This week is crazy in the Bethany College office! We are getting ready for the fall semester to start and we have been in a cleaning and organizing frenzy to prepare our students. A huge part of organizing has been going through our library and getting rid of outdated books.
What we found digging through our library was pretty incredible. We had an endless supply of printed bibles. I’m talking boxes on boxes full of bibles. Not that it is out of the ordinary to have a bunch of print bibles in the library. In fact, I bet you have a bunch of print bibles just lying around your house.
What is interesting is that just 600 years ago this would have NEVER happened. In the first century most believers would have never had a personal copy of the scriptures in their house unless they were rich! Why? Because there was no printing press. If you had a copy it would have been hand-written and extremely rare.
The Bible is a Communal Book
So if no one had a personal copy of the bible, how did they read it back in those days? They read it TOGETHER in their local synagogue or meeting place. In fact the bible was written to be heard and read aloud in a community of believers. The bible is a communal book. If we are not careful, in our day when we each have our own bibles and YouVersion app on our phones, we will miss the communal aspect of the bible.
What happens when you read the bible in a community? It can keep you from really off interpretations. When we read it TOGETHER we get a chance to see how each of us “hears” the Word of God.
Study at Bethany College
And what better place to read + study TOGETHER than a bible college? Even better, a bible college that is in the context of the local church!
In bible college you not only get to hear how those around us hear the text but we also get to study from great scholars and church fathers of the past. We stand on their shoulders and they help us rightly divide the word.
Should you have a personal time where you read the Word of God? Absolutely. But don’t fool yourself. We need the communal aspect of the Word of God as well.