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What Millennials Want With the Bible

I was born in 1990, smack in the middle of what most people consider the Millennial generation. As a Millennial, it’s been slightly depressing, slightly confusing, and slightly amusing reading all of the (digital) ink that’s been spilled trying to figure out my generation, its relationship with the Bible, and its role in the Church.

We lead the way in “Bible skepticism.” Our short attention spans, conditioned by scrolling through thousands of tweets, Facebook statuses, and Instagram photos, seem to leave little hope of longform reading. Maybe if we could just get the Bible in Tweet form? Or even better, Emojis!

A better way forward

Instead of trying to contort our Holy Scriptures and Christian faith into something Millennials will “approve”, what if our generation is actually looking for something bigger, something that transcends what we experience with our smartphones?

That’s why I loved this article, Reaching a New Generation with the Bible by Cara Meredith on CT Pastors. She touches on important factors we at the Institute for Bible Reading believe constitute rich, impactful Bible reading. Authentic community. A powerful, life-defining story. Space to open up and ask difficult questions.

My generation craves community and authenticity. When it comes to the Bible, we don’t need emojis. Trust me, we already have enough. What we need is to encounter the real, wild, untamed lands of the Bible’s story, and to encounter them together. The Institute for Bible Reading has worked hard to make sure those two ideas are central to the DNA of our signature program, Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience.

I highly recommend you check out Reaching a New Generation with the Bible, then let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!

 

Announcing Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience

The Institute for Bible Reading is committed to putting our research and perspective into action by creating real resources for churches to help their congregations read the Bible well.

We’re proud to announce what we believe is our best work yet.

Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience, featuring the new six-volume Immerse: The Reading Bible, is the first initiative from our alliance with Tyndale House Publishers announced in February. This fall, churches across America are invited to take a deep dive into the Scriptures with the Immerse: Messiah (New Testament) or Immerse: Beginnings (Torah) campaigns.

The Bible Reading Movement is happening. Join the movement!

Visit ImmerseBible.com to learn more and sign up for email updates

Read the press release published by Religion News Service:


Churches across America to Immerse in Scripture this Fall

CAROL STREAM, Ill. (May 4, 2017) – Tyndale House Publishers announces Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience, ™ a bold new campaign to help communities of believers truly know and understand the Bible.

Participants will use Immerse: The Reading Bible,™ a new six-volume reading Bible developed by the Institute for Bible Reading and Tyndale. This innovative new Bible features today’s most readable Bible translation, the Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Each of the six volumes provides the base for an eight- week reading experience. With one eight-week reading experience in the fall and another in the spring, participants will establish an ongoing three-year rhythm of Bible engagement.

Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience™ is the first initiative from the alliance announced in February between the Institute for Bible Reading (IFBR) and Tyndale House Publishers…

Read the Full Release

 

Watch All 4 Episodes of Feasting on the Scriptures

The Institute for Bible Reading recently joined Bible Gateway for a Facebook Live series titled Feasting on the Scriptures. Each of the four episodes gives practical advice on the steps to take toward “reading big” on the path to great Bible engagement.

If you didn’t catch these episodes on Facebook Live, you can watch them all right here. To get notified of future Facebook Live events, make sure you Like and Follow the Institute for Bible Reading and Bible Gateway on Facebook.

Episode 1: Reading Whole Books

The natural building blocks of the Bible are whole books which are meant to be engaged as complete works. Learn about why reading whole books is the first and most important thing to do with the Bible:

Episode 2: Reading the Bible as a Story

Not every book of the Bible is a story, but every book does contribute in its own way to the grand narrative of the Scriptures. Find out how that works:

Episode 3: Reading the Bible with Jesus at the Center

Every book of the Bible, whether First Testament or New Testament, should be read through the “Jesus Lens.” What does that mean? Glenn Paauw explains:

Episode 4: Reading the Bible Together

The Bible is meant to be a community formation book. While private devotions and quiet times are valuable, Paul Caminiti explains that they can’t be a substitute for communal engagement and discussion:

Prequel: Bible Reading Is Broken and It’s Not Your Fault

Feasting on the Scriptures with Bible Gateway

The Institute for Bible Reading and Bible Gateway are teaming up for a series of Facebook Live events titled “Feasting on the Scriptures”, beginning March 30.

Feasting on the Scriptures Bible Gateway

This series will be focused on what it means to “Read Big.” We’ll be exploring the importance of reading whole books, which are the natural building blocks of the Bible. From there, we’ll talk about how all these books work together to tell the true story of God and his mission for the world. Here’s the schedule:

Episode 1: Why We Should Read Whole Books
Episode 2: How to Read the Bible as a Story
Episode 3: Reading the Bible with Jesus at the Center
Episode 4: Reading the Bible Together

How do I tune in?

The best way is to go to Bible Gateway’s Facebook page, then “Like” and “Follow” them. After that, do the same with the Institute for Bible Reading page. Make sure that underneath the Following tabs on both pages, Notifications are checked “On”:

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We’re looking forward to discussing these ideas and concepts with our friends at Bible Gateway. Hope to see you there!

 

Advent: Reading the Bible For the Real World

The biblical narrative knows all about times of change. It knows about seasons of darkness that that last way too long. How long was Israel in slavery before Moses was called? How long did God’s people sit in sadness by rivers of Babylon? How many days and nights did Anna, daughter of Penuel, sit in the Temple, fasting and praying for the redemption of Jerusalem? (She was there continually, Luke tells us, until she was 84.)

Exile. Suffering. Sadness and death. How long? How long?

Of course, the Bible knows all about days of rejoicing too. It knows about seasons of rescue, of God showing up and turning the tide, changing the story. It knows about times of refreshing, about good harvests, about a Messiah born amidst singing angels. There are seasons of light in this tale.

But think for a moment about the big story in the Bible. Think of what we learn about God’s founding intentions for the world, and for his people in the world. God wanted flourishing life, tended by image-bearing humans. God wanted to live with us in his creation-temple. God wanted us to trust him, to trust what he said, to follow his ways.

We struggled to live up to God’s call for us. We failed him. And he in turn struggled with us. He struggled with the family of Abraham that he called to rescue us, to bring us light and love and blessing. The story tells us about covenants and then more covenants, a never-ending series of promises about real change, about a new kind of future.

But the story seems stuck in pro and con, con and pro, an unending battle. It is about floods, but then doves with olive branches. About slavery, but then Exodus. About war, but then Promised Land. About tribal chaos, but then King David. God is trying and trying and trying, but it’s always a struggle. A new start, but then a turning away. It feels more like circles of frustration than straightforward progress with this biblical narrative, this so-called story of salvation.

We can get fully three quarters through the Bible and the same questions remain: Will God’s first intentions ever be realized? Will there be faithful God-imagers on earth? Will life flourish the way God wants it to? Will God’s plan to bring goodness and life to all peoples through Israel really work? When already?

What I like about the Bible (the actual Bible, not the filtered-cherry-picking-nice-verses Bible) is that it’s like real life. Real life is a struggle. Real life is about waiting. Real life is about watching the world fall apart on my news feed.

What I like about the Bible (the actual Bible, not the filtered-cherry-picking-nice-verses Bible) is that it’s like real life. Real life is a struggle. Real life is about waiting. Real life is about watching the world fall apart on my news feed.Click To Tweet

We are in the season of Advent these days, waiting once again for the coming of something genuinely new. And I’m noticing that the questions of Advent are the same questions of the entire biblical narrative before the New Testament.

Will he come? When? How long?

Advent teaches us, among many other things, to read our Bibles big and whole. Screening out the longing stories, the waiting stories, the struggle stories, won’t serve us well in the end. Our super-friendly, super-nice, super-encouraging piecemeal Bible won’t actually sustain us in real life. It’s better to know that God knows like we know that life is hard.

And when we read all of it, and are honest about all of it, then when that Messiah does really come, when those joyous songs do fill the night skies over the Judean countryside, then it’s so much better because it’s so much more real. This is reading the Bible for the real world.

God is in it with us for the long-haul. But the only way to understand the depth and truth of this is to know his whole story. Not just the easy parts.

Read the Bible for life.