Q. I have a Bible I like and am used to using. I’d prefer not to have to buy a new one to use these studies. And I am fairly certain the members of my small group might feel the same. How can I use your studies with a traditional Bible?
Your concern is perfectly understandable. We anticipated it, and that’s why we designed these guides so that they can be used with any kind of Bible. Each session is typically devoted to a natural section of a biblical book, and as the instructions at the beginning of the guides explain, “You’ll be able to identify these sections easily because they’ll be indicated by their opening lines or by some other means that makes them obvious.” In fact, since the sessions go sequentially through biblical books, in each new session you can just pick up where you left off the last time. So even with a traditional Bible, you’ll get much of the benefit of approaching the biblical books through their own natural structures rather than through the later artificial additions of chapters and verses. You don’t need to get a whole new Bible just to use these guides.
That much said, you will definitely have the best experience with these study guides, and in your small group discussions, if you do use The Books of the Bible. Without chapters and verses, the Bible reads like the collection of books it really is. I invite you to to give this way of reading Scriptures a try–I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised! (You can find out more about The Books of the Bible by reading this Wikipedia article. You can download and preview several biblical books from the edition here. To find out how to order a copy, see this post.)
I think you’ll quickly adjust to reading and discussing the Bible without using chapter and verse references. You’ll find that this is much closer to the way you’d discuss any other book, for example, in a book club. You’ll discover that you can refer to places in the passage descriptively (“When Nicodemus first arrives . . .”) or by quoting short phrases (“When he says, ‘We know that you are a teacher who has come from God . . .'”). It doesn’t take long to catch on.
I wish you and your small group a great experience, whatever Bible you use with these guides. (But I definitely encourage you to check out The Books of the Bible!)