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4 Stars Out Of 5
Bible reading and discussion
June 20, 2013
I received this book as a review copy from Matthias Media in exchange for an honest review. I was intrigued by the product description for One to One Bible Reading. As a result, I requested it. One of the things that has struck me the most in the Christian life is the importance of Bible reading and prayer. Ultimately, every single Christian work of literature should be examined in light of its biblical accuracy. Sadly, too many professing Christians derive their theology and practice from what extra-biblical authors say the Bible says, rather than looking at the Bible themselves to see if it actually does say such things. Helm seeks to rectify such a scenario in his present work.
Helm identifies three different segments of people - unbelievers, new believers, and longtime believers. He proposes that a simple framework of Bible reading and discussion (accompanied by prayer) utilized in meetings with individuals in any of those three categories will be extremely beneficial. She even urges readers who feel intimidated such an arrangement to reconsider their reluctance. He urges them to simply ask someone - unbeliever, new believer, or long-time believer - If he or she is interested in such meetings. The worst that may happen is a person declines the offer. Helm reminds the reader that he or she will not have every answer to every question, and it is okay to do further research to find answers before the next meeting.
I remember having meetings such as this during Bible college and growing immensely as a result. Somewhere along the way we begin to think we need more than the Bible and prayer. I appreciate the author's call to return to reading and studying the Bible together. He also urges prayer before inviting others to participate, and prayer during the meetings. The book has explanatory outlines of how to organize the meetings. Helm supplies an introductory approach and also a more in-depth approach. The author also tailors these approaches to be genre specific and supplies outlines which may be photocopied or downloaded from the Matthias Media website.
I truly appreciate David Helm's accessible writing style and the approach to disciplemaking which he sets forth here. Again, there is nothing earth shattering here in this book. But, that was not the author's intention. Helm as a pastor and a Christian man is simply calling God's people to utilize what God has given to the church for her mission of making disciples. It should be obvious to every Christian that the most important things in the Christian life are the things we find ourselves neglecting the most - the Word of God and prayer - in our personal lives and relationships with nonbelievers and believers alike. I recommend this book as a helpful tool for making disciples in and outside of the local church.
When we read the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) we find one of the commands that Christ gives the church is to make disciples. A disciple is someone who follows Christ so we have the command to help others be sold out in service to Him. Sounds simple yet when you sit down and really think about it, it can be quit involving. One may not be sure where to begin. I believe we begin by simply reading the Word with them, helping them to gain a better understanding of God's commands then showing them how to live it out. All other aspects of our life with Christ flow from living out Scripture.
In David Helm's wonderful book One-to-One Bible Reading he gives us clear advice on how to meet with someone to read the Bible. The first seven chapters give the what, why and how on reading the Bible with someone and the last four give great application. Usually when a book gives application I get nervous but not with this book. I could see using his ideas as I disciple others in studying Scripture.
They have created questions you can discuss for each Bible reading you have with someone. They even have tailored the questions for sections of the Bible like the Gospels and Acts, Old Testament narrative, the epistles, etc.
If you are serious about discipling someone (that should be all of us) and not sure where to start (that is many of us), this is the book for you.
DISCLAIMER: I received an Advance Reader's Copy of the book One to One Bible Reading by David Helm from Matthias Media Publishers in exchange for a publicized review of the book.
I must admit that at first glance, I thought this was going to be another evangelistic gimmick with a new approach to pressuring people with the Gospel. Thankfully, I was wrong. This book is more than just an evangelistic tool - it is a relationship tool. Many of us in our world desire relationships with people but don't know where to begin. Here is a great place to start. I had never heard of the idea of reading the Bible one to one, but it sounds simply wonderful. Helm goes through and gives ideas about how to read different types of the Biblical literature, and even presents a possible plan for reading the Gospel of Mark to give you a place to start. But it is really up to the two individuals as to what and when to read. And that is the simplistic beauty of it. You just find someone to ask if they would like to read the Bible with you, decide on where you would like to begin reading, how often you would like to read together, how long you can or want to read together each time, where you would like to meet to read together, and that's pretty much it. If you want to pray you can or not. If you want to discuss the reading you can or not. It is not about applying pressure as most evangelistic programs do, it is about just reading Scripture. Helm provides various tools such as suggested reading guides and questions to be asked of the text, but the decision to include those in your reading is strictly up to the two of you. And you can read with believers or non-believers. Reading the Bible together develops a relationship. And that is the intent of this book. There will be a little anxiety about asking your first person to read with you, but once you jump that hurdle, it is clear running from then on.
A recently released resource is available that trains believers in having one-to-one bible reading times with their friends who are non-believers, young believers, and growing believers. One to One Bible Reading is a brief book by David Helm, who pastors Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. This resource is inspired by the people from down-under at Matthias Media and especially another book that I have already reviewed, The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne.
Part of Helm's premise is inspired by a paragraph from the Trellis and the Vine:
Imagine if all Christians, as a normal part of their discipleship, were caught up in a web of regular Bible readingâ€”not only digging into the Word privately, but reading it with their children before bed, with their spouse over breakfast, with a non-Christian colleague at work once a week over lunch, with a new Christian for follow-up once a fortnight for mutual encouragement, and with a mature Christian friend once a month for mutual encouragement.
Prior to referring back to this quote from Marshall and Payne, Helm says in One-to-One, "What is this way? What is this activity that is so simple and so universal that it meets the discipleship needs of these three very different people? We call it reading the Bible one-to-one."
By design the one-to-one concept is meant to remove all the programmatic pressure that today's American church-goer is inclined to burden himself or herself to in the discipleship process. Rather than approaching discipleship with the expectation of having a directed program, professional curriculum, and polished facilitation, Helm frees Christ-followers from feeling like they have to be a bible study specialist and gives us confidence that meeting to read scripture together and discuss will be a catalyst for gospel, spiritual, and community growth.
Any committed Christian is capable of initiating a good conversation on a biblical text. In reality, your fears in this area of personal work betray two Screwtape-like lies that every Christian must resist. First, that gospel growth depends on us and on our abilities. This is simply not the case. Our proficiency in the Bible is not the final arbiter in seeing spiritual growth occur. The Holy Spirit can and does use timid people just like us. The second lie we fight against is disbeliefâ€”disbelief in the potency of God's word. We need to be reminded that God does his work in his way, and it is his word that accomplishes whatever he desires in the world.
The concept of One-to-One centers Christian fellowship around scripture. By design this fellowship leans heavily on the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of two people developing a mutual friendship around the Word of God.
This concept is not novel. This concept is not trendy. This concept is not vintage. It is simply rooted in historic biblical Christianity. This resource comes highly recommended!
View more book reviews by Joey Cochran at jtcochran.com.