USA (MNN) — "We read the Bible in fragments. We read a chapter here, a verse there," says Paul Caminiti with Biblica. "We have somehow created a culture of Bible McNuggets."
But little verse McNuggets cannot sustain a Christian wanting to grow stronger spiritually. Statistics show that while the average American family has 11 Bibles, every day as many as 1,700 people give up reading the Bible.
According to Caminiti, there are three pitfalls that have kept people from fully embracing and understanding the Scriptures: We don't read the Bible completely, we read it out of context, and we don't read it as a community.
Biblica started their Community Bible Experience program to change all that. The Community Bible Experience program has groups of people in a church or Bible study reading the whole New Testament in 8 weeks. During that time, they meet together in the model of a book club to discuss what they've read.
Caminiti says, "Community Bible Experience is based on reading 12 pages a day, 5 days a week. And to our delight, in our 50 churches that we've tested, people are up to the challenge. They're ready to be slightly heroic."
Not only do they read through the New Testament, they read it in a special re-ordered version of the New Testament produced by Biblica called "The Books of the Bible."
"The Books of the Bible" features a re-ordering of Bible books and chapters based on first-century historical flow of events. Verse and chapter numbers have been stripped away, and text is presented across the page instead of in columns.
Also, Community Bible Experience really encourages whole churches to get involved in the project. Caminiti states, "We've discovered that when a whole church comes together and instead of engaging the Bible one group at a time, kind of like a little campfire here and there, we're encouraging them to build a bonfire and for the whole church to do this."
Additionally, Caminiti says the response they've seen is a swell in passion for God's Word. "People love doing this. They love the books of the Bible. They love reading together. They love it that their whole church is doing it. And I think that they love the fact that they're reading the whole New Testament."
If you are interested in getting your church involved in the Community Bible Experience, you can visit Biblica's Web site by clicking here. Copies of "The Books of the Bible" can be purchased either in bulk for $5 apiece, or in singles for just $6.99. The rest of the materials are free.
The next series of the Community Bible Experience will start on September 25 and end on November 20.
Don't be satisfied with the McNuggets Happy Meal. Get into some real meat.