Case Study: Preaching Through the Bible In a Year
This case study explores the experience of one church that read, studied, and preached through the Bible in a year. It was a transformative experience in the life of that church and was made possible by Logos Bible Software Series X. Read on for some ideas that could be transferred and implemented in your church! - Logos.com Editor
I would like to thank Logos Research Systems for their wonderful Bible software, and at the same time tell the entire world what a powerful resource they have available with the Libronix Digital Library System.
First for some background:
After six years of pastoring Austin Bible Church, I was burdened to do something a little different in terms of our weekly teaching schedule. I felt that the congregation was really in need of a Genesis to Revelation overview. I also felt that daily Scripture reading was vital for every Christian, but many people became discouraged one month into their 1 Year Bible reading plan when they hit Leviticus and their heads started spinning with all the detailed ritual given in that book.
As 2001 was drawing to a close, those two burdens started to coalesce into one ambitious idea.
We had a Daily Scripture Reading calendar that takes readers through the Bible chronologically. (Job follows Genesis, for example, before the reader moves on to Exodus. Various Psalms are inserted into the reading calendar at different places in Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc. based upon the timeframe when that particular psalm was likely written).
I committed to my congregation that for those who were determined to read their Bibles daily, the weekly teaching from the pulpit was going to parallel the exact chapters of the Bible that their daily reading was taking them to. So, for two Sunday morning services, one Sunday evening service, Tuesday evening & Thursday evening Bible studies, five weekly sessions were providing face-to-face teaching in those same areas of Scripture.
Additionally, each Sunday morning I was able to provide a printed study guide for each person in the church that contained a summary outline of every chapter for that week, and occasional charts and maps, etc., that pertained to that portion of the Bible. I determined to include matters in the study guide that I thought would be helpful to resolve areas of the Bible that might be confusing to the typical Bible reader in their daily reading. For matters that were particularly tricky, I made certain to address those during our five weekly teaching sessions. We also incorporated a question & answer time on Thursday night (the last face-to-face session of every week) so that anything that was still uncertain could be addressed.
The face-to-face teaching reinforced the at-home Bible reading and vice-versa. Members got more out of the at-home reading because they were receiving teaching from their Pastor at the same time. Likewise, people got more out of each Bible class because they were following up and/or preceding each Bible class with at-home reading. The weekly study guides reinforced both, and the Q&A time filled in the holes.
It turned out to be one of the most incredible spiritual blessings that our congregation has ever been pleased to receive. Husbands & wives were reading their Bibles together for the first time ever in many instances. Entire families were reading their Bibles together as family devotionals—again for the first time ever in some instances. Conversation during our fellowship times in the church became centered on Bible passages that everybody had in common rather than the weather or politics or sports or other worldly topics that had previously tended to dominate potlucks, evening socials, etc.
That was 2002. Now, more than seven months after our Through the Bible series has been complete, the blessings continue to pour in. I’m no longer teaching in parallel with that calendar, but daily Scripture reading has become a habit for many. The study guides continue to be useful.
NONE OF THIS COULD HAVE EVER HAPPENED without the Libronix Digital Library System. (Not to discount the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit, of course). 1189 chapters in 53 weeks means 22 ½ chapters every week. With Libronix I was able to lay out NASB95, BHSMORPH, & LXX in linked windows (NASB95, NA26, & Byzantine/Majority for the NT Books). The Passage Guide was incredible at finding topics and resources I would have never thought of looking for.
For every book introduction, I loved the charts in Bruce Wilkinson’s Talk Thru the Bible. They were concise and helpful for visual learners like myself.
Anything and everything that I found useful to help the congregation understand what they were reading in their daily reading, I tried to put in the weekly study guide. Anything to keep people in the Word. Don’t let them get discouraged. Help them understand.
It even became a huge boost to software purchases among our church members. People kept asking, "where did you get that chart?" "where can I find that O.T. chronology?" and things like that. I kept recommending Logos Bible Software to everybody who asked.
I don’t think I truly understood the full scope of what the Lord was laying on my heart in December of 2001. If I would have known the immensity of the work-load before-hand, I probably would have lost heart. Each week of study produced a printed study guide and prepared for five hours of Bible teaching. It could easily have been many more hours of teaching. Each weekly study guide could have supplied a month of preaching material, and yet the constant reminder kept coming: give the Big Picture.
This year we’ve gone back to in-depth expository preaching. We started a book study on 1st Corinthians, and we’re mid-way through chapter two in July. There’s breadth & length & height & depth. We’re back to depth now, but for the Through the Bible series we were able to give the breadth of Scripture, and it was made possible in large part because of the Libronix Digital Library System.
By His Grace alone,
Pastor Bob Bolender
- Thru the Bible at Austin Bible Church (notes and audio in PDF and MP3 formats)
- A New Road to Biblical Literacy by Bob Bolender - Leadership Journal, Spring 2004