Dedicated group uses The Story to study Scripture via Zoom
Your New Year’s resolution is to read through your Bible from Genesis through Revelation. You start strong, recognizing familiar names, such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and stories about apples and snakes, a flood topped off with a rainbow, a man who couldn’t count the stars and another who wrestled with God and limped away a changed man. You cross the Red Sea, eat manna, and travel through the wilderness with Moses and the nation of Israel as you turn page after page of Exodus. You’re enjoying the journey, wondering to yourself why it has taken so long to dust off these pages and dive into God’s story. Then you step into Leviticus only to find yourself in the middle of a strange instruction manual of sacrifices, offerings, hygiene regulations, and a whole lot of rituals that leave you debating a return to the wilderness! Many people close their Bible at this point and sigh! You, however, don’t give up that easily, skimming through Leviticus and jumping right into the book of Numbers. Here you find lots of lists – lists and lists and lists and lists – none that seem to make much sense to you. So, what do you do? You close your Bible and sigh! Over the years, I have heard stories from individuals who attempted to read through their Bibles, and for a variety of reasons, became discouraged. Some people suggest reading only the New Testament, yet the foundations of the Gospel are laid out for us in the Old Testament. The Bible is foundational for our understanding of God and humanity. Engaging God’s Word helps us understand our relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible helps us to understand ourselves, and to understand why we do the things we don’t want to do, instead of doing the things we know are right and beneficial (Romans 7:15). Engaging Scripture is beneficial to our spiritual health and our personal wellbeing. So how do we make the journey from Genesis to Revelation without becoming frustrated or sidetracked? Might I suggest gathering some “study buddies” for a journey through The Story. What is The Story, you ask? An excellent question. The Story is an abridged Bible that narrates the story of God and His great love for fallen humanity chronologically. It reads like a novel, thus making Scripture more accessible and understandable to the everyday reader. Max Lucado and Randy Frazee add transition notes throughout, painting a clearer picture for readers. Your next question may be, “Who are the Study Buddies?” Well, let me introduce them to you. The Study Buddies are a group of individuals who took advantage of an opportunity to study The Story together via Zoom. They are a dedicated group to take on the challenge of a 31-week study, and take on the challenge they did. This is a diverse group of individuals joining together from their homes in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Willowdale, Port Carling, and Toronto, Ontario. Joining them from other time zones were Cheryl in Glasgow Scotland, who forfeited sleep to join at 1 a.m., and Stewart and Rose from Summerside, Prince Edward Island.
Here are some of their testimonies:
“When I first heard about the study group, based on The Story, I thought 31 weeks seemed like a big commitment, but am so glad I joined. I looked forward to our weekly meetings, and I gained a new friend and prayer partner” — Karen Ramer, Gravenhurst, Ontario.
“I keep tabs with a couple from Prince Edward Island, a lawyer in Scotland, and a neighbour who dropped off chicken yesterday. All of us were brought together through shared screen time focussed on divine inspiration found among us. It would be safe to say none of us have time to argue with the silly around us, and each of us sees the value in the community we have come to know as the study buddies, which spans oceans, but is held together by a few common threads: a faith leader, a cute puppy, and a recognition of the Gospel when we hear it.” — Stan Hunter, Port Carling, Ontario.
“Reading The Story from cover to cover was an accomplishment for me. I have tried reading through the Bible in the past, but stopped each time. The Story was a good way to read God’s Word, and the Study Buddies encouraged and supported me by letting me know that my questions and opinions matter. Their friendship, prayers and encouragement showed me God’s love and helped me understand that God is always there for me.” — Stewart Razavet, Prince Edward Island
“I gained many insights and benefitted from different perspectives. It added to my knowledge and sparked my curiosity. I feel I gained many friends and developed a closeness which enabled an open exploration. Although we were assigned prayer partners, I felt everyone in the group was my prayer partner. The continued fellowship has strengthened my faith.” — Cheryl Osborne, Glasgow, UK
“Being paired up with another Buddy to pray for and show support when needed was truly amazing. God’s presence was really felt in this group of amazing people. Lots of new friendships were made, and what a blessing it was to fly to Ontario and meet up with many of the group and others from another study group.” — Rose Razavet, Summerside, Prince Edward Island
“It has been a privilege to meet friends from around the world and study with them. For me, the pleasure of having met and enjoyed the partnership of my prayer partner has been very rewarding.” — Doreen Murray, Port Carling, Ontario
Over the years, we have seen a growing number of Bible translations that enable people to better read and understand God’s Word. I believe The Story brings God’s Word to life in a new way that makes reading Scripture enjoyable and accessible to this generation. If you have struggled to read through your Bible in the past, I recommend picking up a copy of the Story and starting the journey from Genesis through to Revelation. Like any long journey (The Story is 31 weeks) there are benefits to bringing friends along to share in the driving, expenses, and experiences, so why not invite some friends to join the adventure with you?
— Glynis Faith is a PCC minister and a member of the Renewal Fellowship Board of Directors
What a wonderfully nurturing experience Study Buddies must have been for each and every person. From your personal reflections, I’m very keen to pick up The Story and start reading once again.