Dear friends in Christ,
Each year, I look forward to the Sunday nearest November 16. This Sunday we pray one of my very favorite collects:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thomas Cranmer originally wrote this one for Advent, but I like its new placement in our liturgical year. I am grateful for this annual reminder of the purpose of scripture. We love the scriptures not just for the texts themselves but for the hope to which they point: everlasting life given to us in Jesus.
Forward Movement’s RenewalWorks data tells us that not very many Episcopalians read the Bible regularly. I’m not here to shame anyone or make you feel guilty! One of the core messages of the Gospel is that it’s never too late. So why not make time in your life for regular reading of scripture?
If you’re not sure where to start, there are chapters about the Bible and how to read it in two books I co-authored with the Rev’d Melody Shobe, Faithful Questions and Walk in Love. Or you can ask your priest or a wise spiritual friend for guidance. If you want a suggestion of what to read when you pick up a Bible to read on your own for the first time, I suggest reading the psalms or maybe one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John).
At Forward Movement, we offer several tools to help you read the Bible regularly.
- You can use any of our Bible Challenge books for companion reflections as you read some part of the Bible.
- Bible Women offers every word spoken by women in the Bible along with the back stories.
- This January, you can join the Good Book Club (for free!) to read Genesis with folks from around the world.
- Forward Day by Day offers a reflection on the assigned readings of the Episcopal Church each day.
The Bible is perhaps the most important and most misunderstood book. But the good news is that you can read the Bible for yourself and discover its wonders and the hope to which it points.
More from our ministry:
Last chance: Get your copy of Preparing the Way before Advent begins!
Find practical tips for following Jesus: The Way of Love
Discover scripture in the Book of Common Prayer: Inwardly Digest
Get ready for the Good Book Club: A Journey through Genesis