Monday, July 26, 2010

Small Group Materials - Bringing the Bible to Life

As we prepare for our annual Small Group Workshop I’m going through small group materials to figure out what we will feature this year. A series that is already out but has had some new studies added this past year is the Bringing the Bible to Life from Zondervan. This series is based on the popular commentary series known as the Zondervan NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC). When I read (re-read) the series preface by Karen Jobes I found myself saying “YES, I’ve been in studies like this.” Here’s what she writes:
“Have you ever been in a small-group Bible study where the leader read a passage from the Bible and then invited the members of the group to share what the passage meant to them? God wants to speak to each person individually through the Bible, but such an approach to a group study can often be a frustrating and shallow experience for both leader and participants. And while the same passage can speak in various ways into people’s lives, the meat of the Word is found in what the biblical writer intended to say about God and our relationship to him. The Bringing the Bible to Life series is for those who are ready to move from a surface reading of the Bible into a deeper understanding of God’s Word.”
“But the Bible, though perhaps familiar, was written in ancient languages and in times quite different from our own, so most readers need a bit more help getting to a deeper understanding of its message. A study that begins and ends with what a passage ‘means to me’ leaves the meaning of the passage unanchored and adrift in the thoughts—and perhaps the misunderstanding—of the reader. But who has time to delve into the history, language, cultures, and theology of the Bible? That’s the work of biblical scholars who spend their lives researching, teaching, and writing about the ancient Scriptures. The need is to get the fruit of all that research into the hands of those in small-group Bible studies.”
The Bringing the Bible to Life series is only one of a number of new small group studies that aims at the more mature believer. Two others that come to mind are Deeper Connections from Zondervan and Deepening Life Together from Baker Publishing Group. If your group is looking for something to take you deeper into the study of the Scriptures you may want to look at these series and see if one of them is right for you.

Here's a picture of one from each of these series:

No comments: