Reading the Bible online when you're 'all zoomed-out'
It can be tricky to work out how to read the Bible with a friend when you're not with them in person. Here, Bath CU student Evie reflects on her experiences...
I began reading the Bible with Sarah (name changed) back in December.
At the time she was just a friend of a friend who I got along well with - I'd been intending to form a personal friendship with her for months but had never carved out the time. But, after our November events week, she came along to a CU meeting and we got chatting. To help her explore a growing interest in Christianity, we decided to start reading the book of Mark!
From there (with fairly large breaks caused by holiday and exam time) we began to go through Mark and became friends in the process. It has been a real joy doing this and such an encouragement to see her grasp more and more of who Jesus is, and why He changes the lives of millions of people around the globe.
And then, lockdown...
When lockdown started, we transferred our reading from taking place at a coffee shop to happening over the phone. Despite the sadness of missing out on good coffee, the movement has been very smooth – Sarah was still extremely keen to carry on reading and the change (removal) of timetable allowed a flexibility in when we could meet. Rather than using Zoom, we simply read over the phone – it's been refreshing not to video call, as in many ways this removes distraction.
Awkward pauses and a dodgy connection?
Reading the Bible on the phone is, of course, quite different to reading in person. It drastically changed the feeling of spending quality time together and lead to a yearning to see each other properly. But in terms of studying God’s Word, I found that it didn't hinder the process significantly. In some ways, the challenge of reading virtually has allowed us to be more focused on God.
'As we get used to the internet, we're becoming more comfortable in being open with each other through it.'
As we all become more used to connecting over the internet, we also are becoming more comfortable in being open and honest with one another over these devices. For Sarah and I, the pauses as we read and contemplate the content of the passages might have felt slightly barer over the phone, but once once we got chatting and discussing our thoughts there was no awkwardness. Overall, I found that it was just as encouraging as it had been in person. (It also gave me a weekly reason to keep chatting with someone who I might not otherwise have stayed in touch with during lockdown!).
A new perspective in Covid-19
We have now finished Mark’s Gospel – fittingly, we read the final two studies with Easter sitting right in the middle. We are going to move on to reading 'Just for Starters' (another set of Bible studies) which I am extremely excited for. The lockdown has changed many aspects of life, but the enjoyment of reading with Sarah is not one of them. I have found that Covid-19 has opened up interest in the Christian perspective on life and death – our friends may well be more interested in our faith than they have ever been before.
If you want to read the Bible with a friend online and are looking for some resources, have a look at our Uncover Mark online: www.uncover.org.uk/