Thirty years of anchoring Christians in God’s love and truth

BRF’s New Daylight Bible reading notes reaches the big three-oh!

Thirty years of helping Christians draw closer to God

New Daylight, BRF’s most popular series of Bible reading notes, is 30 years old this year. In its present form the notes were the creation of editor Shelagh Brown, who introduced the pocket-friendly format in which each day’s reading and reflection are self-contained, with bright and engaging covers.

'New Daylight was the first Bible reading notes series in the UK to include the printed Bible passage for each day. Shelagh felt you couldn't assume any longer that everyone actually had a Bible of their own. Her idea was to make it easy for people to take New Daylight with them, to read on the bus or train, at work, or on holiday.'

Richard Fisher, BRF Chief Executive

To find the origins of New Daylight, you’d have to go back even further – 90 years, in fact! New Daylight replaced Daylight, which in turn had replaced the rather unimaginatively-named Series B notes, first published by BRF in 1929.

Over the years the New Daylight notes, each issue of which offers four months’ worth of Bible readings and comment, have encouraged thousands of readers to spend time with God each day, deepening their faith and their knowledge of scripture. Throughout the decades, heartfelt, often moving, ‘thank yous’ have echoed through readers’ letters and emails, highlighting the important part they play in their lives:

'Having had New Daylight readings for quite a few years, it’s time for me to tell you how much they help me day-to-day.' 

'My wife and I have been using New Daylight for decades. I write to say how much the notes for December have spoken to us. They are truly masterful, full of rich insight and sound biblical scholarship.'

Why we publish Bible reading notes

A treasure chest of insights

Some of our readers have been enjoying the notes almost since the very first issue – including Hugh Francis (right), a retired teacher and lay pastoral minister based in Australia, who visited us recently.

'My first look at New Daylight was a Godsend – literally,' he told us. 'Its easy-to-read format was perfect for a "bear of very little brain". There was no excuse for not reading the Bible after that.'

Hugh says the combination of Bible passage with thought-provoking comment and prayer or point for reflection 'definitely draws me closer to God. After 26 years with New Daylight, there have been so many light-bulb moments – many of which have been recorded in my compendium. It's become a treasure-chest of insights into the kingdom.'

Hugh Francis holding notebook
Debbie Thrower

Hugh finds the variety of commentators, drawn from a range of church backgrounds, very important for broadening our understanding. Readers and writers speak of developing a sense of relationship with each other, fulfilling Shelagh Brown’s original vision for introducing for the first time contributors’ names and brief biographies.

Debbie Thrower, BRF's Anna Chaplaincy pioneer (left) says, 'You get a sense of who these authors are: they’re people who have done their own reading and reflecting, and they’re giving you the gems they have culled. You can always tell my favourite writers, because I turn down the corners of the pages. At the end of the four months’ worth of readings, there are some sections that are completely dog-eared because I’ve turned down so many corners.'

Illuminating God's truth

Amy Boucher Pye

Amy Boucher Pye (left) is one of the team of regular contributors covering a varied selection of Old and New Testament, biblical themes, characters and seasonal readings.

'Being part of readers' faith journey is a wonderful privilege. Digging into the scriptures while asking God to illuminate his truth for today’s readers never fails to encourage me. The tricky passages can be challenging, but as I find out more of the context of the passage, I see God’s never-ending love for his people.'

As a reader, Hugh Francis really appreciates having some of those difficult passages opened up. 'New Daylight has certainly helped with my understanding of the Old Testament, which I tended to dismiss, thinking that only the New Testament really mattered to a Christian. The apostle Paul's letters have been very helpful: he provides us with the essence of authentic discipleship.'

How BRF helps Christians go deeper

Discipleship resources for churches

A timely word from God

New Daylight contributor Helen Julian CSF is keen 'to help people engage with the whole story of the Bible':

'This day-by-day steady reading is a good way of enabling that. The most satisfying thing of all is when a reader gets in touch and says that it was just what they needed to hear that day. How amazing of God to bring together my writing, months before, and their need on the day!'

Hugh believes daily Bible reading is vital for maintaining our connection to God:

'It's essential to try to understand God's purpose for us as individuals, and impossible to overstate the importance of building a personal relationship with God. Daily reading, alongside a wise interpreter, which New Daylight provides, is crucial in establishing that. With New Daylight, it's so easy to read and understand the Bible; there's no excuse not to.'

Anchored in scripture

Shelagh Brown’s legacy remains strong under the current New Daylight editor, Sally Welch, who finds her role 'tremendously rewarding and hugely satisfying'. Perhaps that’s because, in the words of contributor Tony Horsfall, 'New Daylight keeps us anchored in the truth of God at a time when there is a dangerous drift away from the objectivity of scripture, so crucial in authentic Christianity.'

New Daylight is also available in a large-print edition, as a daily email and as an app for Android and iOS.

Try New Daylight for yourself