Friday, February 20, 2009

bible days kickoff

Gospel of John, this Saturday 21 February, 3:30-5:30pm, Opawa Baptist. In just two hours you will get a helicopter overview of the gospel of John, skills in how to apply it to life today and tools to encourage ongoing reading. Open to anyone (with a $5 cost for those outside Opawa).

Why Bible Days? Last year the Bible Society surveyed over 3,300 Kiwis about their Bible reading habits. They found that only 11% of Christians read the Bible daily and only 23% of New Zealanders regularly discuss the teachings of the Bible with others. Not the best stats.

At the same time, I had been reading the history of the Bible Reading Fellowship. It started from one local church, keen to encourage Bible reading, who began to offer monthly Bible teaching, linked to daily Bible reading. I was struck by the way this would deepen reading by applying scholarship, the way that one-off evenings in fact allow continual promotion of what is a regular practice and the potential to blend the individual and the corporate.

Hence Bible days. Seven times in 2009 we have asked some excellent Kiwi Bible teachers for two hours of their best on their favourite Bible book. The books are chosen based on the daily Bible reading plan published in the church newsletter. In other words, in the week the Bible reading plan switches to the gospel of John, so comes the Bible day – Saturday, 21 February.

Previously we have provided overview courses – how to read the Old Testament and New Testament for all it’s worth. Well worth doing. But once the course, is done, what next? With Bible days, we are freed by the lectionary calendar, able to offer short 2 hour bursts that sync with our existing practices around Bible reading.

As the project builds (it won’t all happen the first day) we hope to
– make the 2 hours podcastable, so anyone can access it.
– place in the 24/7 room resources to allow further study
– provide ways online and offline to encourage ongoing daily discussion.

I’m quietly excited. It feels simple, yet allows multiple access points to different generations. And maybe, in the process and through the mix of 2 hour teaching, daily reading, internet technologies and multiple discussion options, Opawa might actually become better Bible readers. (more explanation here).

Posted by steve at 04:35 PM


  1. I was surprised by the statistic that almost 1 in 4 Kiwis do regularly discuss the teachings of the bible, I reckon that’s quite high. I would quite like to give this a go using the podcasts – am getting bored of radio on my daily walks. Does it matter if I’m not sure I believe in God and probably wont be able to attend any of the Bible days? And how do I go about paying the fee and to whom and how much? Cheers.

    Comment by jack — February 21, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

  2. physical attendance not required. fee only a worry if this takes off ie bandwith goes up.

    you don’t have to believe in God, but it could well be that what we are doing is “in-house” and making presumptions. most areas of life have their own “codes.” so honest feedback needed,

    we are going to call them audio lectures from now on, not podcasts, as we don’t want to “oversell” this


    Comment by steve — February 22, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  3. OK – are you trying to say this wouldnt really be for me??

    Comment by jack — February 22, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  4. no. just that we’re not confident it’s “good” and want honest feedback not platitudes,


    Comment by steve — February 22, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

  5. Thanks for the clarification – no worries about the ‘good’ – I just want to try some bible reading again and thought this might give me a starting point. I realise it may be ‘in house’ in nature. Did you think I wouldn’t give honest feedback – I’m a bit confused on that one?

    Comment by jack — February 23, 2009 @ 8:19 am

  6. Hi Steve (and Jack),

    Steve, I’m really interested in how this goes. Can’t wait to hear the first one. How did it go?

    Steve and Jack, just to clarify the figure of people discussing the teachings of the Bible – only 26% of Christians discuss the Bible’s teachings at least once a week. The figure for the entire population is 14%. Considering 46% of the population consider themselves Christian, the figure is pretty low.

    Stephen (Bible Society)

    Comment by Stephen — February 25, 2009 @ 10:06 am

  7. Thanks Stephen for that clarification – that seems more in line with my experience.

    Comment by jack — February 25, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

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