Tuesday 1 January 2019

From Cover to Cover: Whole Life, Whole Bible

A few years ago, along with friends and colleagues from the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity – Margaret Killingray and Helen Parry – I put together a book called Whole Life, Whole Bible. First published by Bible Reading Fellowship in 2012, it was designed to go through the main contours of the biblical story in 50 short readings.

With the kind permission of BRF, LICC is making the readings available as an email series and a YouVersion reading plan. More information, including a sign-up box for the email service and a link to the YouVersion plan, is available here.

Meanwhile, I wrote the below ‘Word for the Week’ to provide more information about the approach of the book and hopefully some encouragement to ‘take up and read’.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
Revelation 22:20-21

‘Tell me a story’ and ‘Once upon a time’ – a four-word request and a four-word opening. Both phrases capture something of the universal human desire for stories. Indeed, our own lives are submerged in several interconnecting ‘stories’ – of living through the Second World War, of being married with grown-up children, of working in finance, of having a passion for collecting stamps, of serving on the PCC, of holidaying in Cornwall – and all these ‘stories’ shape our lives in different ways.

For Christians, of course, the most crucial story for shaping the way we think and live is the biblical story. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible can be seen as an epic narrative: a story which begins with God as Creator, which focuses on Israel as the people who will bring God’s blessing to the nations, which the New Testament declares has come to its promised fulfilment in the redemption brought about through Christ, in whom God’s purposes for the universe will be consummated.

LICC’s Whole Life, Whole Bible is designed to walk through the unfolding story of the Bible in 50 readings and reflections. It’s written with the conviction that God’s word sets the agenda for our lives as followers of Jesus today. And it does so for the whole of life – on Monday to Saturday as well as Sunday, in public and in private, in culture as well as in church, in work as much as in worship. Moreover, this ‘whole-life’ perspective is not limited to a few biblical passages here and there, but is woven through the story as a whole – from cover to cover, from creation to new creation.

The reading plan provides a way of understanding how individual passages relate to each other in the larger picture of the Bible. Beyond that is the reminder that we are a part of this ongoing drama which embraces the entirety of our lives – individually and together – for the sake of the world in which we are called to live.

Whole Life, Whole Bible aims to show how the big story of the Bible forms our minds, fires our imaginations, and fuels our daily existence – as we live in God’s world in the light of God’s word, taking the Lord of life into the whole of life.

1 comment:

Ross Hendry said...

Just as a word of encouragement; the Ergon Fellowship at All Souls has this book as one of its set text for the year, and each month we get the group to mediate on the studies that are relevant to the part of the bible story we will cover with them at the next meeting. We're now in our fifth year and every each new cohort finds the studies really helpful in connecting each part of the bible story with their work and lives.