Compass Bearings: Touring the New Testament

touring-new-testament

There is a life principle that goes like this: the more you know, the more you see. I know little about cars so when I look under the hood I can only make out the battery and where you put the washer fluid. But mechanics know more and so see more. They can see the carburetor, radiator, alternator, and any other “ators” hiding there.

The principle “the more you know the more you see” applies to any area of life, including our faith. If we want to see more of God’s work in and around us, then we want to know more of the heart, wisdom, promises, and instruction of God, which we find in Scripture.

Indeed, in the ECC we confess that the “Holy Scripture, the Old and New Testament, is the word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct.”

In other words, Scripture is our frame of reference for all of life. We ask, “Where is it written?” meaning, “What does the Bible say?” We humbly search the Scriptures and then humbly do our best to align with its truth as authoritative, even when it is personally costly to do so.

Proverbs 4:13 says, “Hold on to instruction—do not let it go. Guard it well, for it is your life.” The wisdom of God is life-giving, not life-stifling.

At times it seems people approach their Bible like the Constitution: something respected, but not really read, and whose content is vaguely familiar. How many articles are in the Constitution? What are the Ten Commandments? Both questions can be met with an embarrassed shrug and a “I should know, but I’m not really sure.”

At times people approach their Bible like they do the Constitution: it’s respected but not really read. 

If that describes you, take heart! Thousands of Covenanters are diving into a fresh overview of the New Testament. Our Make and Deepen Disciples team has entered into a partnership with Biblica, an organization that helps people become familiar with the Bible. Together, we are embarking on Covenant Community Bible Experience (CBE).

CBE is unlike anything you’ve done before, more like a book club than Bible study; more for understanding the big flow and content rather than focusing on the bits.

It helps us do so in two ways. First, the Bible we use is formatted a bit differently. Each of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament is there in its totality, but without chapter and verse notations—which actually were not a part of the text when it was originally written. This allows you to feel the “whole” rather than panning for nuggets.

Second, groups are forming around simple questions about what people are discovering. Questions include: What is something you noticed for the first time? What questions do you have? What did you learn about loving God? What did you learn about loving others?

All it takes is twenty minutes a day, five days a week, for eight weeks. You will have read the entire New Testament in that time, with a much greater orientation to the life and teachings of Jesus as well as the joys and challenges of the earliest Christians in seeking to follow and serve Jesus.

Scores of Covenant churches are already jumping in as entire congregations. Indeed, our dream is that every Covenanter would read through the New Testament in the next twelve months. Encourage your church to participate in CBE. But if it doesn’t, feel free to organize your own group with family, friends, or neighbors. Everything you need is at CBE.CovChurch.org.

The ECC was begun by people who so deeply loved the Bible that they were called “readers.” They sought every opportunity to understand Scripture and to allow it to bear fruit in their lives. Through Covenant CBE you can live into the identity of a modern-day reader who seeks the same.  CC

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