Another vital way to grow deeper in Christ is to immerse your life in God’s Word by regularly reading the Bible. In 2019, the people of Cannon Beach Community Church began a four year journey to read through the entire Bible together, using the 6-Volume Bible published by Tyndale called Immerse. The volumes: Beginnings, Kingdoms, Prophets, Poets, Chronicles, Messiah.
Our 4-Year Journey through Immerse Bible
- January–June 2019: Messiah (the New Testament)
- July–December 2019: Beginnings
- January–June 2020: Kingdoms
- July–December 2020: Messiah (where we are at time of this writing)
- January–June 2021: Prophets
- July–December 2021: Poets
- January–June 2022: Chronicles
- July–December 2022: Messiah
One of the unique aspects of the way the Immerse Bible is published is there are no chapter breaks and no verse breaks. Immerse Bibles have no verse or chapter numbers typical of modern Bibles. Immerse Bible is in The New Living Translation, an easy to read translation.
Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience: Here’s what Tyndale has to say about this approach to Bible reading.
“The Immerse Bible Reading Experience offers a vibrant, transformative relationship with God and others through his Word. Each week, transparent community happens in Bible Book Clubs, where participants share their observations and questions based on their immersion in God’s Word. These warm and inviting group experiences set the table for life-changing Bible reading.” From https://www.tyndale.com/sites/immersebible/
Unfortunately, the weekly reading plans offered by Tyndale are limited to either an 8-week or a 16-week reading plan, requiring readers to spend 20-30 minutes per day 3-4 days per week to get through the readings. Everyone I’ve spoken with in numerous congregations who has tried Immerse as a Bible Reading experience has expressed frustration at how much reading there is day after day, week after week, and eventually, many of those I’ve spoken with gave up on the experience out of frustration, because they got behind.
I spoke with representatives from Tyndale, and also Glen Paauw, Senior Director of the Institute for Bible Reading, the creators of the Immerse approach to reading the Bible. I expressed the common frustration I’ve heard from many people, and asked Tyndale to consider providing churches a 26-week reading plan that would cover every week across a 6-month period, allowing a slower pace, with plenty of grace for make-up days. They were interested in the approach we were taking in Cannon Beach but then told me they were unwilling to produce a 26-week reading plan for us. So we at Cannon Beach Community Church created our own 26-week reading plan. We paid for a graphic artist company to produce our own Reading Plan Bookmarks using, with Tyndale’s permission, Immerse artwork. This Bookmark is placed in every Immerse Bible, and we hand these Bibles out twice a year as a gift to each member and friend of Cannon Beach Community Church, inviting people to join us in the adventure of reading weekly through the Bible together.
At Cannon Beach Community Church, we’ve decided to read the Immerse Bible every week for 4 years, dividing each volume of the Immerse Bible into 26-week reading plans, lasting 6 months, with 10-15 minute readings 3 days each week. The people of Community Church have appreciated the pace and the grace in this more relaxed approach to weekly Bible reading.
Every Immerse Bible comes with our own published 26-week Reading Plan bookmark. On these bookmarks we also offer these two approaches to reading the Bible:
REAP a harvest from God’s Word
- R: Read a passage silently or aloud, alone or together with a few others.
- E: Explore reading: people, places, events, themes, promises, truths.
- A: Apply reading: insights, lessons, principles to put into practice.
- P: Pray/Practice: ask God to help you put God’s Word into practice.
5 Ways to Immerse your Life in God’s Word
- Prepare: Find a place without distractions. Ask God to guide you.
- Read: Listen to God’s Word as you read, highlighting words and phrases.
- Reflect: Ponder God’s Word, considering how the passage informs your life.
- Repond: Talk with God about the reading. Discover what God is calling you to do.
- Rest: Pray and give thanks for God’s Word. Rest in God’s presence.
In addition to reading through the Immerse Bible weekly by ourselves, we are encouraging everyone in our 200 member congregation to join an Immerse Grow Group, that meets twice a month or weekly to talk together about our weekly readings, and immerse our lives in God’s Word to help us grow in Christ together.
In addition to reading and studying God’s Word together, we are also preaching through the Immerse Bible, chapter by chapter, following the Immerse weekly readings. Our 4-year Immerse journey together is the most extensive ministry plan we’ve ever engaged in during our 90 years as a growing congregation on the north Oregon coast.
We are affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church, a national denomination that asks, “Where is it written?” and believes in the centrality of God’s Word. We learned about Immerse through the Covenant Church, a way to read the Bible promoted by our national denominational leaders. Here’s what the Covenant Church teaches about the spiritual practice of reading the Bible:
“Reading the Bible is a critical discipline of our spiritual growth. While there are many different ways to build this into your life, the questions included here offer a reflective and
prayerful means of allowing the Bible to shape your attitudes and actions.
“As followers of Jesus, we are people of the Word. Our goal is not just to know the facts of the Bible, but to let its truths increasingly shape our attitudes and our lives. Regularly
reading the Bible is essential as we seek to become more like Jesus.
“There are many ways to dig into a Scripture text. Here’s one way to enter the reading as a form of prayer. Using the word GROW as an acronym, the following questions are meant to guide your reading so that it becomes transformational rather than simply informational. As you begin, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Read the selected text, and then enter a conversation with God about it.
“Questions to help you G.R.O.W.
God’s Word: What does the Bible passage teach about God’s character?
Relationships: How does the Bible passage help me grow in my relationships?
Outward Living: How does the passage help me in my outward living?
Worship: How might I more faithfully engage in a lifestyle of worship?
“You may wish to focus on the preaching passages of the upcoming Sunday in order to prepare you for listening to God. In that case, you might choose one of these questions as your focus for each day, or consider all of them with a different text each day. Whatever your approach, you can be confident that your attitudes and actions will be increasingly shaped by the truths of the Bible.” As Paul wrote to the Church in Philippi: “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 1:4-6