Guidelines January - April 2018

Bible study for today's ministry and mission

Commissioned by David Spriggs, Edited by Lisa Cherrett

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Guidelines is a unique Bible reading resource that offers four months of in-depth study written by leading scholars. Contributors are drawn from around the world, as well as the UK, and represent a stimulating and thought-provoking breadth of Christian tradition.

Instead of the usual dated daily readings, Guidelines provides weekly units, broken into at least six sections, plus an introduction giving context for the passage and a final section of points for thought and prayer.

On any day you can read as many or as few sections as you wish, to fit in with work or home routine. As well as a copy of Guidelines, you will need a Bible. Each contributor also suggests books for further study.

The Editor writes...

Mark begins his Gospel with a resounding note - 'The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God'. Steve Motyer will be taking us through the first eight chapters of Mark throughout this year. Offering us a vital window on to and into the story of Jesus, Steve will help us see Jesus with new vitality. I am sure that, like me, you will find many fresh insights as he shares with us from his rich knowledge and spirituality. Appropriately, in the first two weeks of this year we explore some of the many new beginnings in the Bible, including creation, Passover, the incarnation and the 'new creation'. As we reflect on the significance of God's new starts, these can enrich our spiritual engagement with this New Year.

In this New Year issue we have four new authors. David Beresford will explore the parables of Jesus to give us insight about growth in God's kingdom. David Cohen and David Dewey are also new, and they join Hugh Williamson in offering us contributions on the Psalms. David Dewey engages with the Passover psalms and their relationship to the last days of Jesus' earthly ministry. David Cohen tackles some psalms of lament. Lament is a strange world, but is vital if our spirituality is to withstand the shocks and challenges of life. Hugh Williamson looks at the psalms which begin and end each of the five 'books' of Psalms. By looking at these structurally situated psalms, Hugh helps us see how we can reread them for our day.

Four familiar authors bring more riches from the Bible into our lives. Antony Billington reflects on biblical insights into our working lives and offers us deep and challenging perspectives on the way many of us spend 25 per cent of our time. Tim Davy focuses on the theme of adoption, and the power of this metaphor in scripture (including its place in the purposes of God).

As we near the resurrection, Ian Paul uses Paul's letters to help us appreciate the rich and far-reaching aspects of Christ's resurrection for our faith.

We live in a universe which is revealed to us as ever-increasing in size, complexity and mystery. Derek Tidball's exposition of Colossians presents us with the vision and impact of a 'cosmic Christ' - God's adequate answer to the messy and mysterious universe depicted. And finally - the fourth new writer is Anthony Thacker. He has a special interest in relating the Christian faith to science fiction. Here he takes some of the profound issues which science fiction uses as its subtext and relates them to biblical insights.

I wish you God's blessing as you discover more of the riches of scripture through this issue, 'asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will' (Colossians 1:9).

David Spriggs

In this issue:

New beginnings
David Spriggs
1-14 January

Mark 1-3
Steve Motyer
15 January-4 February

Antony Billington
5-18 February

The five books of Psalms
Hugh Williamson
19 February-4 March

Adoption in the Bible
Tim Davy
5-11 March

Jesus' parables
David Beresford
12-18 March

Passover psalms
David Dewey
19-25 March

Praying our sorrows
David Cohen
26 March-1 April

Resurrection in the epistles
Ian Paul
2-15 April

Derek Tidball
16-29 April

Science fiction: culture and faith
Anthony Thacker
30 April-6 May

About the contributors in this issue:

David Spriggs provides occasional consultancy services for Bible Society, but his main role is as a Baptist minister again. He has recently been appointed as a part-time minister with the Friar Lane and Braunstone Baptist Church, Leicester.

Steve Motyer loves the quest for understanding - and the Bible is central to this quest. His life as a carer helps with this, as does 30 years of teaching New Testament and Counselling at London School of Theology.

Antony Billington is Head of Theology at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, having formerly taught hermeneutics and biblical theology at London School of Theology.

Hugh Williamson was the Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University until he retired in 2014. He has written extensively on the books of Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, and on Isaiah.

Tim Davy teaches Biblical Studies and Mission at Redcliffe College in Gloucester. His PhD was on a missional reading of Job, and he is particularly interested in the missional interpretation of the Bible.

David Beresford is currently the Director of Catholic Bible School and, with his wife Sarah, has a passion for storytelling and bringing the Bible to life. He has been actively engaged in ministry for over 25 years.

David Dewey is a Baptist minister now serving both Baptist and Anglican communities in South Yorkshire. Alongside helping people engage with scripture, his interests include Bible translation and interpretation.

David Cohen is the Head of Biblical Studies at Vose Seminary in Perth Australia. He completed doctoral research on the efficacy of lament psalms several years ago and continues to write and lecture on this topic and others.

Ian Paul is Associate Minister at St Nic's Nottingham, and Honorary Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham, as well as Managing Editor at Grove Books in Cambridge. He blogs at

In his retirement, Derek Tidball continues to be very active in pastoring, writing and theological education. His most recent book is Called by God (BRF, 2017). He is married to Dianne and lives in Leicester.

Anthony Thacker is Minister at Burbage Congregational Church, and was Baptist Minister in Treforest, Oadby, Billesdon and Hinckley. His interests include musical composition, systematic theology, history and science fiction.

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Author info

The Rev Dr David Spriggs is a Baptist minister, currently working as Head of Church Relations for Bible Society, where he has also been Project Director for The Open Book. He contributes to BRF's New Daylight notes and, among other publications, has written Feasting on God's Word (BRF, 2002).


Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857465511
  • Published: 01 November 2017
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
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