If a recent Lifeway survey is correct, Bible engagement among Christians is in sorry shape. Among their findings: only 20% of church-goers read the Bible daily, less than half read it weekly, and 20% don’t read it at all.
Murray, president of Scripture Union Canada, writes to change this sorry state of affairs. He begins by offering “core foundational principles that inform and undergird Bible engagement.”
I particularly appreciated Murray’s strong and repeated emphasis on reading the Bible with Christ as the interpretive key. Some Christians avoid the Bible because they don’t know what to do with the first 39 books. A Christocentric hermeneutic offers a helpful and historically robust way to understand the Old Testament.
The second section of the book describes the practices involved in Bible engagement. He addresses practices like reading the Bible, whether personally, communally, or publicly. He also describes engaging the Bible in contemplation, imaging, reflecting, memorizing, journaling, singing, preaching, teaching, and more. The brief chapters in this section are rich with helpful suggestions; they also take into account the different purposes, personalities, and priorities of Bible readers.
The final section provides Bible engagement advice for all the groups one encounters in the church: children, Centennials, Millennials, adults, seniors, families, small groups, churches, and pastors. Like the previous section, Murray has provided a treasure trove of material from which to draw.
As suggested in the title, Murray addresses the Basics on this topic. To help the reader who wishes to explore this topic further, Murray also provides numerous “Recommended Resources.”
Living in post-Christian North America makes Bible engagement more necessary than ever. Without Scripture to generate and sustain a Christian social imaginary—a rival reality to challenge the secular narrative—Christians will find it increasingly difficult to live by faith. Murray’s book is a great resource to help Christians engage with God’s living Word.