Have you sometimes thought you would like to have a better knowledge of the Bible? Community Bible Study International (CBSi) organises courses for people just like you – whether you are a church-attending Christian or have no Christian faith.
There are Friday morning and evening courses starting at Wycliffe Baptist Church at Cemetery Junction on September 19, at 9.30am and 7.30pm. The groups meet most Fridays during school terms and with half-term breaks.
The Bible books covered during the 2014/15 terms are:
• 1 & 2 Peter
Anyone can attend
Don’t be daunted by the thought you need to be academic or ‘spiritual’.
The motto of CBSi is “everyone in the world in the Word” and study is structured to allow you to do as much or as little as you can manage. It goes without saying of course that the more you put in the more you will get out.
This is how it works
You receive a handbook that covers an entire year’s study for only a £10 registration fee. During the week you are expected to read the Bible passage and any associated passages and complete the questions pages before the Friday session. Groups then discuss what they have learned from reading the passage.
This is followed by a short break and a talk and then you are set up for the following week’s study at home. Speakers are invited from churches around the area and include some trained speakers from the group.
No pressure to learn
No one will point the finger and so you can sit quite comfortably and say nothing. There’s always someone willing to do the talking. After discussion there is a break for hot and cold drinks and cakes and a time to mingle with others to make new friends as well as asking what their groups had to say about the passage.
A group may include people with expert knowledge as well as complete novices. One of the key objectives is to provide good relationships. The flexibility of learning benefits everyone not just beginners.
A time to learn and relax
This is what Jane Farnworth, Head of Children’s work at Wycliffe Baptist Church, had to say about the Friday evening group:
“As someone heavily involved in Children’s work on Sunday mornings I don’t easily find myself in a service. The CBSI Friday evening group provides a haven of fellowship and learning. The added bonus is being able to attend with my husband.
“I like the CBSI approach because we look at whole books of the Bible at a time. I like doing this in a group setting because it’s interesting how we might see the answers differently to each other. We can then compare our findings with ‘the speaker’ who delivers a short talk on the same passage after a coffee break.
“The latter is a good opportunity to get to know new people as well as share stories across groups. Back at home again there’s a commentary on the previous week’s study before starting to look at the next passage.
“The whole package ‘blesses my socks off’. For me it’s a wonderfully purposeful but relaxing end to the working week. I leave my desk looking forward to the evening study. It’s more like the start of the Jewish Sabbath that begins on a Friday evening. As friendship within the group grows we sometimes end up praying for each other about specific situations that are challenging us.
“I was a bit nervous about attending at first: the thought of having to find time for home work or do academic research was daunting. But even if you only have time to read the passage, the study can be very rewarding.”
A country moulded by Bible values
Graeme Fairbairn, lead pastor at Wycliffe, said: “I have had the privilege of speaking at CBSi on numerous occasions. What I’ve seen there is brilliant: a systematic and regular way of getting to know what the Bible teaches, and an opportunity to reflect on what it means to live by its message.
“We’re privileged to live in a country and a culture that has been moulded significantly by the truths of the Bible which has affected just about every area of our lives. However Bible knowledge in the Church appears to be decreasing, and is becoming almost non-existent in our wider community. A knowledge of the Bible, and a commitment to live by it, is an essential for the church in any generation, and especially so today.
“CBSi is playing a great part in making this happen. Two things I’d particularly commend it for: firstly, the systematic way in which it approaches Bible Study, and secondly the way it encourages people to study the Bible in more depth than is often possible in a church service or housegroup meeting.”
For more information about CBSI visit: www.cbsiuk.org
If you would like to find out more about CBSi courses organised in Reading call Bob Sewell-alger on 07786 261126 or send an email.
Other courses in Berkshire
CBSI at Wycliffe Baptist Church in east Reading is part of an international network, and other groups run in the region. They include :
- Ascot Life Church, meeting on Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings – for more details, click here
- St Michael’s Church in Warfield hosts meetings on Friday mornings – for more details, click here
- Marlow Christian Fellowship has Wednesday morning meetings. For details, click here
For other meetings in the South, visit CBSI’s webpage.