Bingo, the Bible and Blue sky thinking

Have you ever played meeting bingo? It’s a great game to keep you interested during boring meetings. You have a sheet of paper with classic business phrases written in a grid. Just like normal bingo when you hear a phrase you cross it off. The winner is the person who crosses off all the phrases first. If you have played meeting bingo then one of easiest phrases to get is ‘think outside of the box’. This is a business cliche, but it is a phrase that has profound meaning and a competency that many businesses lack.

It is also a concept that is core to my day job! What are the new, innovative and exciting ways to read the Bible, or more importantly deepen our relationship with God through the Bible?

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How do we engage with the bible?

I can do this on my own! The classic evangelical approach is the quiet time. And as I’ve mentioned before my day job is with an organisation that creates bible reading guides for this. Or we may have caught the retro-revival of the ancient practice of Lectio Divina – the art of letting the Bible passage set the agenda. The attitude with which we approach the bible has an effect on what we will get out of it. Doing a little biblical criticism can mean suspending our ‘faith’ before approaching the text, but approaching the bible with a devotional attitude needs the complete opposite.

Of course on our own isn’t the only way we engage with the Bible. There are those Sunday sermons where we may get the Bible explained and applied for us. We may also have a small group where we can sit and discuss a passage, sharing our thoughts and questions.

Size doesn’t matter

I’ve been attempting to read the bible in a year. I’ve been doing pretty well and I’ll finish just into the New Year. The reading plan that I have used has meant that I have read much bigger chunks of the bible than I normally do. This have given me a different perspective on many passages and books. I have also tried to read the passages as I would an ordinary book, attempting to leave my faith to one side. This is to try and get a new angle on the book I am very familiar with. And it has been an interesting experiment.

Various-tinted glasses

When I stand up on Sunday morning and hear a reading from the gospel, or log on to Wordlive, or discuss a passage with a group of work colleagues, or read over three chapters in my year long reading plan, I bring a whole lot of baggage with me. This baggage isn’t just what I believe in though. The setting, my attitude and what I’m going to read are part of the package.

What I am saying is that I have found it helpful to mix things up. It is easy to get into a rut, just to listen to sermons or just to do our quiet time or even to leave the bible to one side and let some spiritual osmosis take place within our chosen community. My background is traditional evangelical and I have been brought up on tiny bits of the bible. This is good but taking a step back this year and reading big chunks has shed a lot of light on passages I either seldom visited or only looked at in isolation.

Take Paul’s letters. I have lived many years only looking at several verses at a time. But it is more than likely each letter would originally have been read out in one go. How often have I done that? How about you? I can say that it makes a big difference to its impact.

So perhaps we need to think outside of the box, give a little bit of blue sky thinking to how we approach the bible. Perhaps that will help us deepen our relationship with God and then bingo.

 

About Darren Hill