How to Prepare for your Bible Journey
Every journey—from a road trip to an academic degree to running a marathon—starts with some kind of training or preparation. Before you begin your Bible Journey courses, there’s a few small preparatory lessons that’ll help you get the most out of your studies.
First, let us walk you through the basics of how to use our Bible Journey courses.
Next, take a quick tour of our course structure and features so you can easily jump into your studies and navigate the platform.
Now you’re ready to prepare for your Bible Journey with these short lectures and reflection questions. They’ll help orient you to the way we’ll study the Bible together.
What Is the Bible?
If you asked a philosopher, scientist or poet what “love” is, you’d have very different answers. Similarly, we can define the Bible from different perspectives. It helps to characterize it in ways that people can appreciate.
Pause and Reflect
1. If you were speaking to a room of secular historians, how would you define what the Bible is?
2. If you were speaking to a room of pastors or Bible study leaders, how would you define the Bible?
3. Finally, if you were speaking to a room of young people, ages 12-14 – completely uninterested in a collection of writings thousands of years old – how would you define the Bible for them?
What Is the Bible About?
One way we can view the Bible is as a kind of symphony, with certain themes resurfacing throughout its 66 books. There are many themes and parallels in the Bible and your Bible Journey courses will help you notice and trace these themes throughout the Scriptures.
Pause and Reflect
1. Think of a collection of literature or films you know well (such as Shakespeare’s plays, The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter). What major themes can you identify in the collection?
2. Even though the Bible was written by many authors across many centuries, certain themes are carried throughout its varied books. Consider the biblical stories, teaching and other kinds of biblical writings (such as the Psalms or the Proverbs) that you know. What themes have you observed?
3. The video speaks of the biblical theme of a covenant. When you think of a covenant, what words come to mind? Can you think of any covenants in your own life? What makes a covenant different from a simple agreement or contract?
How Do We Interpret the Bible?
Interpreting an ancient, translated text can prove difficult. But it’s not impossible. How can we interpret the Bible in a way that responsibly reflects the original meaning?
Pause and Reflect
Imagine you were separated from someone you love for six months and they were allowed to send a single hand-written letter to communicate with you. Along the way, the letter got wet. The drops of water blurred many words. You could tell there were extremely important things communicated in the letter, but deciphering the letter was sometimes difficult.
1. In this scenario, you would probably work very hard to interpret the letter. How is this similar to, and how is it different from, the task of interpreting the Bible?
2. As we move forward, it may be helpful to consider how you have come to understand and interpret the Bible. How did people around you interpret it as you were growing up? (For example, you may have been used to interpreting it devotionally, academically, or theologically.)
3. Imagine a spectrum between “the Bible’s meaning is always plain and clear” and “the Bible is so complex, there’s no way to be sure of what it means.” Where along this spectrum would you characterize your prior experience?
4. This video introduces the three movements of Bible interpretation used throughout BibleJourney: In the Text, Behind the Text and In Front of the Text. How would you put those three movements in your own words? Have you had any experience with these movements in past study?
What Is the Impact of the Bible?
The Bible is not just for us today: the Bible has impacted many different aspects of culture and society across generations. The truth is, a better understanding of the Bible will also give us a better understanding of the world around us.
Pause and Reflect
1. Even if you were not raised in a Jewish or Christian household, chances are you grew up in a culture where the stories of the Bible were all around you. See if you can think of 5-10 biblical figures, characters or scenes that are often portrayed or explored in paintings, sculptures, films, theater or music.
2. For many cultures, the Bible has formed a sort of shared storybook—a set of stories that most people knew and could reference or discuss. If they made a narrow escape, they might think of Moses leading the Israelites through the waters of the Red Sea. If they faced a daunting challenge, they might think of the David and Goliath story.
What are some of the (non-biblical) shared storybooks in our culture today? (Think of the books, shows and movies that it feels like everyone sees and discusses.) How are they different from the Bible as a shared storybook?
Now you’re all set to dive into your Bible Journey! You can sign up now for an all-access pass for our complete Bible Journey curriculum or get started with a free trial of our full Gospel of John course.