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The people of Hope are about to begin another journey through the Bible together using Whitney Kuniholm’s Essential Jesus as our guide. Over the course of twenty weeks (with a break for Advent and Christmas), we’ll read 100 short passages of Scripture —twenty-five from the Old Testament and seventy-five from the New Testament—all of which relate to Jesus.

Our journey begins with five soaring descriptions of Jesus and his significance by Peter, John, and Paul. Then we’ll turn to twenty-five readings in the Old Testament, because the story of Jesus begins long before the manger!

“In the very first book in the Bible,” Kuniholm writes, “we get our first indication that God was planning to send a Messiah, a Savior for the world, which raises an obvious question: Why do we need a Savior? Once we come to grips with the answer (hint: the answer is sin!), we’ll then trace what the Bible says about this coming Savior in the Psalms and in the Prophets. You’ll be amazed at how much the Old Testament has to say about this coming Savior and how perfectly Jesus matched the picture God had been describing for centuries.”

Next, we’ll look at sixty-five passages in the Gospels, focusing on Jesus’ birth, ministry, teaching, miracles, death, resurrection, and the church…and unfinished part of the story of Jesus: the time in the future when Jesus will return to earth for all those who believe in him.

“In the final five readings, you’ll get an opportunity to do something really important: form your own opinion about Jesus. To help, we’ll consider several people who came face to face with Jesus. Some rejected him; some embraced him. But in each case you’ll see that Jesus challenged people to respond. Why? Because his desire is to have a relationship with every human being, including you. That was God’s plan from the beginning, and it’s why Jesus came to earth.”[1]

As with the Essential 100 last year, Hope’s Essential Jesus Bible Reading Challenge will work on three levels simultaneously:

  • As individuals, we’ll have daily fellowship with God in His Word, assisted by Kuniholm’s short but powerful prayers, reflections, and application questions.

  • In weekly Essential Jesus Bible discussion groups, we’ll enjoy fellowship with our brothers and sisters around the Word of God as we talk and pray about what we’ve read that week. Kuniholm offers excellent “discussion starting” questions at the end of each week’s readings.

  • In Sunday worship, we focus on one of the Scriptures we’ve read that week.

Participating in a Bible Discussion Group was a powerful experience for many last year. We’re offering seven Essential Jesus Bible Discussion Group options to try to accommodate your schedule. Contact Bible Discussion Group Leaders below for more information. And if you want a book, call the church office at (518) 279-1403.

Sunday Mornings at 9 am

@ Hope UMC with Kathy Prather: (518) 279-1702

Monday Mornings at 10 am

@ Hope UMC with Linda Bulson: (518) 663-0149

Monday Evenings at 7 pm

@ Hope UMC with Karen

Douttiel: (518) 674-3917

Thursday Evenings at 6 pm

@ 24 Dodge Street, Wynantskill with Marty and Margaret Hiltz:

(518) 860-5376

Friday Mornings at 10 am

@ Hope UMC with Chuck Watson: (518) 313-9760

Online Group at your convenience Contact Anna Meyers to participate via group email:

Phone Group, Weeknights at 5 pm Contact Wendy Germond at (518) 231-3133

[1] Whitney Kunihom, The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible’s Greatest Story (Downers Grove: IVP Connect, 2007), p. 13

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