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Happy New Year! January’s here, and, as promised, the people of Hope are preparing to set out on a journey through the Bible together. The E100 Challenge will take us through 100 passages of scripture (50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament—the “essential 100”) that will give us a “big picture” understanding of what the Bible is all about. I’m excited that so many of us have chosen to participate!

Here are some answers to your FAQs:

  1. When will I get my book? The official start date for the Essential 100 Bible Reading Challenge is Monday, January 28. In the first three weeks of January, we’ll be placing book orders and helping everyone find a weekly E100 Bible Discussion Group that fits into their schedule. We’ll make sure you have your copy of The Essential 100 Bible-Reading Guide Book prior to January 28!

  2. What will we be doing? As individuals, we’ll be using The Essential 100 Bible-Reading Guide book to lead us in reading, reflecting on, and praying about five passages of scripture each week for about twenty weeks. (We’ll make some adjustments for Holy Week, etc.) In weekly small groups, we’ll be spending 60-90 minutes (and not a second longer!) talking and praying about what we’ve read, using the questions for group discussion in the back of The Essential 100 book. In our Sunday gatherings, we’ll be worshipping God in light of what He’s revealed to us about who He is and what He wants for us in the scriptures we’ve read that week.

  3. Why should I take the E100 Challenge? To grow in faith as a disciple of Jesus Christ, and to help Hope UMC make an impact for Jesus Christ in our community. “What distinguishes the Bible from any other book is its divine origin. That’s why people often refer to it as God’s Word; it records what He’s said, what He’s done, and what He wants from us…Your goal is not just to read the world’s greatest book or to gain more Bible knowledge or even to develop greater spiritual discipline. All those things are important, but your higher goal is the meet the Author. The secret to making Bible reading more than just a good habit is to think of it as an opportunity to meet God every day, to have a daily encounter with the God who made you, who loves you, and who desires to have a living relationship with you.” [1]

I will be asking each E100 Bible Discussion Group to jot down three things each week:

  1. What did the readings say about God?

  2. What did the readings say about human beings?

  3. What did the readings say about what God wants for human beings?

I believe this will help us develop an understanding of the vision God has for Hope UMC.

  1. Can’t I just read the Bible without attending an E100 Bible Discussion Group? Yes, but you will not get the most out of the E100 Challenge if you’re not connecting with others in the process. If scheduling a meeting into your week is an issue, you might consider participating in the email E100 Bible Discussion Group. This will allow you to interact with others about what you’ve been reading when it’s convenient for you. Contact me at to find out more.

  2. What do I need to do to host an E100 Bible Discussion Group? You need to welcome each person that comes, and encourage people to use the questions for group discussion in the back of The Essential 100 Bible-Reading Guide Book. You don’t have to be a Bible expert or have all the answers.

Will there be training and support for E100 Bible Discussion Group hosts? In mid-January I will be offering a training session for hosts. I’ll give you a “check list” that will help you provide a welcoming, safe place for people to connect with each other and with God. I will also be available throughout the E100 Challenge to help answer questions and address concerns that come up.

[1]Whitney T. Kuniholm, The Essential 100 (Valley Forge: Scripture Union, 2003), p. 8

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