Welcome to the Good Book Club! We invite you to explore Christ’s redeeming love by reading Paul’s Letter to the Romans each day throughout the season of Epiphany 2019. Join with tens of thousands of Episcopalians to learn about life in the early church and central principles of our Christian faith. The Good Book Club offers an opportunity to dive deeply into scripture and create a daily practice of engagement with God’s Word. It’s easy to join the Good Book Club: Just open your Bible and start! To support you in your journey, we have a variety of resources for individuals, small groups, and congregations.
What is the Good Book Club?
The Good Book Club is an invitation to all Episcopalians to join in reading Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans during Epiphany 2019. Episcopalians will start reading Romans on January 7, 2019 and read a section every day (except Sundays) through the Epiphany season. In surveys taken before and after the first Good Book Club project in 2018 (reading the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts), participants reported growth in their understanding of scripture and a deepening of their prayer life. Perhaps most significantly, the percentage of people who reported reading the Bible on a daily basis increased to 73 percent at the end of the first Good Book Club reading, from 45 percent when it began.
Already, individuals, congregations, and organizations have committed to being a part of the Good Book Club, and we hope you’ll join the journey too!
Why read the Bible?
People who read scripture with an open heart grow in faith through their encounter with the sacred stories of the Bible. We know this to be true in our personal experiences — and we have research to back it up. RenewalWorks, a Forward Movement research-based initiative, has data from nearly half a million participants that identify scripture engagement as a key catalyst for spiritual vitality in congregations and for individuals. In other words, if you want to grow and strengthen your faith, reading scripture is the perfect exercise.
After diving deep into the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts during the Good Book Club in 2018, we will delve into the Letter to the Romans, written by the Apostle Paul in 56-57 CE. Romans shares Paul’s attempt to explain how this new expression of faith is rooted in Judaism but is available to all of humanity. As Paul writes to the new community of Christians in Rome, he explores the concepts of salvation, the power of God, and grace. Many biblical scholars consider Romans to be Paul’s most important theological treatise. While Romans is not always easy reading, this sixth book of the New Testament articulates what it means to be a disciple of Christ and how that translates into daily life—lessons to inform and inspire followers of Christ from the beginning to the 21st century.
How will it work?
Forward Movement has divided Romans into 50 daily readings, beginning on Monday, January 7, and concluding on Shrove Tuesday, March 5. Each day, participants are invited to read, reflect, and pray upon a few verses of Romans. On Sundays, we encourage participants to take a break from Romans and listen and respond to the lectionary readings at their local churches. Click here to view the readings or download a PDF.
Will there be other resources?
Yes! Much like the 2018 Lent-Easter Good Book Club, both Forward Movement and many partners from across the Episcopal Church will provide resources to support you on the journey through Romans. Good Book Club 2018 resources included podcasts, Bible study guides, books, blogs, videos, and more. We’re looking forward to inspiring and spiritual resources that will be carefully crafted for Romans 2019. Check back to see what wonderful resources will be offered for this initiative.
How much does it cost?
The Good Book Club is free. You can download the reading list and read Romans for no charge. Several resources created for this project will be free, while others will have a cost. You’ll pay only for the resources you wish to purchase.
Who is doing this work?
Partners already committed include The Living Church, Forma, the Presiding Bishop’s Office, ChurchNext, RenewalWorks, GrowChristians.org, Episcopal Church Foundation, United Thank Offering, and Virginia Theological Seminary. If your church, diocese, or organization is interested in providing resources and being a partner in the Good Book Club, contact Richelle Thompson.
What are the next steps?
You can sign up to receive updates. Please tell as many people as possible about this invitation to a transforming encounter with scripture!
How else can I support this work?
Most importantly, please pray for those committed to reading scripture and for the success of the Good Book Club, that it transforms lives and, indeed, our whole church. If you would like to financially support Forward Movement or one of the other partners that are creating free resources, please consider making a generous donation. You can donate to Forward Movement online, and many of the partners have donation pages on their websites.