Getting involved: Living Faith

BRF depends on people getting involved in our work by volunteering, by praying, by spreading the word, by giving through donations and legacies and by buying our books and subscribing to our resources. In the second of our new series of articles about people who have got involved, BRN subscriber Graham Shaw tells us how lockdown led to a group of BRF readers from St John’s church, Keynsham coming together online to share readings from New Daylight, and to reflect on the part our Bible reading notes play in their daily lives. The contributions below are from several members of that group.

8 August 2021

Reading the Bible at home, before, during and after lockdown

Read the Bible, pray every day’ is a Sunday School song which seemed old-fashioned even when I was little. But the message is absolutely true: regular prayer and Bible study are as vital to our faith as food, water and exercise are to our bodies.

There are numerous Bible study books, apps and guides available, which may (or may not) be helpful in speaking to our present spiritual needs. Personally, I’ve used different approaches to the Bible over the years, changing my patterns of prayer as life has changed. What matters is that, one way or another, we keep in touch with God and allow that relationship to grow.

Regular prayer and Bible study are as vital to our faith as food, water and exercise are to our bodies.’

What matters is keeping in touch with God

Keeping in touch with God is vital if our relationship with him is to grow. We asked members of our BRF lockdown coffee group how using their Bible reading notes fits in with their daily routine and how it helps them to keep in touch with God. Here are some of their responses:

‘It opens up those Bible passages that contain words, ideas or practices which were probably familiar to those originally hearing them but which are quite puzzling to us in the 21st century.’

‘The selection of authors provides a variety of approaches to scripture and thoughtful spiritual insights, which are very helpful.’

‘I love the way that the BRF notes give me new insights into well-known passages of the Bible. When we may be tempted to think there is no more to say about a well-known passage, something turns up which gives a new perspective and broadens our ideas.’

‘Background knowledge, often included, can bring stories to life and show a new, significant slant which makes the passage more understandable.’

My daily routine

‘My day gets underway with prayer, sitting comfortably, and then continues with reading the BRF notes for the day. During this quiet time, I find myself contemplating and receiving the way ahead from God.’

‘I read the BRF note for the day, usually through twice, as part of my quiet time after breakfast.’

‘Mostly this is a time of personal study and prayer early in the day, but sometimes my wife and I begin our prayer time together with the Bible reading notes.’

‘A new development during lockdown – a BRF Zoom coffee group – has added another dimension to my Bible reflection and I now find I get most from these daily readings when I can discuss them with other people.’

A wonderful opportunity

Our BRF coffee Zoom meetings began as a response to lockdown and are continuing as we’ve all found them so valuable!

We meet for an hour, on Tuesdays at 10.30 am, on Zoom, coffees in hand. We begin by each sharing – in confidence, of course – something we’d like to thank God for and something or someone we’d like to pray for. One of us then summarises these thanksgivings and requests in prayer.

‘Meeting over the Bible has encouraged and inspired me.’

Then we turn to our BRF notes. We say the BRF prayer together and one of us reads aloud the passage and commentary for the day. Depending on numbers, we split into two or three breakout rooms for 15–20 minutes and share anything that has struck us. We resume for a final prayer together and then go our separate ways, ‘to love and serve the Lord’.

Our BRF coffee Zooms have provided a wonderful opportunity to share both our insights and our struggles. Meeting over the Bible has encouraged and inspired me. I would not be without the daily boost provided by the excellent BRF Bible reading notes. Try them out!

Graham and Rachel Shaw live in Keynsham, between Bath and Bristol, and worship in churches in Keynsham Parish. Rachel is a Church of England lay reader. Graham organises group subscriptions to the whole range of BRF Bible reading resources, including downloadable apps, for some 50 people in the Anglican and Baptist churches in Keynsham.

BRF's Bible reading notes

BRF has been publishing Bible reading notes since 1922. Each series has a distinctive approach to suit different needs and preferences, offering a variety of ways to resource your spiritual journey and help you understand and apply scripture to your daily life.

The BRF Prayer

Almighty God,
you have taught us that your word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
Help us, and all who prayerfully read your word to deepen our fellowship with you and with each other through your love.
And in so doing, may we come to know you more fully, love you more truly and follow more faithfully in the steps of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forevermore.

A version of this article first appeared in Contact, the monthly magazine of Keynsham Parish.