Following on from Carl’s write-up of The Big Read with Pete Woodcock, here are some reflections from two people involved in the program.
Phil is 22 and has been a member of Cornerstone for a year.
“I’d never done anything like the Big Read before, and I’ve really enjoyed it.
“It just gives you the bigger picture of the whole Bible. Now I can see how the Old Testament is leading to the New, and as I read the New Testament I suddenly realize how that bit links with part of the Old Testament. Before the Big Read, I was missing out on all that stuff.
“The thing is that you just don’t normally read great big chunks of the Bible. And it never seemed like “Oh, we’re just reading stuff tonight”—it would be relevant, it would be talking about who we are.
“And the Ten Questions were really valuable—not just for helping discussion in our group, but also for helping me with reading the Bible on my own. I use them all the time now.”
Jackie is 49. She’s been a member of Cornerstone since it was planted in 2002, and has been a Christian since she was a teenager.
“I do miss getting into the nitty-gritty of the text, but I think that’s what I’d got used to! I love doing that, but the Big Read has been great, because normally in the small groups we read a very small chunk of the Bible and study it closely. It’s great to really step back and look at the broad sweep of the Bible story, at its narratives.
“In our group it filled in a lot of gaps for people who hadn’t ever read those bits of the Bible. It was lovely to see them getting excited about the grand sweep of God’s plan. And the genealogies were fun to try to read out loud!
“The really helpful thing has been Pete’s preaching on the first Sunday of the month, where he looks at the whole of the book and where we see Jesus in it. Then when you read it in small groups, you’re looking for Jesus, and you’re understanding some of those references that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t have that in the back of your mind.
“One thing I have found when you’re reading a really big chunk is it’s harder to work out: how am I going to apply this tomorrow? But you do just end up having read a lot more of Scripture than you would ever have done, including the bits you naturally avoid because they’re hard or repetitive—and that’s great!”