Friday, 30 March 2007

Month 2 - Exodus - Dates

Due to popular demand we're going to experiment with running the same session twice for a while. The first time through will continue to be on Mondays, the second will start on Wednesdays.

So we’ll be looking at Exodus on Monday 30th April and Wednesday 2nd May. It would be great to see you at one of the sessions. I’ll update this site shortly with some more information, as well as posting some reflections / notes from Monday's session.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Frequently Asked Questions

I've missed all the sessions so far is it too late to join in?
No, each session is designed to stand alone, so you can come to as many, or as few as works for you. Notes are available for the previous sessions if you want to read about sessions you've missed, but there's no need to "catch up" if you've missed earlier sessions.

Why five and a half years?
Well there are 66 books in the bible (at least according to protestants), and we're going to do a book a month in order. 66 months equals 5½ years.

Do you really expect people to commit to five years?
No. I'm anticipating that people will dip in and out depending on what they are interested in, what else they have on, how much they have enjoyed the sessions they have been to so far, and also whether or not they are in a busy period. The advantage of going through book by book is that we can also re-launch when we get to the start of the New Testament. But it's also about putting something on for those who are in for the long haul.

Can anyone come?
Theoretically yes, although it'll probably be most helpful for those who have been Christians for quite a while. Conversely, it may not be the most helpful thing in the world for those who have only become Christians fairly recently.

Do we have to have read the whole book before we come?
No, but this is probably the best way to get the most out of a session. I do recognise, though, that people have busy lives and that some of the books are very long. In any case even taking a cursory glance through the book in question, to get a feel for its flow and remind you of its content would be helpful.

Are you really going to spend as long on Nahum as on Genesis?
Bizarrely yes. The thing is that although everyone says all the books of the Bible are important, most people's practice demonstrates that they don't really believe it. But I'm struck by the fact that someone, somewhere thought the more ignored books were important, and I'm keen to find out why, and what that says about our faith today. Besides when was the last time you heard anyone discuss Obadiah?

Will all the sessions follow the same format?
Yes and no. Whilst my interests and patterns will inevitably mean that many things are approached the same way, the variation in the books themselves will lead to differences in how each session is presented. For example, with the smaller books we'll be able to go into more detail than we would for the longer books. In so doing, a method will be demonstrated that people can take away and apply to any of the longer books they wish to study in more depth. In addition, there are some books where one of the Old Testament's main themes is particularly dominant. On reaching these we'll look at that theme in detail including looking at other relevant texts.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Month 1 - Genesis

The first session of Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years takes place on the 26th March at 5 Meadow Lane, Loughborough. We'll start at 7:30pm.

In addition to the book of Genesis and the general recommended reading (see side panel), here are a few resources you might like to check out:

John L Gibson's 2 bible commentaries in the Daily Study Bible series are a great introduction to looking at Genesis. There's a brief introduction followed by a few verses and some commentary on each day. I own both volumes, and Open Heaven owns volume one.

In terms of online resources, Tyler Williams' Codex site has all kinds of useful information. In addition to his Genesis commentary survey, he has also started a series on his blog on Creation in Ancient Mesopotamia and how that links to the biblical accounts of creation. Lastly there is a brilliant 10 verse Genesis Limerick where each line. All these posts are bunched together under the heading "Genesis".

Two other web sites worth checking, although perhaps afterwards rather than before are the Bible Dudes site, and the Just So Stories. The "Just So Stories" are the nearest modern day parallel to one of the types of literature we find behind Genesis. Bible Dudes is a fantastic site, funny and light-hearted, whilst giving a solid introduction to certain aspects of the bible. The Biblical Studies pages will be particularly relevant for "Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years". Picture Bill and Ted doing Biblical Studies rather than basic history, and then picture someone parodying that but making the information sound and informative and you're about there. Easily the most interesting and readable introduction ever crafted.

Finally, I wrote an article for Open Heaven a couple of years ago looking at films based on the stories from Genesis, which I deftly named Genesis Films.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007


Hi and welcome to the "Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years" blog.

The catchily titled "Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years" is a monthly get together looking at a different book of the bible each month. It's best to think of it as a series of one off events rather than a course you have to commit to. So people can just pick and choose which sessions to come to depending on which books appeal, or which nights they are free.

The idea is to take one book of the bible each month and look at the stories they contain, how and why they were written, issues of interpretation, theology, and that sort of thing. It'll be delivered in a mix of styles including discussion, group work, reading, short talks interactive exercises and of course film.

You'll get the most out of the sessions if you have read the relevant book of the bible beforehand, but it's not compulsory. Updates, resources and a few relevant links and bits and pieces will appear on this site every so often.

Each session will take place on Monday nights at 5 Meadow Lane, Loughborough, starting at 7:30pm

If you've arrived at these ages by chance, hello, and I hope you find something useful.