We invite you to start with reading Deuteronomy 6:20-21 and 24-25.
Thirty years ago, a friend of mine invited me to join our middle school’s Christian student group. It was there that I first came into contact with the Christian faith. In the group, we simply read the Bible together. It was not about what I should or should not do, think or believe. We studied the Bible to find out who God was.
My friend did not keep his treasure to himself but invited me to find it too. That the faith should be shared and passed on has been a part of Christianity from the very beginning. However, sharing the faith encompasses much more than communicating certain beliefs or doctrines, or individual passages from Scripture. First and foremost, an invitation to the Christian faith is an invitation into the great freedom narrative of God and humanity: from Abraham to the Exodus, from Christmas to Easter.
It is primarily through the Bible that God communicates with us. The Bible‘s function is rather like the Old Testament tabernacle: it is the appointed place for coming into the presence of God.
Offering the Bible to others is not just a gift for the other person. Reading the Bible in community helps us to discover its value and riches. When we read the Bible together, God speaks to us through the words of others as much as through the printed text. In addition, it can be helpful to read the Bible with a variety of methods. Some methods are designed to help people with less theological knowledge or a less extroverted personality to find their place in a group.
One method I am particularly fond of is the parallel reading of related Old and New Testament texts, e.g. the anointing of David (1 Samuel 16:1-13) and of Jesus (John 12:1-8). By inviting us to look for similarities and differences in the specific texts, this method is a great starting point for grasping the big picture of God’s freedom narrative, while remaining accessible to those with less Bible knowledge. It is a method that helps us share the treasure of God’s word, and with it the message of his Gospel.
Lord our God,
you have sown your seeds,
gave your son;
broken and died for us,
he is bread and life for the world.
We pray to you, let us find the strength
to go his way:
that we are fruitful for one another, that we are the seed
and nutritious as bread.
And let us live such happy lives.
(Huub Oosterhuis; Translated from the original German)
How can we invite our friends and neighbours to read the Bible together? What words can we use?