The Media Center often hears from small groups that want to “study the Bible,” or a book of the Bible. Technically, all of our studies study the Bible, although many studies take a topical approach. These groups want a study that teaches about the Bible itself, its overall story, or one entire book of the Bible. Listed here are some studies for groups who want to “study the Bible.”
Looking for a 6-12 week study that helps you understand the whole Bible?
Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today by Adam Hamilton seeks to clear up misunderstandings by answering basic and common questions about how to read the Bible. Hamilton’s goal is to lead readers to a deeper appreciation of the Bible so that they might hear God speak through it and find its words to be life-changing and life-giving. A DVD, leader guide, and book are available. 6 sessions.
Long Story Short: The Bible in Six Simple Movements by Joshua McNall opens up the Christian scriptures by sharing the biblical narrative in a way that requires no prior engagement with the Bible. It traces the big story of who God is and how he is saving the world through six simple movements: Creation; Fall; Israel; Jesus; Church; New Creation. A DVD and book are available. 6 sessions.
Animate: Bible consists of seven live-action presentations enriched with dynamic animation each from a different Christian teacher including Will Willimon, Rachel Held Evans, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Phyllis Tickle, and more. The study explores seven big conversations about the Bible, including the canon, history, testaments, Gospels, genre, interpretation, and grace. A DVD, facilitator guide, and student journal are available. 7 sessions.
Adult Crossings explores what many scholars consider to be the eight core stories of the Bible. The first six segments focus on the Hebrew Scripture and are presented by Dr. Mark A. Throntveit. The final five segments on the New Testament are presented by Dr. Thomas G. Long. By studying these ancient stories we can begin to see how God continues to act, here and now, in us and through us. A DVD, leader guide, and student journal are available. 11 sessions.
Deep Study of the Whole Bible
Some groups may want to commit to a deep study of the bible. Covenant Bible Study seeks to deepen our understanding of scripture while also helping us respond together in answering God’s call to a faithful life in Jesus. It emphasizes the biblical concept of covenant as a unifying pattern throughout the entire Bible. The program covers both Testaments discussing books from each in a way that shows the interconnectedness of scripture as a whole. The 24-week study is broken into 8-week modules for flexibility. The kit includes the DVDs, leader guide, participant guides, and a meditation book.
For groups that want an even more intense commitment, the Disciple Bible Study series is the gold standard in United Methodist churches for a life-changing study of the Bible. The first study in the series covers the entire Bible in 34 weeks with daily homework and weekly 2.5 hour meetings. The following three studies in the series require the same time commitment while focusing on different parts of the Bible. Shorter and more flexible options for using this series are also available.
Book Studies of the Whole Bible
If your group prefers not to use a DVD, these books offer overviews of the whole Bible. A Hop, Skip, and a Jump Through the Bible by J. Ellsworth Kalas presents the grand story of the Bible in thirteen brief chapters. Kalas takes readers through the different books of the Bible, providing descriptions, reflection, and context, showing how there is an overarching plot that binds all of the varied writings of the Bible together. This book includes a study guide.
Covenant and Kingdom: The DNA of the Bible by Mike Breen provides stories and verse from the Old and New Testaments that are woven together and cross-referenced along the biblical themes of covenant and kingdom.
Old and New Testaments
Want to take a closer look at just the Old or New Testament in a small-group format? The Bible Jesus Read by Philip Yancey explains how to understand the Old Testament while it focuses on Job, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and the Prophets in eight sessions. A DVD, participant book, and the book the study was based on are available.
The New Testament You Never Knew: Exploring the Context, Purpose, and Meaning of the Story of God by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird is a brand new study that takes you on a tour of the story behind the explosive story of the New Testament. You will discover things you never knew about Jesus’ baptism and journey into the wilderness, the meaning behind his parables and miracles, the significance of his death and resurrection, the incredible expansion of the early church into the Greco-Roman world, and how the transforming mission of Jesus can still turn the world upside down today. A DVD and study guide are available. 8 sessions.
Books of the Bible
The Efird Bible Study Series and the Short-Term Disciple Bible Study series both offer several DVD studies on individual books of the Bible. There is a wide variety in the length of each study ranging from 5 to 22 sessions. Both series do not cover every book in the Bible, but they are a good starting point for groups that want an in-depth study of a particular book. For groups wanting to study Paul’s letters or the book of James, the Celebrate series offers several options.
Book Study Series
For a study series that does cover every book of the Bible, consider the Immersion Bible Studies, Wesley Bible Studies, Genesis to Revelation, or Journey Through the Bible. These book studies are available from Cokesbury. The Media Center does have examples of the Immersion Bible Studies. and Journey Through the Bible.
The LifeGuide Bible Study series also offers many book studies on individual books of the Bible, although not all of them. This series also offers topical studies. The Media Center has several of these book studies.
We do have some additional DVD studies that happen to focus on one book of the Bible. These 6-8 session studies are made for small groups.
Journey Through the Psalms by Denise Dombkowski Hopkins seeks to help participants recognize the range of prayer in the Psalms, how they have they been used in the history of the church, the figurative language, and how Psalms help us speak about what God is like and what we are like in relationship to God. A DVD, leader guide, participant guide, and the book the study is based on are available. 8 sessions.
John: The Gospel of Light and Life by Adam Hamilton is the only one of Hamilton’s studies that has looked at only one book of the Bible. In this study, participants will follow the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus through the Gospel of John and understand the context of some of the best-known verses in the New Testament. A DVD, leader guide, and book are available. 6 sessions.
Romans: The Greatest Letter Ever Written by N.T. Wright breaks down the chapters of Romans and explains how Paul created a tradition of Christian thought where none had existed before. The DVD includes a CD-ROM with a printable discussion guide. 6 sessions. Wright also teaches a similar DVD study on the Four Gospels.
Revelation and the End Times: Unraveling God’s Message of Hope by Ben Witherington, III guides you into a deeper understanding of the truths found within Revelation’s often mysterious text, so that you can feel more secure in your faith. A DVD and a book are available. 5 sessions.
The best study that we have on Revelation is by Dr. Efird, but it is long at 16 sessions. Another option is Breaking the Code: Understanding the Book of Revelation by Bruce M. Metzger recently released in a revised edition.
The Great Courses series produced by The Teaching Company makes college-level courses available to the average person by partnering with university professors to produce these DVD studies and accompanying guidebooks. These are long studies with 12-24 lectures each.
- The Story of the Bible by Luke Timothy Johnson
- The History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon by Bart D. Ehrman
- The Old Testament by Amy-Jill Levine
- The New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman
Do you prefer to create your own studies for your group or congregation? The following books provide practical advice and techniques on how to teach the Bible.
- Teaching Biblical Faith: Leading Small Group Bible Studies by Jack L. Seymour
- Triangular Teaching: A New Way of Teaching the Bible to Adults by Barbara Bruce
- The Art of Teaching the Bible: A Practical Guide for Adults by Christine Eaton Blair
- Biblical Interpretation: A Roadmap by Frederick C. Tiffany and Sharon H. Ringe
But Wait, There’s More!
Yes, we have even more DVD studies on the Bible. You can find all of them listed in our DVD Studies on the Bible genre collection in our online catalog. The list includes many of the resources listed here, as well as some others that look at parts of the Bible such as the feasts, food, people, and parables.
Request These Resources
These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Conference. We can even mail them to you! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.