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January Illuminate

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A Word Challenge

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Summary: Jay Cordova kicks off 2019 with a call to return to the Bible, to consider how God speaks, and to engaging with Him in new (and old) ways. This first issue of the year is on the “Public Reading of Scripture.”

1. How have you engaged with the Word of God recently? What has your journey in reading the Bible been like?

2. What is the “redemptive truth about the Good News?” How have you experienced God’s redemption in relationship with Him?

3. How can you build reading the Bible into your routine this year?

Further reading: Genesis 1:, John 1:1-5

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Homo Unius Libri

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Summary: Bishop Matthew Thomas offers a number of statistics about the Bible while exploring why it has been such an impactful book. He invites the reader to renew a dedication to studying the Bible.

1. Reflect on the statistics listed in the second paragraph. Discuss why the Bible has been such an impactful book, even to those who do not believe in God.

2. What are some reasons that Bishop Thomas offers for why the Bible is an integral part of our walks with God?

3. Spend some time praying about how you engage God’s word. Ask God in particular for the passion reflected in John Wesley’s quote in this article.

Further reading: Psalm 19

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Finding My Identity

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Summary: Pastor Kristen Bennett Marble reflects on a few of her experiences of the Word of God being read aloud in this moving call to speak the Word aloud in our communities.

1. Have you had any experiences of reading the Bible aloud in community that stand out? What was that experience like?

2. Reflect on the statement “The story does not [end]. It continues today, spreading into every corner of the world.” How has God’s story continued on into your life?

3. Pick a passage (at least one chapter) and read it aloud, even if you are doing this study alone. Feel free to pick any passage, but consider reading Lamentations for this exercise.

Further reading: Lamentations

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The Many Languages of the Bible

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Summary: Rev. Dr. Laura J. Hunt walks the reader through how the Bible arrived to us through translations, manuscripts, the early church, and ancient Jewish texts.

1. How were you impacted by this article? What comes to mind when you read about the journey the Bible has taken through the years?

2. What translation of the Bible do you currently use? Are there others you turn to for clarification?

3. Spend some time praying for God’s wisdom and discernment of his Word in your life and the lives of the leaders in your church. Also pray for those currently engaged in Bible translation, especially for those people who do not yet have the Bible in their heart language.

Further reading: Nehemiah 8

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How to Read the Bible

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Summary: In this month’s feature, Bishop David Kendall offers “five principles important for understanding, and living by, what we find in the Bible.” In this way he echoes Jesus’ call to walk with Him, in reading His Word.

1. . Have you entered in to the process of hearing, seeing, talking, and writing what God has done? Take a moment and write a couple sentences about God’s work in your life.

2. How has the Bible been confusing for you at times? Are there passages or books that you avoid because you don’t understand them?

3. The three “movements” in the Bible story that Bishop Kendall describes are often reflected in our own relationship with God. Which of the three stand out to you? How have you seen them at work in your life?

4. Bishop Kendall says that “the story leads to Jesus who brings to the story its fullness and goal.” What does he mean by this?

5.In reading the Bible we are meant “to be shaped into people who are like Jesus.” In light of this, spend some time praying through Psalm 113 and Philippians 2:5-11.

Further reading: Psalm 113, Hebrews 11

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Pop Theology:

Hooked on Holyphonics:

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Summary: Pastor David McDonald reflects on some of the ways he has tried to reinvigorate his own and his church’s engagement with the Bible.

1. Are there ways that you have tried to reengage with the Bible after it felt like things had grown stale? How did that go?

2. What could you take away from Holyphonics to help your own walk with God, or your community’s worship of God?

3. Read through Psalm 23, or another passage that you know well. Write a prayer out of the passage, using one sentence for each verse.

Further reading: Luke 4:14-30

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