You are invited to read Bible together

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

Come along with friends next year and embark on a Bible reading experience.

It was my great pleasure to recently visit the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. One of the fascinating exhibits I viewed was a history of the written Bible, which has me more excited than ever about an upcoming event in January and February. Please accept this invitation to share this upcoming wintertime experience with us.

What better resolution for the New Year could one choose than to read something really awesome for 30 minutes each day during the darkest eight weeks of winter? It’s been said that 60 percent of Americans wish they read the Bible more. First Presbyterian Church will be hosting a book-club style reading of the New Testament starting in early January, completing the entire New Testament in eight weeks. Everyone will read the same sections daily.

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The New Testament written in the New Living Translation is divided into clearly marked daily reading selections. Each week, participants will gather in the church fellowship hall for a two- or three-minute overview of the section of reading for the coming week. Then we will break into groups of 10 or fewer for short discussions of what has been read during the previous week. Discussions are unmediated, providing a period for participants to voice questions, talk about concerns and celebrate “Aha!” moments together.

One area of the Museum of the Bible contained a large historical range of Biblical artifacts — from ancient handwritten manuscripts in original languages to copies of some of the earliest printed Bibles to some of the newer translations of today. A Bible which caught my attention was William Tyndale’s 1526 translation of the New Testament from the original Greek. I was drawn to the Tyndale book because the translation follows the pattern which all the original scripture used and was written in the style we will use in our reading. In Tyndale’s translation, the books are not divided into chapters and verses. The book club style reading that we will be following in the new year is published by another Tyndale. In this case, it is Tyndale Publishing Company, and it, too, is written without chapter and verse. While we all appreciate the footnotes, cross references and useful commentaries found in most Bibles today, this publication eliminates all of that as well as the chapters and verses. This original style facilitates reading without distraction and allows one to enjoy the original flow of the book.

At 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7 and Wednesday, Jan. 10, are the two choices being offered for the first gatherings to see a very short video followed by discussion in small groups. The film gathering is in the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church, on the corner of State and Pearl Streets at 400 State St.  The first week of readings should be completed before the start date one chooses.  If you think it would be fun to do this reading with a group of your friends or people from your church, we encourage you to invite them. Should another day or time work better for your “book club” group or church, we are happy to help get you started at a time of your own choosing. Learn all about this reading series at

Order your New Testament book or e-book called Messiah from or ask us to order a copy for you. Please make a reservation now to join this free program and make a plan to set aside 30 minutes for reading daily. Let us know which day you will attend, the Sunday or the Wednesday. The church has a very casual supper on Wednesday evenings at 5:15 which costs only $6 and you are warmly invited to come eat with us before the film begins. Supper reservations are helpful.

For questions and reservations email me at, 337-781-6114, or call the church office during business hours, 601-442-2581.
Helen Smith is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Natchez.