Read the Bible for Life: A Whole Church Experience from Lifeway

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Searching for ways to increase biblical literacy in your church?  A new church-wide campaign from Lifeway, Read the Bible for Life may be a solution.  Based on George Guthrie’s popular book by the same title, this study will be a valuable resource for many churches.

The Leader Kit for the whole church campaign includes three DVDs featuring nine teaching sessions, as well as a copy of the Read the Bible for Life Workbook and the Read the Bible for Life trade book.  A CD-ROM is also included with supplemental articles and study tools, a churchwide-initiative guide, and promotional tools.

George Guthrie is the Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible at Union University in Jackson, TN.  Although his previous books had more academic readership, Read the Bible for Life was written to help average church members “grasp the story of scripture and learn how the books of the Bible fit together to communicate God’s redemptive message.”

Guthrie’s love of scripture and skillful communication of the Bible’s major elements is very evident in the DVD sessions.  You’ll listen in as he gives a small group of students an overview of the following topics:

  • Reading the Bible for Life
  • Reading the Bible in Context
  • Reading the Stories of the Old Testament
  • Reading the Law and the Prophets
  • Reading the Psalms
  • Reading the Stories of the New Testament
  • Reading the Teachings of Jesus
  • Reading the New Testament Letters and Revelation
  • Reading the Bible Today

In addition to Guthrie’s teaching on the nine themes, the DVDs also feature interviews with noted Bible scholars: Clint Arnold, Craig Blomberg, Darrell Bock, Michael Card, Scott Duvall, Daniel Hays, David Howard, Andreas Kostenberger, Douglas Moo, Gary Smith, Mark Strauss, and Bruce Waltke.

Along with the DVD, there is a participant workbook with five daily studies reinforcing each of the nine sessions.  Participants should anticipate a 30 minute assignment in order to get everything possible out of the study.

Using Read the Bible for Life

After working my way through the DVD segments and carefully examining the workbook, I think there are several ways Read the Bible for Life can be used.  First, it can be used as intended…as a whole church experience.  As you can imagine, adults (there is not currently student or children’s material) that completed the study could be expected to increase their understanding of the Bible.  Full Disclosure: the combination of a nine week study and a 30 minute daily assignment will limit participation for some.

Second, the study can easily be used by individual small groups who want to learn about the Bible and how to read the Bible.  At the same time, I believe the nine week time frame coupled with a daily 30 minute assignment will limit participation to groups with higher expectations.

Third, this material could be easily adapted to provide a nine week course on how to read the Bible.  I believe this will be a very popular curriculum for an on-campus elective course.


Will Read the Bible for Life be a great solution for your congregation?  It depends on a number of factors.  What do you hope to accomplish?  Who do you hope to connect?  When do you plan to use it?  Like any new small group curriculum, whether it is for a single group or for the whole congregation, questions like these will help determine whether a particular study will be a great fit.

I can tell you this: Anyone, any group, or any congregation, that invests the time and energy required to fully absorb Read the Bible for Life will never approach the Bible the same way again.  They’ll know how to read the Bible…for life!

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  1. Sahayes77 on June 10, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Do you think this would work for an adult Sunday school class format?  We only have a 35-45 minute meeting time so it may be necessary to extend to 18 sessions. 


  2. Anonymous on June 10, 2011 at 4:11 am

    I think it would work very well in that format. The challenges would be the same. The sessions themselves will be engaging. The homework requirement will be a challenge for some. Having said that, though, Sunday School or an on-campus elective class of some kind might provide the best way to use Read the Bible for Life.