Monday, January 04, 2016

BookPastor: "The NIV Serendipity Bible For Study Groups" (Serendipity House)

TITLE: The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups: Contains the Complete New International Version Text
CONTRIBUTORS: Community of believers gathered by the Serendipity House organization
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988, (1646 pages).

Have you ever read your Bible and found yourself stuck on how to study the Bible? Do you depend mostly on your teaching leader or Bible study teacher to prepare all the questions? What if you can find a Bible with questions already prepared on the side columns? What if study questions can help you facilitate the Bible study so that you can build on it with your own? What if this set of helps can be extended not only for the passage you are interested to study, but also for the whole Bible?

Way back in 1978, a group of believers had a dream to design a Bible just for study groups. With the actual text, they put together resources to help believers to be like the Bereans, to study the Bible together in search of truth that has been revealed. The result is this Bible study resource that contains over 20000 questions to draw in believers' excitement and to send out passionate disciples.

Three categories are offered. The first is OPEN where questions were used to open up discussion. Often, study groups will take a while to warm up. Some would use icebreakers or opening salvos to launch a lively discussion. As a Bible study leader, I appreciate this because it gives me a fresh way to prepare the group. In fact, I find the pressure to simply put something on the page lifted. It allows me to put in my own thoughts and formulate my own questions. At the least, if I could not put anything in due to tiredness or lack of inspiration, I know I have something to fall back to. The second is DIG for a deeper understanding of the contexts, the content, and the contrasts with life both then and now. Learning requires deep reverence as well as respect for the text we hold. At the same time, we can pepper the texts with questions and be open to the way the Holy Spirit uses the texts to question us. The third is REFLECT and to see how we can apply the Word into our lives. Instead of asking about what the Bible means, this third category helps us ask how the Word applies to us.

The system is not exactly Inductive Bible Study method, but it serves a useful guide to doing Bible study together as groups. What's more, this Bible study resource has been put together by many community leaders across many nations. It's quite an amazing feat for Serendipity House to provide such a useful guide. Of course, with the Internet nowadays, we can get all kinds of information. The problem with this is not about information but about what kind of information we can discern correctly. It can often become a hit and miss effort. Worse, it can be the introduction of false theologies that even the most well-intentioned leader can make a mistake too. That is one reason why this resource can be most helpful. At least there is a consistency in format. There is assurance of credible writers all committed to the same cause. There is a unity of the body of Christ.

If you are thinking of a good Bible study, perhaps, for a lack of informed choices, you may just want to pick this up.


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