“Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68 Is there a particular Bible verse that has had a huge impact on your life? For Bible Society President, Cardinal John Dew, it was something Jesus said to Peter in John 6 that had a profound impact on him. Watch the video to hear Cardinal Dew talking about the impact of this passage and the Scriptures have had on his life.
The Old Testament book of Nehemiah is a fascinating insight into what happens to God’s people just before Jesus is born. After being exiled to Babylon, they are allowed to return to Judah and Jerusalem some decades later. They rebuild the Temple and then Nehemiah leads the people in the rebuilding of the city walls. It’s a great story of how a community bands together and achieves something everyone thought impossible. Our guest writer today, Barry Kirby from Wellington explains… Nehemiah is our man of focus today. When the book opens, Nehemiah is serving under the Persian King. He is a cupbearer to the King. This allows his access to, at the time, one of the most powerful men in the world. Things are going well for him until one day he gets a knock on his door. It’s one of his brothers who has made a 1287km trip to see him from Jerusalem. That’s from Cape Reinga to Christchurch or Sydney to Adelaide. Nehemiah asked, “How is our city? How is God’s city?” See this was a Holy place for the People of God. The precious Persian King had let the people go back to their home land. This was 100 years ago.
Daily reading of Scripture is an important part of the Christian faith journey. So why is it so difficult? Maybe it’s because we are so consumed by daily life – the busy-ness of business, family, church and myriad of other things. Maybe it’s because we get distracted by TV, phones, gaming, shopping or eating? Maybe it’s because we’d simply rather do something else. In fact all of these are true. Bible Society’s research shows that these three things are the biggest barrier to Bible reading; “I’m too busy”, “I get distracted by other things,” and “It’s not a priority for me”. If you’re nodding your head when you read this, know that you’re not alone! But committing to a daily pattern of reading the Bible, as hard as that can be, can be one of the most rewarding and fruitful things you will ever do. Check out the video of Catholic leaders sharing why daily Scripture reflection is so important to them.
By Cartia Moore Words have so much power. One line from Star Wars can change the whole face of the storyline “Luke, I am your father” – Darth Vader. What an absolute shocker that was. I am always astounded by the power of the voice and of words. Proverbs chapter 15 verse four says: ‘Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.’ There is power in words themselves, but there is also power in the way that it is said. There is a song by Hawk Nelson that says, ‘Words can build you up, words can break you down, start a fire in your heart or put it out.’ The undeniable truth is that words are powerful. The swift gentle response to an angry heart. The fired up and demanding roar of a justice-lead politician. The determined and enthusiastic words from a passion-driven person. It is incredible the effect they can have on a person.
Bible Society has just launched its brand new comprehensive small groups resource – LYFE. And it’s FREE! Whether your group meets at a café, club, church or in your home, Bible Society has just launched a brilliant new small group Bible resource that is perfect for digging deeper into the Bible with your friends. It’s called LYFE, and is designed to help groups connect the ancient writings of Scripture to life in 21st century New Zealand. LYFE is a 36 session Bible study resource based around six key spiritual formation themes including prayer, justice and the Holy Spirit. Each study features a short video of a New Zealand Christian leader sharing their thoughts on the topic.
Christ is Risen. This is the message of the Easter Story. The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures remind us of our tradition and the stories that give meaning to our day-to-day life. Shaken by the massacres at the two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March, I offer a question to ponder – What has brought us together? The pain for the Muslim community, which will leave a lifelong scar. Shock for us as a country, many of us thought that this could not happen here, we are too small. Jesus’ death brings growth Many in Jerusalem, Israel, may have thought that the death of Jesus could not happen in Jerusalem, but it did.
For Jesus himself the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) was his Bible. In the New Testament he quotes from the Book of Deuteronomy which concludes the Pentateuch, the most important section of the Bible for Jewish people. Then he speaks the words of the prophet Isaiah, such a significant figure among the prophets of Israel. And finally he draws on the Psalms at the heart of Wisdom literature. The three sections of Pentateuch, Prophets, and Wisdom literature make up a large and important part of the Bible. When St. Jerome said that “ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,” he meant both parts of the Bible which is a huge library of books. You know there are different types of books in a library, all with their own ways of being written. You may also be aware that different cultures have their own stories of how the world came to be, how humans came into existence, and often stories were told about why things are as they are.