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One-to-One Bible Reading: a simple guide for every Christian

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  1. A must-read. Review / Tip by Tony Wright

    Real Christianity is not about DO – what you must do for God – but rather what God has DONE for you in the person and work of Jesus Christ. As such, the Christian life is a life of joyous response to the good works God has done on our behalf – as we seek to live our who we really and truly are in Christ Jesus. The Christian life is all about knowing Jesus better and loving him more (and knowing Jesus more and loving him better). This happens by us listening to his voice – not some inner sense or impression which is in fact our emotions or will – but by turning to his sure and certain word the Bible (that’s why we call it the word of God!).

    The book One-to-one Bible Reading sets out to encourage and equip Christians – all Christians – to meet together one-to-one to read the bible. In my opinion it achieves this aim brilliantly! Simple, clear, short – this book succinctly covers the what, the why and the how of one-to-one bible reading – whoever reads this book will be left with both the motivation and the tools (simple though they may be!) to invite someone to read the bible with them. I especially liked the way Helm balances a gentle and affirming tone throughout the book with a steely determination not to let us offer up plausible, but weak, excuses. At one point Helm acknowledges “in fact, the greatest hindrance to read the bible one-to-one will be an unbiblical view that you are not ready for this. You will tell yourself that you haven’t been properly trained or simply don’t know enough of the bible […] but it simply isn’t true” (24). You’ll have to pick up the book for yourself to find out how Helm backs up this very significant claim.

    Simply put, Helm’s book should be read and then acted on by every Christian. What a difference it would make to us, our Christian relationships, our universities and our churches – if God’s people were engaged in the most fundamental of all Christian activities – reading the word of God and sharing that experience with another Christian (or someone who is not yet a Christian but is keen to find out more).
    (Posted on 22/10/2013)

  2. GREAT Resource Review / Tip by Darian

    “One to One Bible Reading” is a great little book. Well worth the price. There are so many reasons I like this book by David Helm.

    First, it provides a simple way for making the Bible a central part of your spiritual growth and maturity.

    Second, it encourages community through reading the Bible with others. Needless to say by reading with others you are also increasing your understanding and depth of interchange with the Scriptures.

    Third, Helm’s approach is exceedingly practical. The book is literal packed with applicable ideas on how to read Scripture “one to one”. There are models, hints, strategies and even templates provided so that you can be successful in your attempt to read the Bible “one to one”.

    For years, I have used the SOAP (Scripture, Observations, Application, Prayer) method of engaging with Scripture, but I am likely to try out Helm’s COMA method (Context, Application, Meaning, Application). I cannot recommend this book enough. It should become a standard discipleship tool for seasoned as well as new Christians. (Posted on 22/06/2013)

  3. Great Book Review / Tip by Mary Ann

    This is a great book I just finished reading. It provides a one on one reading program that you would do with another person. I enjoy this idea and think it would be an amazing discipleship tool for anyone interested.

    It also has many helps and suggestions that would help one set up a program like this. It also contains a question sheet; resources that you can copy and use. (Posted on 9/01/2013)

  4. Great!! Review / Tip by Shelby Burk

    “Reading one-to-one is a variation on that most central Christian activity — reading the Bible– but done in the context of reading with someone else. It is something a Christian does with another person, on a regular basis, for a mutually agreed upon length of time, with the intention of reading through and discussing a book or part of a book of the Bible,” (page 11). When I read this description of one-to-one Bible reading, I at first thought it sounded formal, perhaps uncomfortable, and maybe for someone with more knowledge of scripture that myself. However, as I read through this book, my thoughts quickly changed. By the time I was through I had been encouraged to seek out someone in my own life with whom to do this.
    This book was pretty short. However, the content was great! The author discussed first why one-to-one Bible reading is beneficial, who it is beneficial for, and how to go about doing it, and it does so in a very simple format. It wasn’t intimidating either, as I expected, in fact it was just the opposite! I was brought to the realization of just how simple, beneficial, and encouraging this process can be.
    In this book Helm discusses how doing this type of Bible reading can benefit non-believers, new believers, and fellow mature believers alike. In doing so, he presents a common pattern/ form these meetings can take, although it may have to be slightly tweaked depending on yourself and the person(s) that you are reading with. On top of that he also provides you with different passages of scripture that are good to begin with, and evaluation questions to get the most out of what is being read.
    One detail of the book that I found helpful is how the author explains both effective methods for one-to-one Bible study, the COMA method and the Swedish method. He list the ups and downs, goods and bads, pros and cons of both, allowing you to choose which one would be best for your situation, and allowing the reading to be more effective.
    The thing I liked the most about this book probably has to be chapter ten. In this chapter, Helm discusses each genre of scripture (from poetry to prophecy to the gospels), and provides evaluation questions that help you better observe the scripture, as well as to understand the context, meaning and application. The reason that I was so grateful for this is that it not only greatly enhances what you take away from one-to-one Bible reading, but it also helps you to better comprehend, appreciate and apply what you are reading in your own personal devotions and Bible time.
    Overall, I thought that this was a great book. I mean, I have seen and been involved in Bible studies and programs that study the scriptures, which are all great! Yet there is something that seems very beautiful and beneficial about one-to-one reading that encouraged me to begin doing this with people in my own life. I would definitely recommend this book to you!
    Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own (Posted on 1/12/2012)

  5. A simple tool for spiritual growth Review / Tip by Paula Green

    Sometimes we have a hard time looking past programs or products in the church when we want to help others grow spiritually or build each other up in the faith, like join a women’s Bible study or small group, or go to a retreat or conference. But how about just sitting down with someone at a coffee shop or over lunch and just read the Bible together?

    David Helm sets forth how to get started, what to read, and how to talk about what you read in his short and simple guide, One to One Bible Reading. This is a different approach than a more formal Bible study, requiring very little advance preparation. It involves just meeting, reading, sharing, and praying to help each other grow spiritually.

    Helm provides recommendations for Bible reading passages and ideas for how to discuss the various genres of the 66 books in the Bible. Worksheets are available at the back of the book for photocopying to guide in reading through the different genres: Gospels and Acts, Old Testament Narrative, Epistles, Hebrew Wisdom Literature and Poetry, and Prophetic Literature. He also provides an 8-week guide through the Gospel of Mark that you can use in one to one Bible reading.

    This short and simple book is a great guide to get you started in reading the Bible with a co-worker at lunch, neighbor, a new friend, or even your spouse or children.

    I received a copy of this book from Matthias Media in exchange for my honest review.
    (Posted on 28/10/2012)

  6. One to One Bible Reading Review / Tip by Modelk66

    DISCLAIMER: I received an Advance Reader’s Copy of the book One to One Bible Reading by David Helm from Matthias Media Publishers in exchange for a publicized review of the book.

    I must admit that at first glance, I thought this was going to be another evangelistic gimmick with a new approach to pressuring people with the Gospel. Thankfully, I was wrong. This book is more than just an evangelistic tool – it is a relationship tool. Many of us in our world desire relationships with people but don’t know where to begin. Here is a great place to start. I had never heard of the idea of reading the Bible one to one, but it sounds simply wonderful. Helm goes through and gives ideas about how to read different types of the Biblical literature, and even presents a possible plan for reading the Gospel of Mark to give you a place to start. But it is really up to the two individuals as to what and when to read. And that is the simplistic beauty of it. You just find someone to ask if they would like to read the Bible with you, decide on where you would like to begin reading, how often you would like to read together, how long you can or want to read together each time, where you would like to meet to read together, and that’s pretty much it. If you want to pray you can or not. If you want to discuss the reading you can or not. It is not about applying pressure as most evangelistic programs do, it is about just reading Scripture. Helm provides various tools such as suggested reading guides and questions to be asked of the text, but the decision to include those in your reading is strictly up to the two of you. And you can read with believers or non-believers. Reading the Bible together develops a relationship. And that is the intent of this book. There will be a little anxiety about asking your first person to read with you, but once you jump that hurdle, it is clear running from then on. (Posted on 19/10/2012)

  7. Nice, short and sweet read Review / Tip by Jenna Priest

    I found this book to be helpful and practical and appreciated that the author arrived at his points quickly and did not drag out the text and make it long winded. I also liked that it was instructional and full of practical ideas that are actually applicable to every day life and will work. This is a great resource for all Christian's who want to begin a bible study but are unsure how. The book has sheets you can photocopy to help your bible study and all kinds of helpful information.

    Full review... (Posted on 13/06/2012)

  8. A must-read book for established Christians Review / Tip by Sarah

    As soon as I read and reviewed The Trellis and the Vine, I knew the next book I wanted to get my hands on was One To One Bible Reading by David Helm. Since The Trellis and the Vine is about ministry getting back to basics (Christians discipling one another through prayer and Bible reading), it seemed logical to read a book that would help me know just how to do it.

    I'm no stranger to one-to-one. I've found it so much more helpful than small groups at times as you really get to know the Word and the person you're meeting with at the same time. In my early days as a Christian, I benefited enormously from having mature Christian women meet with me over the Bible. If they are reading, then I say a huge thank you! Now that I'm not in a small group, I know that meeting with another Christian woman one-to-one would be a wise use of my time with eternal signifiance. I'm still thinking through things and praying for God to direct me to the right person (whether they be a non-Christian, new Christian or established Christian). One thing that has hindered me in getting started is: How do I go about asking someone? (I feel quite nervous just at the thought of it).

    This is why One To One Bible Reading was such an encouragement to me. It addresses that very question and I loved the fact that the first step Helm suggests you should do is pray. Too often Christians advise each other to 'just do it' (stealing Nike's slogan for a minute) rather than asking our Father for His wisdom first. Start by praying that God will lead you to someone to whom He is already looking to reveal more of Himself (page 23). Of course, after you've prayed, you will have to bite the bullet and actually ask someone. There's no easy way around it, but Helm does encourage us to consider that although we may be scared of asking someone, that doesn't mean it is a scary thing for them to consider. The people who invited me to meet with them one-to-one may have been nervous about asking me, I don't know, but I was delighted they asked.

    Another thing I really liked about this book is its flexibility. It doesn't give a 'right way' to do one-to-one, but offers a lot of suggestions. Some of these include the advantages and disadvantages of preparing a study and reading the passage before the meeting compared with just turning up and 'winging it' (like just reading together with no set plan or questions other than asking each other, "Did anything stand out?" etc). The choice is yours.

    He also suggests that one-to-one does not have to be an open-ended commitment. It seems silly now, but this was a revelation to me at the time. You could meet with someone for six weeks or a few months and then meet with someone else. One thing he does recommend though is arranging a time for the next meeting after you've had your current one.

    Part II: Frameworks and Ideas contains everything you need in regards of sample questions and passages to read depending on who you're meeting with (i.e. if you're meeting with a non-Christian, you may want to look at Mark's gospel, or if you're meeting with someone who is suffering, you may want to read Job or some Psalms). It looks at two well-known Bible reading methods - COMA (Context Observation Meaning Application) which I've used, and the Swedish method which was new to me. I skimmed over this section a bit, but I expect I will examine it more closely when I actually start meeting with someone.

    It's rare to find a book with so much encouragement and helpful information contained in just 103 pages. It has given me much more confidence in pursuing meeting one-to-one another Christian. I highly recommend this book for every established Christian. (Posted on 18/05/2012)

  9. Helpful, Dynamic Resource Review / Tip by Denise

    Have you ever tried to do a Bible study with a friend, co-worker, spouse, or someone new to the faith and it’s either stopped short or simply fell apart? Well, you are in good company. When it comes to personal study of the Scriptures and small group Bible study most Christians have good intentions matched with poor execution. Devotions and Bible study are an integral part of the everyday Christian life, but few people sit down and show us how. There isn’t one right way to do Bible study. It’s a dynamic pursuit but it still requires some guidance. What does a Bible study look like? What are the benefits? How do I get started? Simple questions that have simple answers, if you know where to look or who to ask.

    Enter, One to One Bible Reading by David Helm. In this small book Helm offers extremely practical reasons why and ways to study the Bible with others. Helm begins the book with a keen observation of what western Christianity has deemed spiritual growth.

    "For generations we have been conditioned to think of spiritual growth mainly in terms of an event to go to, a program to register for, or a class to take. The church often puts its creative energy into initiating events, programs, and classes specially designed to win people to Christ and help them grow in the faith. As successful as some of these plans have been, we might still be missing out on something more dynamic-something more straightforward and right for this day and age-that returns gospel growth to the everyday fabric of personal relationship, rather than relying on church-run programs." (p.8-9)

    So, what is his solution, what is one to one Bible reading? It’s simply reading the Bible with someone, over a period of time, and discussing what you’re reading. It sounds simple. Why do we need a book to tell us how to do that? Like I pointed out before, how many times have you tried and lost focus or direction?

    Reading the Bible one to one allows you to learn from the text but also opens up opportunities for salvation, sanctification, training, and relationships. The first part of Helm’s book addresses foundational aspects. It helps you get started, figure out who might benefit from this (everyone), what a meeting might look like, and how to prepare.

    The second part of the book takes you into the framework and ideas behind reading one to one. It lays out various methods, like the Swedish & COMA methods, it points out books that will be helpful to read in situations, and it provides help reading different Biblical genres. The appendices provide a wealth of outlines & guides to get you started on this path. This is a gem of a resource for any Christian, at any level, in any calling.

    -DMH (Posted on 15/05/2012)

  10. Easy to read, very practical, pointing to a fundamentally good way of Christian living Review / Tip by Chris Little

    As indicated by the subtitle of the book (a simple guide for every Christian), this work is intended to guide any Christian into reading the Bible with another person. I think it achieves this aim very succesfully.

    One-to-One Bible Reading is short: barely 100 (small-sized) pages. Even so, it's divided into two broad sections and 11 chapters, with two appendices being required to push it over the 100 page mark. It's an easy read!

    The author, David Helm, rightly points out an obvious reality: there's good reason to read the Bible one-to-one with all kinds of people. It's good for those not-yet-Christian: God's word can convert them. It's good for newer Christians: God's word can effect on-going transformation. It's good for established Christians: God's word equips them for further minsitry. And in all these possibible scenarios, one-to-one reading provides what so many people are crying out for - relationship.

    After arguing briefly the benefits of regular one-to-one Bible reading, Helm provides a substantial amount of practical advice and tips. Chapter headings give a feel for the 'users' guide' feel for much of the book: 'How do I get started?', 'What will a typical meeting look like?', 'Preparation', Help with reading different biblical genres', etc.

    It's all great material, and I am sure it will be immensely helpful to anyone, but particularly those embarking on such Bible reading for the first time. Helm want to show how easy it is to pick up the Bible and read it with someone. How good it is - Christians are probably convinced already. But how easy it is? I suspect that perceived difficulty is a major reason more Christians don't read the Bible together. Helm even provides two simple fameworks for Bible reading to show that we should not be scared off from starting.

    I have two suggestions for improvement. One would make the book shorter, the other would make it longer.

    Firstly, shorter. Appendix 2 is a series of pages ready to be copied and full of useful questions for the different types of biblical writing (The Gospels and Acts, Old Testament narrative, and so on). This material is reproduced from Chapter 10, 'Help with reading different biblical genres', with formatting added. I can't see why chapter 10 was not itself formatted as ready-to-copy. It seemed a waste of space.

    Secondly, longer. I would like to see an expansion of Chapter 2, 'Why read one-to-one?' Chapter 2 is, it appears, the theological and pastoral rationale for one-to-one reading. It checks if the reader is convinced of the value of such a ministry. I would like the chapter to probe a little more boldly. For example, we need to ask if we actually trust the power of God's word to transform. Or do we, as modern Christians, behave in a way that suggests there are other 'powers' that equip God's people for every good work?

    These suggestions are quite minor. I hope you buy and use this book, and that it encourages plenty more people to read the Bible with a friend, who will then read the Bible with a friend, who will ...

    (Same review posted here: (Posted on 30/04/2012)

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