Summer learning: What to do with a best seller

News | June 22, 2020

The Bible remains the best-selling book of all time. Many people have also suggested that it is the least-read bestseller. It is not unusual to talk with people who have at some time tried to “read the Bible beginning to end” only to find that it is not an easy task; most give up.

With its wide range of types of writing, its many references to people and places and practices that are thoroughly unfamiliar to us, its aura of holiness, and its too-frequent use as a source of judgment and accusation, the Bible does invite us in very generously.

What do we do with this bestseller?

During July, St. Paul will offer a four-week series of videos, an on-site exhibition in the Lower Commons, some practical guidance and exercises, and multiple weekly opportunities to gather around this question in person and online.

This summer learning opportunity will introduce several ways of using the Bible and the tools and practices that support them. Participants will approach the Bible as a devotional resource, a place to find guidance in life, a fount of inspiration, and a seedbed for growing in faith.

Weekly schedule, July 5-27
Video: Posted each Sunday at 12 noon on YouTube (

Discussions: Sign up here.

On-site: (choose one for each week)
▶ Mondays, 7 p.m.
▶ Thursdays, 9:30 a.m.
▶ Fridays, 3 p.m.

Or, choose the online discussion on Wednesdays, 12 noon

Exhibition in July:
▶ Weekdays, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
▶ Wednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m.
▶ Sundays, 1-3 p.m.
Other times by arrangement, just ask!

Week of July 5
Devotion: Focused by who we are, devotional Bible reading leads us into reflection on our identity and affirms us as children of God. It shapes our sense of self and our place in the world, deepening our sense of the presence of God in our lives.

Week of July 12
Guidance: Focused by the situations and challenges that we face, reading the Bible for guidance discovers the practical and spiritual insights that best shape our choices in life. It draws distinctions among priorities and aligns our values with those of the people of God throughout history.

Week of July 19
Inspiration: Focused by the artistry of biblical language and literature, as well as the arts that people have used to express the biblical message, inspirational Bible reading draws out our aesthetic senses and opens up truth to us as beauty. It leads us along paths where we join with God as an artist of creation.

Week of July 26
Growth in Faith: Focused by the Bible’s many images of God, creation, humanity and society, reading the Bible to grow in faith clarifies and expands our understanding of the divine and our relationship to it. It equips us to think more powerfully through life’s toughest questions, grounding our worldliness in the world’s inherent truth.

The exhibition in Lower Commons will offer examples of Bibles that are especially suited for each approach, tools that make it easier to pursue each approach, and illustrations of the ways that the various approaches to Bible study have emerged over centuries of Bible study and production.

Texts from the Dead Seas Scrolls, illuminations from the medieval period, devotional Bibles of various types, and many useful tools for Bible study will be displayed with explanations that offer a self-guided tour through many of the dimensions of this topic that will be studied in the video classes and discussions.

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