Vol 8 No. 19 Reading the Bible With Other People

Dear Folks,

The title “Reading the Bible with Other People” presumes that you have an interest in reading the Bible
for yourself. We don’t do this simply for others, but rather as a personal and open commitment to God:
that in the reading of scripture and the illumination of the Spirit we first receive from God in every
way. I have been asked by two ministers, one from Vancouver Island and the other from the Heartland
about the use of guided Bible study material. In fact, one person asked me whether there was a Baptist
lectionary. I would suggest to you that there is not, with the slim possibility that “Reading the Bible in a
Year” is as close to an evangelical lectionary as you can get.

There is reason and merit in the title of today’s News and Notes. The Revised Common Lectionary is used
in churches that represent over 20 million Canadians. This is not a call for, or even an expressed interest
on, this particular topic of ecumenicity. What it does recognize, and I unabashedly put it in evangelistic
and missiological terms, is if 20 million people have a pattern of Bible reading (even if only 3-5 million of
them actually attend these churches) then it is profoundly in the interest of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
to be reading the same reading. What does this have to do with me? The best answer is flagrant self-
interest…many of us read the “same old nuggets over and over again”, that’s just not good enough
because our “old nuggets”, while they might have special meaning, rarely represent the entire body of

Many evangelical churches pride themselves on being “a People of the Book”…the problem with that
assertion is that while we may believe that scripture is inspired, we do not seem to believe it when it
comes to engaging all of scripture. Many other traditions in this country engage the whole Bible in an
annual cycle. If I am reading or hearing the same text as many of my Christians neighbours are hearing,
it gives us a root or basis for conversation, fellowship of a kind, a heart for God, for one another, and for
our neighbour. One may think that these are extravagant claims: I hope not, I think not.

Below is a series of possibilities for reading. The first is the most common form, which is familiar and
used by many Canadian Christians.

1. Revised Common Lectionary Year B (includes 2011 – 2012)

The second link is to the very popular Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a Church of Scotland minister and the
originator of the first evangelically styled lectionary. One of the problems I find with M’Cheyne is that he
doesn’t always have a gospel reading for the day, which is important for me personally.

2. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Here or Here


3. NIV Bible in A Year (UK): Published by Hodder & Stoughton.

4. The Bible in a Year (NIV) (Canada): Published by Tyndale House.

5. Bible Society Daily Bible Readings (PDF) – Protestant Version

Many have found the following three guides particularly helpful:

6. Celtic Daily Prayer: From the Northumbria Community, published by Collins (Harper Collins)

7. A Year with C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works, published by HarperOne.

8. Upper Room Disciplines 2012; A Book of Daily Devotions

Let’s consider this as a beginning together. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas about online reading or
Bible study helps, please feel free to write back and I will share it with others.

In Christ,