The beginning of a new year is a popular time to dive into a new Bible study, as is Lent, which is coming up soon. During the pandemic when we may not be meeting in person, many United Methodist churches are offering online groups. Other United Methodists are going the independent study route, finding a book and moving through it at their own pace.
Whether you’re with a small group or going it alone, consider these recommendations from our friends at the United Methodist Publishing House.
Taking something old and giving it a new perspective, Adam Hamilton, United Methodist pastor and prolific author, shows the reader how to use a set of ancient rules as a guide for experiencing a joyful life in “Words of Life: Jesus and the Promise of the Ten Commandments Today.” In addition to the book, the study features a leader guide, youth study guide, DVDs and a Ten Commandments card pack. A virtual kit and streaming videos are available.
Address the topics of saving, earning, giving, spending and debt in “Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well-Being,” where money management from a Wesleyan perspective is the focus. Authored by various United Methodist leaders, “Saving Grace” features videos, workbook, leader guide and a six-week devotional.
Jesus was often called upon to be brave, a virtue United Methodist pastor and author Tom Berlin examines in “Courage: Jesus and the Call to Brave Faith.” Berlin challenges the reader to unlock the courage we possess as Christ followers on our way to discovering the remarkable life Jesus offers. The book is part of a six-week study, with leader guide and DVD.
In “1 Corinthians: Searching the Depths of God,” Jaime Clark-Soles, Perkins of School of Theology professor and author delves into the breathtaking world of the first-century church as Paul addresses a community dealing with a myriad of challenges not unlike the church today. The six-week study includes a leader guide and DVD.
For women who may be short on time, two four-week studies from the Abingdon Women imprint are available.
Let some of the lesser-known people in the Bible inspire you to be more intentional in your life in “Footnotes: Major Lessons from Minor Bible Characters” by Julie Lyles Carr, a speaker and author. Resources for the four-session study include a Facebook on-demand discussion, prayers, leader helps, discussion questions and a DVD.
Naomi’s story in the book of Ruth serves as the basis for “Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story,” by Heather M. Dixon, Bible teacher, speaker and author. Women who, like Naomi, find themselves living a story they want to change, are encouraged to lean on God while charting a new path to renewed hope and joy. A Facebook on-demand event titled “What you can (and can’t) do when you are carrying a difficult story” is available for the four-week study, along with a study guide (with leader helps) and a DVD.
As we approach Lent, a number of studies focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection.
“Savior: What the Bible Says About the Cross” by United Methodist pastor and author Magrey deVega tackles questions about Jesus’ resurrection, introducing the reader to biblically based ways of understanding Jesus’ death beyond explanations you may have heard before. The six-week study offers a book, leader guide and DVD presentations by the author.
United Methodist pastor and author Susan Robb looks at Christ’s final words from a biblical and historical perspective in “Seven Words: Listening to Christ from the Cross,” showing how we can find life and hope in them. The six-week Lenten study includes a book, leader guide and DVD featuring the author.
Understanding and pushing through the confusion readers often have when reading the Bible is the basis for “Scripture and the Skeptic: Miracles, Myths, and Doubts of Biblical Proportions” by United Methodist pastor and author Eric Huffman. Huffman interprets the entire Bible through the lens of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Each chapter includes questions for personal reflection or group study.
“Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus” is a six-week study, with a perfect-for-Lent companion devotional titled “Surrendered: 40 Devotions to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus.” Barb Roose, a speaker and author, wrote the study, which includes a workbook and DVD teaching segments.
Amplify Media offers streaming of many of the studies listed. Learn more here.
Crystal Caviness, who works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications, compiled this list of books based on recommendations by staff at The United Methodist Publishing House. You may reach her by email or at 615-742-5138.
This article was published on January 15, 2021.