Friday 16 November 2012

David Helm on One-to-One Bible Reading

David Helm, One-to-One Bible Reading: A Simple Guide for Every Christian (Kingsford: Matthias Media, 2011), 103pp. ISBN 9781921441981.

Here is a short, helpful, practical book from David Helm, essentially encouraging Christians to read the Bible with others:

‘Reading one-to-one is a variation on that most central Christian activity – reading the Bible – but done in the context of reading with someone. It is something a Christian does with another person, on a regular basis, for a mutually agreed upon length of time, with the intention of reading through an discussing a book or part of a book of the Bible’ – although he also notes that ‘there is no reason it cannot be employed in one-to-two or one-to-three contexts as well’ (11).

Part 1 looks at the ‘what, why and how’ of one-to-one Bible reading (covering the nuts and bolts of getting started, running meetings, etc.), while part 2 explores some ‘frameworks and ideas’.

Two simple frameworks for Bible reading are offered:

• The Swedish method – where the passage is read aloud; each person then reads the passage on their own again, looking for three things – a light bulb (anything that shines out in the passage), a question mark (anything that is hard to understand), an arrow (anything that applies personally); followed by sharing and discussion of each category.

• The COMA method – an acronym for Context, Observation, Meaning, Application, with questions asked about a Bible passage in all four categories.

Helm also offers recommendations of particular Bible passages for different sorts of people (whether non-Christians, new Christians, or established Christians), and suggests appropriate COMA questions to ask about the different biblical genres.

An excerpt of the book is available here, and Helm’s COMA questions on biblical genres are available here.

I read the book a while back, but have just caught sight of a short course connected with the book, available online – One-to-One Bible Reading.

According to the website:

‘This course is a way to share the idea of One-to-One Bible Reading with a group, to encourage others to get started with it. The course consists of four lessons that may be enjoyed by groups of any age or size. It’s for adult Sunday school classes, home groups, youth groups, or just a few friends who want to give themselves to reading the Bible.’

Each of the four lessons consists of a video of David Helm sharing a couple of insights from the book, some suggested discussion questions, and an activity.

All the material is available for convenient download from this page.

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