Anyone who has ever read, or attempted to read, the Bible from start to finish can attest to the difficulty of the task. In fact, many never finish reading it.
Oakwood United Methodist Church has found a way to overcome that — starting on Sept. 9, Oakwood will read “The Story,” a streamlined version of the Bible tailored for an easier and more engaging reading experience.
“I’ve pastored for 30 years, and I’ve never been more excited than right now,” says Pastor Richard Boatman.
Boatman says about 85 percent of Christians include reading the Bible in their bucket lists, but only a few actually finish the task.
“Most people get bogged down,” he says. “ ‘The Story’ is the Bible put together by scholars designed to put together the most essential parts of Scripture.”
Boatman says that the whole point of “The Story” is to expand understanding of the story of the Bible by getting people to follow along without having to jump around section to section of Scripture.
“This is written as a page-turner,” he says. “It is the whole story, the big picture. It’s like seeing the whole puzzle rather than studying one piece.”
Boatman says that the thing that excites him most about “The Story” is the fact that “The Story” is meant for all ages — little kids and 85-year-olds will all be on the same page.
Boatman will give weekly lessons from September to May as people read “The Story” individually, but members of the congregation will also meet in small groups to discuss.
One of the benefits of the small groups that Boatman forsees is leadership training within the church.
“A greater leadership base will be built, and we will become servants within the community and beyond,” Boatman says.
Boatman is excited to begin studying “The Story,” and he believes the members of the congregation will encourage one another to finish the task.
“Imagine a group worship service at the base of a mountain,” Boatman says. “It’s unlikely that the whole group can make it to the top of the mountain taking the same path, but smaller groups allow parties to make the ascent together. We tend to climb farther when we do it with someone else.”