Surveys by the CODEC organisation showed that 70% of church going Christians owned a Bible, but only 18% read it at least once a week. Projects like The Big Bible were set up to find ways of developing greater Bible engagement among a much wider readership.
The Big Bible Project is a non-denominational initiative to encourage Bible reading within a group, church or community. Using hard-copy books and live groups or online resources and ‘cyber-groups’ individuals of all faiths traditions and none are encouraged to read and explore the Bible together.
The Big Bible Project encourages Biblical literacy in the Christian community by highlighting events, promoting ‘good news’ stories and making Bible study resources available online and offline.
The Big Bible project began as The Big Read in North East England in 2010. A series of nation wide events in 2011 encouraged individuals and churches not to shy away from opening the Bible outside of a church service. Instead churches were given the resources to engage in group discussion and explore the Bible for today.
Spin-offs from the project included the Viral Bible - highlight your favourite verses and pass it on, and the Bible-on-a-washing-line theatre project. Technology based projects including DigiLit and Digidisciple encouraged a Bible reading culture with links to social media and events in the online Christian community.
In Lent 2011, The Big Read encouraged a Lent programme of group Bible reading and conversations around the Bible’s big themes. Bible reading communities nationwide joined to read and study Tom Wright’s ‘Lent for Everyone: Matthew’, as set out in the church lectionary cycle year A.
Now in it’s third year, The Big Read 2012 focuses on the gospel of Mark, again using a ‘For Everyone’ Lent study course by Tom Wright. Readers joining the Big Read can receive plans for house group study, publicity material, ideas and additional resources to get more out of their group time together.
Tom Wright’s ‘Lent for Everyone: Mark’
All Tom Wright’s ‘For Everyone’ books are written for Christians of any denomination to use for private study or join in group exploration. ‘Lent for Everyone: Mark’ includes the whole gospel of Mark presented as 53 short readings accompanied with a short reflection in Tom Wright’s easy and informative style.
Readings and reflections begin on Ash Wednesday with message of John the Baptist and continue through Mark’s gospel to the Saturday after Easter with retrospective views of Jesus teaching in the light of his death and resurrection. Enriched with references to gospel of John and poetry from the Psalms, Lent for Everyone: Mark’ is arranged thoughtfully and prayerfully to make Lent into a time of rich discovery and spiritual growth.
Eden.co.uk Author Snap-shot: Tom Wright
Leading Christian author, speaker and broadcaster and former Bishop of Durham. Described by Time magazine as "one of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought". Recently completing his easy-to-read ‘For Everyone’ series of book-by-book guides to the entire New Testament, Tom Wright is Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Andrews University, Scotland. For a quick one volume overview of Tom Wright’s thinking and his message for the church, try his 2008 book, Surprised by Hope.
Quick Guide to
‘Lent for Everyone: Mark’ by Tom Wright
‘Lent for Everyone: Mark’ by Tom Wright - what is it?
- A series of 53 short mediations on Mark’s gospel for all the days from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday after Easter.
- Ideal for individual private devotions, small group study and inter-denominational reading as part of the Big Bible Project.
- Fits into the church year as part of the lectionary cycle for year B
‘Lent for Everyone: Mark’ by Tom Wright - why should I buy one?
- To explore the gospel of Mark through Lent and beyond privately or as part of group study.
- For Tom Wright’s insightful view on the message of Mark’s gospel for the individual, the church and the world today.
- To benefit from the unique season of Lent as a time of spiritual growth and renewal for the individual and the whole church.
Over to You
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‘Professionalisation and individualisation’ are blamed by the Bible survey group CODEC for the low level of weekday Bible reading in church-going Christians.
- What do you think this means, and has the Bible become less accessible or just less accessed?
- How would you encourage a culture of Bible reading among church-going Christians, what of you think would be the impact on the ‘Professionalisation and individualisation’ of Bible interpretation if Christians read the Bible together more often?
Tell us. Post your ideas, views and tips - beautiful, bizarre and brilliant at Eden.co.uk
January 10th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison