Bible Engagement: Immersed in Scripture
Josh Bartlett is a Wycliffe member encouraging people to engage with the Bible in Australia. We recently asked Josh how we can stay connected to God and immersed in his Word during this time of isolation.
What is your role with Wycliffe?
I’m Wycliffe Australia’s Bible engagement facilitator. That means I’m always looking for ways to help people ‘get into’ the Bible. ‘Bible engagement’ is a bit of a misnomer: the aim isn’t to get people religiously reading the Bible but to see people engaging with the true God through his living Word.
How do you engage people in the Bible?
In addition to speaking at churches and camps, I facilitate and coordinate Story the Bible workshops. Jesus taught people using stories. Stories have a way of getting around people’s defences and helping them discover the truth for themselves. More than half of the Bible is stories! Story the Bible workshops teach people to take a passage of Scripture and craft it into a form they could tell a friend in two minutes. We aim for a retelling that’s SAM: simple, accurate and memorable. Of course, the current situation with COVID-19 makes it impossible to run these workshops in person.
STAY TUNED for information about the next ONLINE version of the Story the Bible workshop we are developing.Visit www.wycliffe.org.au/events
You’ve also been talking recently about something called Immerse. What is it, and what makes it special?
Immerse: The Reading Bible presents the Bible in a distraction-free, easy-to-read format. Narrative is formatted like narrative, poetry like poetry, and letters like letters. The Bible is divided into six volumes, and each book of the Bible has a brief introduction covering the book’s context, purpose and genre to make it easier to understand. It also provides an opportunity for a church community to come together and, over the course of eight weeks, engage with a large section of the Bible. Community sharing is a key part of Bible engagement that we don’t give enough attention to in Western Christianity. I think it’s really valuable to have things like this Immerse experience to bring us back to reading the Bible together.
Discover more about the Immerse experience at http://immersebible.com/
Reading the Bible can often be difficult. What would you say to anyone wanting to spend more time reading the Bible?
Australians, along with much of the world, are now largely confined to their homes to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Times of change are challenging but they also present a great opportunity to set new routines.
TIME: If you can no longer travel to work or university, why not convert the time you’ve saved into Bible time? You may like to block out part of your day for reading the Bible and making this part of your new routine.
SUPPORT: Don’t forget that Bible engagement isn’t a solo sport. Tell someone about your goal to go deeper into God’s Word. You might like to install a Bible app that lets you share your reflections or read Immerse together and schedule a weekly video call to talk about what you’ve read.
PERSEVERE: Keep at it! Remember: your goal isn’t reading a certain amount of Scripture, or for a certain length of time. Your real goal is to dive into God’s living Word and allow it to transform you.
The Bible in English is more accessible now than at any time in human history. Yet many of Jesus’ followers struggle to read it. What’s causing this Bible crisis, and how can we turn it around? Read more at biblestuff.org