offer the People’s Bible Commentary series which are very helpful for anyone starting to get to grips with the Bible for the first time. They give background information as well as guidance to what the text might mean for Christians now.
Bible guides – these give detailed background information on the historical settings as well as the content for each book of the Bible. Good examples are The Bible Guide (Andrew Knowles – Canon Theologian at Chelmsford Cathedral) or The Lion Handbook to the Bible.
Bible on CD – this is so you can listen to the Bible being read – another way of getting more familiar with it. It is quite expensive on CD, cheaper on MP3. Browse Eden Christian Books
I have a dramatised version of the Bible on cassette tape which I can lend to anyone who might want to use this.
Apps – downloads of the Bible are available for iPods, iPads, Blackberries etc
The Diocesan Bookshop/Resources Centre in New Street in Chelmsford (open Mon-Fri) sells all sorts of Christian books including commentaries and you can also order reading notes through them. The Diocesan Resource Centre usually give a 10% discount and can post items to you. Telephone number: 01245 294405
There is also the Oasis Christian Bookshop in Tiptree. 120 Church Road, Tiptree, Colchester CO5 0AB 01621 818084