We are told by our Christian community that time alone in God’s word is important.
We are maybe given some training in personal bible reading.
We are usually left alone to live out this important aspect of our faith.
Maybe your context is different, but this seems to be what often happens. Left on their own, many students struggle. They want to spend time in God’s word, but encounter numerous obstacles. Do they have to overcome them on their own? By definition, personal Bible reading is something we do on our own. Does that mean we have to struggle alone?
Last spring, a Swiss student sent out a questionnaire on bible reading to students in Switzerland and France. One question was: What would encourage you to read the bible?
Many answers pointed in the same direction:
- ‘Defining a passage beforehand which everybody reads during the week and then sharing about it the next time we meet.’
- ‘Deciding to use the same reading plan in our student group. All read the same passages and then we share about them. I think that would be very motivating.’
- ‘Having friends who read the same bible passage on the same day. That would give me a bit of positive pressure.’
- ‘Every week define mini-groups of two people who read the same bible passage and then share about what they have read.’
Other responses were similar. These students want a communal context for their personal bible reading. Their concrete suggestions are worth trying out. Just recently, a student wrote saying that he and a friend read one chapter of the bible daily. During the day, they exchange text messages about their reading. He comments: ‘The sharing really helped us to enjoy reading the bible.’
These are not the only ways to create a communal context for personal bible reading. Which other experiences or ideas come to your mind?
Time alone in God’s word. Time to deepen intimacy in our relationship with Jesus. Time to stop, receive, and regain perspective in our busy day-to-day lives.
Let’s not leave one another alone in this important aspect of our faith.