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8:30 to 4:30 Monday - Friday

323 South Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia  22314-3716
Phone: 703-549-6670

Opening the Bible Course

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Welcome to Opening the Bible

This four-session course is designed to offer an introduction to the Bible. Readings address how the Bible came to be, the development of the canon, examining translations, and ways to read the Bible. Each session includes two readings and suggested activities. This is a self-guided course; you may do it at your own pace and on your own schedule.

May God bless your study time and enrich your love of God's word.

Suggested Procedure...

  • Set aside a time and place to do your reading and reflecting.
  • Choose a Bible to begin with each time.
  • Have a journal and pen to jot down thoughts, ideas, questions, learnings, etc.
  • Begin with prayer.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path  Psalm 119:105


Lesson 1

The reading assignments for this lesson focus on what's in the Bible: how all the little stories contribute to the big story.

1.  What's the Bible About? - What new insights did you discover from this article? How did this affect how you read and understand the Bible?

2.  Opening the Bible - Think of a book besides the Bible that has had a shaping influence on your life. how did you come to be acquainted with it? Did someone introduce you to it, teach it to you or interpret it? Have you re-read the book over the years? Does it arouse the same feelings in you now as when you first read it? How does the kind of experience you had with that book compare with the experience you have had with the Bible?


Lesson 2

The reading assignments for this lesson focus on what's in the Bible; the types of writings and how they got there.

Sorting Through the Papers - Select a book from each of the types of writings found in the Bible. Read a passage from each of your choices. How does this variety of writings affect your appreciation of Scripture?

Two Testaments--One Story - What questions do you have about why particular books were included? Do you wonder about what got left out? Should the canon be "fixed" or should we be open to other writings being added? What criteria would you apply?


Lesson 3

"The business of translation - to make what is inaccessible available, to alter the terms of argument for the sake of being understood, to step inside others' conceptual frameworks and systems fo reference and meet them there - belongs to all of us"

The reading assignments for this lesson focus on translating the Bible and how to read translations.

Translating the Bible - Read Psalm 23 in at least three different translations. Make a list of words that are different from one tranlation to another. How do the word choices affect your reading and understanding?

The Science of Translation - This article gets to the nitty-gritty of the work of translators.

Comparing Translations - Choose a passage from the list below. Using Bible Gateway, read it from a translation in each category (verbal, dynamic, paraphrase). What differences do you find? How do they affect your understanding of the story?

  • Matthew 13:1-9
  • Matthew 18:10-14
  • Mark 4:21-25
  • Luke 11:25-37
  • Luke 14:15-24
  • John 15:1-8

This chart gives you information about the variety of translations available.



Lesson 4

"What do you really need to open the Bible and to read it well? Not a lot, when you come right down to it. You start with a conviction that God speaks to us through the Bible, and a prayrful disposition to listen. And then you bring an open heart, and open mind, a willingness to learn... and a love of surprises." --Roger Ferlo

The reading assignments for this lesson focus on ways to read the Bible for personal devotion.

How to Read the Bible:

The following short video by Dr. Charles Stanley addresses how to read the Bible for personal growth.

Using the Bible for Daily Devotions

Reading the Bible Devotionally

After watching the video and reading the above articles, choose one discipline to use for a week. You may want to use Bible Gateway to read your passages in different translations.


Last Published: November 12, 2015 10:42 AM
Old Presbyterian Meeting House 323 South Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 703-549-6670