It’s been a while since I’ve written on here and even longer since I recommended a good book. Well, it would appear that good books are like buses. No, not filled with annoying teenagers blasting offensive rap music out of a smart phone, but they come in groups. So I thought whilst I was on light duties, I would try and take some time to recommend some books which I’ve found invaluable of late.
I thought I’d start with “Dig Deeper: Tools To Unearth The Bible’s Treasure” by Andrew Sach & Nigel Beynon. Dig Deeper is one of those books that I’d been aware of for a while but had always thought wouldn’t have much to offer me. After all, I’ve done a theology degree and I got an A in English Literature & Language at GCSE. I didn’t need anyone to tell me how to read. (Ahh pride!)
Well how wrong was I?! Dig Deeper walks you through 17 different tools that enable you to get more out of your Bible reading. The Structure tool helps you pick out helpful things like ‘sandwiches’ and “chiasms” that will give you a clue as to what the author is trying to get across. The Linking Words tool is great for epistles and really helps to unravel the logical flow of their arguments. And the Narrators Comment tool is great for unlocking those awkward narrative passages where it’s easy to understand what’s going on, but often a lot more difficult to work out what we’re supposed to take away from it. And that’s only 3 of the 17 tools for you to get your teeth into. Since reading this book I’ve gotten so much more out of my Bible reading than I had previously. Even though some of the tools seem to state the glaringly obvious, you’ll be surprised at how many things we can easily skip over and so often miss not only the richness of the text but also, quite often, the point!
Most of the chapters are quite short and contain an explanation of each tool with a few short examples, a worked example and an exercise to do yourself. I’ve been using the book to train leaders at our monthly meetings, looking at one tool and month and we’ve worked through the exercise together. It’s also been incredibly helpful in preparing talks and Bible studies, as well as in One2One Bible reading partnerships. I strongly believe that as youth workers, we’re not just called to teach young people what the Bible says but part of our role is also to teach young people how to read the Bible for themselves. It’s been really encouraging to introduce some of the tools to our young people and see them begin to discover some of the Bible’s treasure as they’ve put them to use.
It’s quite a slim volume so it’s a great book to give to teenagers, perhaps as a gift for their baptism or confirmation, as they leave the youth group or even just for those who are keen to dig deeper themselves. It’s also a great resource for leaders and other Christians, and some churches have even run courses for their whole congregation based on the tools in the book.
If you’re a youth leader and you’re serious about teaching the Bible and teaching your young people how to read it, then this book is for you. In fact, I can’t really think of any Christians for whom this book wouldn’t be a worthy addition to their bookshelf.