Read Big, Read Well, Read Together.
The Community Bible Experience
We have access to more Bibles than ever. We can literally choose from an endless array of translations.
We also have many more ways to access Scripture beyond beautifully bound printed copies on our
shelves: we can pull up a verse or a passage right on our smartphones, tablets, or computers.
And yet… Christians are reading the Bible far less than just one generation ago. The reasons for this
decline are manifold, but here are three primary ones:
Too often we read the Bible in fragments. Staggeringly few people have ever read the entire Bible.
Some are familiar with studying certain sections verse-by-verse, while others read a few verses here
and a couple of chapters there, but rarely the whole story of the Bible as it unfolds within its pages.
Too often we read without context. When we fail to fully understand the big picture of the Bible and
the historical or literary context, we will struggle to connect the Bible to our world today. If we can’t make
sense of what we are reading, we are also far more likely to put the Bible down in frustration.
Too often we read in isolation. Over the centuries we have turned Bible reading into a purely private
affair, something that begins and ends with ‘me’. Not that there is anything wrong with personal Bible
reading as such, but by reading the Bible in isolation form fellow Christians, we miss out on getting to
see and hear the whole picture. The Bible was originally intended to be read and experienced
Think about it for a moment: What would happen if you and your spouse, if parents and children, or if
the members of a small group committed themselves to reading 10-15 pages per day, 5 days a week,
for the duration of 8 weeks?
We here at Leland Community UMC believe that such an experience will revolutionize our personal walk
with Jesus Christ and will invigorate us as we discover together who we are through the grace of God.
That is why members and friends of the Leland Community UMC have become part of this life-changing event called
the Community Bible Experience. Starting September 17, we will read through the entire New Testament in
To make this a truly communal experience, we all read from the same version of the New Testament,
created especially for this reading the New Testament in community by focusing on nothing but
the text only. We dispense with chapter numbers and headings, verse numbers, footnotes, and any
other so-called “helps.” Nothing but the text of the New Testament, presented like a novel instead of a
The reading has begun, and together we are on a journey to be transformed through the reading and hearing
of God’s precious Word.