Begin 2021 with the Gospel of Mark!
The Good Book Club is for individuals, couples, and families with children. There’s something of value for just about anyone. And it’s simple: over the next 50 days, reading through one book of the Bible – Mark’s gospel – the shortest and oldest of the four gospels, that tell the life of Jesus. Also readings from Mark are what we’ll be hearing on Sundays quite often this year. Also, this program is free. The optional expense is the book A Journey with Mark noted below. There are plenty of free resources here to enjoy The Good Book Club without buying the book.
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While this can be great as it is for you and anyone else in your household, it is also something that Episcopalians throughout the US and other countries are doing at the same time. So you’ll have a lot of company – especially in a time when we’re feeling separated from our own faith community and people in general – and you will have read through a whole book of the Bible (the Bible being a library of many books written by people over more than a thousand years in a variety of cultures).
There are a variety of resources that you can use to enrich your Good Book Club experience – some printed, others online. You can get each day’s Bible reading and a very short commentary in your email each day. You can read in your own Bible; I’ll attach a list of the readings here. There’s also a podcast – so you can get the reading and the commentary while you’re driving to work or kids to school or doing chores.
Scripture meets us where we are. So even though a lot of people will be part of this, the reading will speak to you as you are living your life. The commentary is meant to open up the reading – not close it down to just one narrow interpretation.
Also we can plan our own St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley online and (I hope!) in-person conversations about our experience reading Mark’s gospel – and grow together through this encounter with Mark’s gospel. And Mark, of course, is our Patron.
For now: Sign up to receive weekly emails from Forward Movement about the Good Book Club readings.
You can also subscribe or listen to the podcasts here: to The Good Book Club Podcast
You can get a printed or Kindle version of all of the Mark commentaries in A Journey with Mark: The 50 Day Bible Challenge edited by Marek P. Zabriskie. You can get an e-version (Kindle) or printed version from Amazon OR from Forward Movement.
The book also has a bunch of very simple, straightforward ideas about reading the Bible and reading through Mark in 50 days.
Some notes are here for reading Mark with children and youth of various ages from Alison Sandlin Liles from Grow Christians https://www.growchristians.org/
Here’s what she writes on this new season of the Good Book Club for families with children: https://www.growchristians.org/author/allison/
What translation? What do I need to know?
The Bible is a library of books written by people in different cultures and geographical areas over a span of roughly 1200 years. The newest parts of the Bible are around 1700 years old. Everything in the Bible is not equally important and one can read some of the same verses over years and find they mean different things in different times and situations of our lives.
Every translation and every reading of scripture is an interpretation of what each author "originally" wrote. There is no "literal" interpretation. At the very least, because the Bible was not written in English, if you are reading the Bible in English, you are reading the translator's interpretation of the ancient languages. God, especially in the person of the Holy Spirit, uses the Bible to speak to us - primarily as a community and also as individuals.
Different people hear different things in any passage of the Bible. Thinking about how different people hear scripture can be very enlightening. Often a child will hear something truly profound that is missed by an adult.
The best translation for you is one you enjoy reading and find easy to understand. Old translations are by no means better than new ones. In fact, Biblical translation has flourished and benefitted enormously from technology. Enjoy exploring different translations!
You can get the Bible on Kindle or other e-readers - as an audiobook and online. You can get The Inclusive Bible (TIB) translation in print or as an e-book for Kindle or other readers. Biblegateway.com has 150 translations - many in English, including some of the best ones like:
New Revised Standard Verson (NRSV)
Common English Bible (CEB)
Click below for more Tips on Reading the Bible
No time to read? Listen to the podcast while you drive or do other tasks. Subscribe anywhere you listen to podcasts and at https://cms.megaphone.fm/channel/the-good-book-club
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