How to read the Bible together but not actually be together
Is there any difference to just reading Scripture by yourself?
In our series on encouragement, we've already seen the value of grabbing coffee regularly with a friend, and how we can encourage each other via text during the week.
In this final entry, we're looking at how we can encourage our friends through reading the Bible together - but not really together.
The experiment: one month, one gospel
How can we be encouraging when we are reading by ourselves? It was something I definitely wondered about when my youth minister said it was possible.
Upon thinking about it and talking to my youth leader, I came to an understanding that I had to put to the test. After gathering two other test subjects, my friends and I chose the book of Luke and began our experiment.
We read all 24 chapters in four weeks, and came to a conclusion. Each of us had encouraged one another without physically reading the Bible together, or even having direct conversations before or after reading.
With forgetting days, and being busy with life in general, we weren’t all reading the exact same passage each day—but we all successfully finished Luke within the four weeks. Even though we didn’t always read chapters at the same time, the fact that we were all reading Luke together had a bigger impact than I had expected.
It's easier to fight temptation in a team
Having grown up in a Christian family, I’m fairly familiar with the book of Luke, so there’s sometimes the temptation to skip chapters because I know it all already. The fact that I was reading with other people meant I didn’t do any skipping—I was spurred on to continue, chapter by chapter.
As someone who gets bored easily, there’ve been countless times where I’ve set out to read a whole book of the Bible, but stopped halfway. But knowing that other people were reading alongside me kept me motivated to continue reading. Without even realising it, we were keeping each other accountable.
Then I came to verses that left me questioning, or confused. And if I’d been reading by myself, I could have easily given up. But the idea that others were struggling with the same concepts was a comfort. I knew that I wasn’t alone, and I persevered.
To the bathroom, to the...Bible?
At my school, the male teachers always ask: why girls insist on going to the bathroom in pairs? The answer is simple: as humans, we love the comfort of knowing someone is doing the same thing as us.
We long for the feeling that we’re not facing things by ourselves, and knowing someone is reading the Bible with you, without even being there physically, encourages us to keep reading.
“Therefore encourage one another with these words.” – Thessalonians 4:18
Our mission as children of God is to live for God, bringing honour to Him, encouraging one another and ministering to non-believers.
Make encouragement a priority
It’s important to continue helping each other grow, whether through regular one-on-one meetings over coffee, sending an encouraging text once a week, or reading the Bible together. We want to be making sure that we are equipping one another to go out into the world and have the tools and confidence to share their faith.
I challenge you to be bold and use 1, 2 or all 3 of these ways so that you can encourage others so they can have the confidence to continue spreading the word of the gospel.