CHICAGO, IL (August 24, 2016) – When Oakdale Covenant Church participated in the Covenant Community Bible Experience, some longtime members were not happy with the Bible version used. It doesn’t break the text into chapters or verses, but instead presents it as a continuous narrative.
“Reading select verses and passages is one thing, but reading it as a story or novel is totally different,” said pastor Darrell Griffin. “Now you are able to pay more attention to the nuances, and some of the experiences start jumping out at you.” By the end of the experience, participants were excited about the fresh ways in which they encountered the text.
Oakdale was one of several churches that served as a pilot for CBE, which functions less like a Bible study and more like a book club. The church read through the entire New Testament together.
Griffin said the format enabled people to get a deeper understanding of who Jesus is. They noticed how each Gospel writer emphasized different aspects of Christ’s ministry—one highlighting his divinity, while another focused more on his humanity.
Readers saw the book of Acts in a fresh way as well. “They really got to see that the early church started out as a prayer meeting and how it materialized more as an organization,” Griffin said. “They got to see how the people in Acts cared for one another, and the squabbles they had to deal with and how they addressed those.”
Griffin added that participants also came to better understand how similar the issues the early church faced are to those the contemporary church encounters today.
It’s not just longtime believers who benefit from CBE, Griffin said. “I think this version would be great to give to new believers because you get the better context for what is happening,” he explained.
Resources for the Covenant Community Bible Experience (CBE) are now available for download. They are published in English and Spanish.
They include materials for all ages that range from “How to Read the Bible with Children” and “How to Engage in Conversations about God” for kids, to personal study questions and Spotify playlists that correspond with lessons for adults and teens.
Materials also include a variety of ideas for using CBE as an outreach to neighbors, including suggested wording for invitations, possible venues outside the home, and questions to use.