I distinctly remember one of my first Bible studies. Although I had a Bible and was a Christian, there were so many basics I didn’t know and was never taught. As I looked around the group, I felt like everyone had a worn in Bible and could flip instantaneously to the exact right page. It was before the time of digital Bibles, but if I had one, I would have only used it to cover up my embarrassment.
I have sat with so many people that have confided that they feel this way. Like anything, Bible basics are something that need to be learned. I encourage you to continue reading and learn how you can help relieve any embarrassment or shame by assuming someone in your group does not know and is afraid to ask.
Even if you know everyone in your group is well acquainted with the Bible, talk through these tips. Present it as a reminder if they ever disciple someone who is not familiar.
After you create a Loved Bible for the first time using our Foundations Workbook, we encourage you to create a small group (this could be one other person, a triad of 3, or a group). Ask these friends if they would be willing to participate in a small group where we create a Loved Bible using The Loved Bible Project curriculum together. To learn more about small groups, click here.
I fell in love with this process of creating a Loved Bible WITH someone else. It became a beautiful tool for discipleship and letting the Bible explain the Bible. And every time it further cements these truths into my heart and mind.
Today I am sharing these tips after hearing this from several women:
- “I don’t bring a Bible to church with me because I struggle finding the books of the Bible.”
- “I’m embarrassed that I don’t know where to find books of the Bible, so I use a digital app on my phone.”
- Some have a personal Bible, some do not.
- For those that had a personal Bible, they were not sure the version or the difference.
- “I feel like my children are learning how to navigate the Bible, but I don’t know where to start.”
Let’s use a Loved Bible as a discipleship tool to help others navigate the Bible. Gather a few friends and here are a few tips when you start.
Tip 1: Have everyone in the group each purchase the same Bible. Anytime I gather a group or someone else to create a Loved Bible, we purchase the same Bible.
This puts everyone on the same page – literally! As you walk through the Bible, you can help them navigate by not only using the book, chapter, and verse but you can also use the page number as a reference. This eases some of the initial anxiety of not knowing where to turn.
We have recommendations here.
Tip 2: How to select a Bible. Now that you have a Bible, tell them that buying a Bible can be really confusing! There are a variety of different Bible options, sizes, covers, various translations, print sizes, margins, cross-references, maps, paper quality, etc. See this post on different Bibles.
See if they have a personal Bible they use (or this might be their first one).
Suggestion: start with the same translation your local church pastor uses for preaching.
Tip 3: Review the Table of Contents. Use the Table of Contents to help guide your discussion. Explain that 66 books comprise the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. You can also go through the various types of books in the Bible.
Reviewing the Table of Contents will help them become familiar with the overall structure and they will begin to grow in familiarity generally where a book is located. The more they are in a physical Bible flipping pages, the more they will learn! Creating this Bible will be a great exercise as we highlight Scriptures.
Tip 4: Review how to navigate chapter and verse number. As you create a Loved Bible, you will have lots of practice looking up Scriptures and highlighting it. Walk through an example with everyone.
Have your group turn to John 3:16.
Explain how it is read: “John, three, sixteen”
Explain how it is written: “John 3:16”
These references were not part of the original manuscripts (for example, many of the books were written as letters) but they help us navigate the Bible.
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to write in it. A new Bible is sometimes hard to write in! As you go through these exercises of reviewing the Table of Contents and looking for a scripture reference, help everyone break this tension by completing the activity during your time together.
We hope these tips were reminders to be aware of any assumptions with your group. Do not assume everyone knows these basics! And it can feel really intimidating to raise your hand and say you don’t know! Just explain part of The Loved Bible Project is to review these tips. Whether it is for their personal benefit or when they do the same thing with someone else!
Have you picked a few people to create a Loved Bible with? Read this blog to help you get started.