PROSPERITY — Wightman United Methodist Church has began implementing Bible journaling into their study sessions. The hope is individuals will learn more about the Bible, ask questions and make observations along the way.
“There is what we call a biblical illiteracy in our nation right now, people don’t read the Bible. People don’t know what the Bible says and even a lot of Christians, they read parts of the Bible or they go to a small group and look at a little portion of scripture,” said Rev. Brian Rainwater. “In an attempt to overcome that Bible illiteracy we decided to come up with a Bible journal that isn’t just a blank journal where you write your thoughts down, but it has leading questions, enough things that a beginner who may be really intimidated can pick up the Bible and can begin to jot notes.”
Rainwater added that he hopes people will join together once a week and discuss their observations and insights that they have found within the Bible.
“Kendell Healy, who helped me put the journal together, we were always trying to keep in mind the beginner, the person who may not know where to start and so we are encouraging our congregation during Lent to read through the Gospel of John,” he said. “I didn’t want a beginner to think they have to get everything exactly right. I’m more concerned that we are reading God’s word than perfect understanding the first read through.”
The Bible journaling began on Feb. 14, which was also Ash Wednesday.
“We’ve got a 40 day reading plan for the Gospel of John so we anticipate about 100 people in our church so far that have gotten journals and we are challenging them to read about half a chapter a day,” Rainwater said. “The goal I think here is to first of all get everyone journaling through John. My hope is that daily Bible reading will become a part of their lives because we value that and that these small groups that have developed will continue after Lent, that this will become an ongoing discipline.”
The Bible journals are not theologically denominational, allowing anyone of all religious backgrounds to use. Rainwater recommends that if someone is going to utilize the Bible journal to come up with a reading plan which can be easily accessed online.
“By using a plan that is mapped out it prevents you from picking and choosing the text that you like or things that you want to read about, it gives you an overview of the whole scripture and causes you to read passages that you normally would have skipped over,” Rainwater said. “This is a tool and it’s only going to be as effective as you use it. We have gotten 100 plus of these in our congregation, but our success is going to be measured by not how many are in their hands, but how many are filled out.”
If someone would like to purchase a Bible journal for five dollars, contact Wightman UMC, 302 N Main Street, Prosperity or call 803-364-2340.