GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– A team of executives from the Bible publishing industry has come together to form the Institute for Bible Reading (IFBR), an organization focused on combating the silent crisis of Bible disengagement. Research continues to confirm that meaningful Bible engagement is declining despite greater Bible access than ever. The group is committed to changing the prevailing assumptions and practices around Bible reading, which they claim perpetuate a hyper-individualized and fragmented Bible-reading experience.
The team, comprised of Scott Bolinder, Paul Caminiti, Alex Goodwin, and Glenn Paauw, has over 75 years of collective experience in Bible publishing and Christian ministry at Biblica, Zondervan, and Christianity Today. This, they say, has given them a clear glimpse of the gaps and shortfalls within the current Bible paradigm. The team is already developing its first major campaign to introduce new Bible reading practices for the church, with a major announcement to come soon.
“Christians know the Bible is important, but most of them have trouble actually reading and understanding it. Lots of people are simply giving up on the Bible.” says Paauw, author of Saving the Bible from Ourselves (InterVarsity Press, 2016), “We are going to give people tools and frameworks that fundamentally change the way they read the Bible so it can achieve its mission and become the story that defines their lives.”
During their years at Biblica and Zondervan, the team created resources like The Story, The Books of the Bible, and Community Bible Experience to give people fresh experiences with the Bible. To date, over six million people have participated in these programs. Now as a new independent group, they plan to build and expand on their past work while maintaining a spirit of continual learning. The Institute for Bible Reading will have three core functions:
• Convene conversations with Bible scholars, church leaders, and influential thinkers to explore what it means to read and live the Bible well.
• Inform the church by sharing their perspective and new learnings about good Bible reading, including the results of their own research.
• Create new resources for the church that introduce fresh forms of the Bible and new Bible reading practices, all designed to help people read and live the Bible well.
IFBR’s Advisory Board already includes well-known Christian thought leaders Andy Crouch, Carolyn Custis James, Meritt Lohr Sawyer, Efrem Smith, and Philip Yancey. “Our world is saturated with words,” says Crouch. “And in one sense we’ve never had more access to the Word—on paper and on screens. But that very saturation makes the challenge of encouraging true reading and transformative engagement with Scripture far more complex than it has ever been. The leaders of the Institute for Bible Reading are among the most restless, insightful, and creative people I know. Anyone who cares about Bible engagement should beat a path to their door.”
About the Institute for Bible Reading
The Institute for Bible Reading is catalytic think tank uncommonly focused on providing people tools and frameworks that fundamentally change the way they read the Bible so it can achieve its mission and become the story that defines their lives.