Looking for a way to take your small group into a whole new experience the Bible? You might want to take a look at Understanding the Books of the Bible, a new series from IVP Connect. I had the chance to dive into Paul’s Prison Letters over the weekend, and I can honestly say I’ve not seen anything else quite like this.
A key distinction in the Understanding the Books of the Bible series is that there is a strong emphasis on the fact that “the books of the Bible are real books and are meant to be read as such–without using any chapter or verse notations.” I think this is a truly unique format and should be very interesting and engaging for the right kinds of small groups.
Paul’s Prison Letters includes 24 studies and covers Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, Philippians, 1 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Timothy. The guide takes you though “the seven letters Paul wrote during or around the times of his imprisonments.” Within this collection, this study focuses on understanding the “message and meaning of one book at a time.” I love this aspect! What a gift for newer Christ followers or those seeking to develop a more thorough understanding of the individual books of the Bible.
There is an overview session for each of the seven included books of the New Testament. The overview provides an excellent backdrop for the individual books covered. In addition, the first session of each of the seven books features an opportunity to read through the book in one sitting (generally 10 to 12 minutes).
Along with the overview session, the study of each book also includes a closer look at several of the most important themes. This aspect will prove to be an essential ingredient in understanding the author’s original intent and its rich application for today.
I really think you’re going to want to add the Understanding the Books of the Bible series to your recommended list. And, in particular, you’re going to want to take a close look at Paul’s Prison Letters. A unique presentation, this study is one that will definitely resonate with groups looking for a deeper, more holistic experience. I really like it…and I think you will, too.