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Contemplative Bible Reading: Experiencing God Through Scripture (Spiritual Formation Study Guides) Paperback – December 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A NEW WAY TO READ THE BIBLE. Reading the Bible is something with which most of us are familiar. Some even do it regularly. But do we really think about how we read and respond to Scripture? How deeply do we allow ourselves to be impacted by it? Contemplative Bible reading (or lectio divina, as it is often called) is an ancient method of approaching Scripture. Consisting of four parts, this method begins with the selected biblical passage and moves to meditating, praying, and contemplating what God is revealing through the Bible. Many of us tend to think of meditation as something done individually, but reflecting on Scripture in a small group invites us to act and encourages us to share with others how God is calling us to respond. Contemplative Bible Reading examines this spiritual discipline and invites you to approach the Scripture in a new and challenging way. By exploring different passages and learning to hear God's voice in them, this guide will help you meditate and act on the truth of the Bible.

About the Author

RICHARD PEACE, Ph.D., holds the Robert Boyd Munger Chair as professor of evangelism and church renewal at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous books, including the LEARNING TO LOVE series (NavPress).

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Product Details

  • Series: Spiritual Formation Study Guides (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: NavPress (December 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576831086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576831083
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Peace is the Robert Boyd Munger Professor of Evangelism & Spiritual Formation at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California where he has taught for the past 18 years. He is a graduate of Yale University (B.E.), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of Natal in South Africa (Ph.D).

A prolific author, Peace has written, co-authored, or edited over 80 books and resource guides, and his books have been translated into over ten languages including Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Korean, and Zulu. His small group study guide, Holy Conversation: Talking About God in Everyday Life (2006), seeks to help lay people learn how to talk about Christianity in natural ways and in his book, Conversion in the New Testament: Paul and the Twelve (1999), he proposes a new paradigm for evangelism based on a fresh understanding of the literary structure of the Gospel of Mark. Peace's other publications include the Learning to Love trilogy of Bible studies (1968, 1994), The Serendipity Bible for Groups (1988), Small Group Evangelism (1985), and Pilgrimage: A Handbook on Christian Growth (1984). His most recent book is Noticing God (InterVarsity Press, 2012) in which he talks about the various ways in which God is present in the universe.

Dr. Peace and his wife, Judy Boppell Peace (author of the book: The Boy Child is Dying: A South African Experience, Harper and Row, l986) have four adult children and four grandchildren. They live in Santa Monica, California and South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Chris Lee on January 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Dr. Peace is the Robert Boyd Munger Chair as Professor of Evangelism and Church Renewal at Fuller Theological Seminary.
This is a relative thin book (96 pages), and is meant for a small group to read through, as well as individuals to study through. It is divided into 14 sessions, where individuals are supposed to go through and do the odd numbered sessions, and small groups are supposed to do the even numbered sessions.
This book is primarily meant to be a study guide for small groups, with leader notes, art of leadership guide, bibliography for further study. The exercises are meant for individuals to work towards the small group study.
Contemplating Bible reading is a 1500+ year old tradition based on lectio divina, divine reading. The process, as described by peace is to Reading/Listening to Scripture (listening for phrases or words that jump out at the reader), Meditating (considering what these words/phrases are and the connection to one's life), Praying (...through these phrases), and Contemplation (resting and listening to God in these topics in silence).
The book goes through a number of texts, and allows both groups and individuals to reflect upon them. It gives some background to the Scriptures, and allows for discussion questions. There are some thoughtful questions in each of the sessions, to allow the reader to think about the passages and the meaning (and application) more. There are also essays on Lectio divina and upon each step.
It pretty good book for some small groups and individuals, if your small group is fairly biblically sound and mature as Christians. The danger of being overly subjective is present, and reading one's own story or one's own prejudices into the text (eisegesis) is a possibility. Nonetheless, this can be a thoughtful way to read Scripture differently than the traditional Bible study guides.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
The author, Richard Peace is a "professor of evangelism and spiritual formation at Fuller Theological Seminary." It is not suprising, therefore, that at times he is hesitant to trust the method of lectio divina - a particularly ancient and monastic practice. This hesitancy is reflected in two ways: first, his insistence that the subjective experience of lectio divina be subjected to the discernment of the group and second, that a more Protestant "objective" study of the text precede the lectio divina. It is worth noting that for mediatio he suggests the imaginative approach most frequently associated with the Ignatian exercises. The result is a small group "lectio divina" which may work well as an introduction to lectio divina for Evangelical small study groups, but is questionable as a general introduction.
My concerns begin with the directedness of the "objective" study - directed at times by multiple choice questions and at other times by mingling of personal application with the "objective" study. My concerns continue with assumptions as to what the person praying the Scripture will hear. After listening to the Scripture and noting what word/phrase catches one's attention the questions are: "How is my life touched by this word?" "Am I being invited to respond?" ending with prayer for the individual to your right in response to the invitation they noted.
The result is that the focus becomes too oriented toward the human rather than the divine. And, it appears to me as a Catholic, that the author fails to trust in God's Scripture as a living communication between the lover (God) and the beloved (human) in the here and now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BeckyG on July 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great way to open your heart and study the Bible. The method helps slow you down and listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Edmunds on October 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
Richard Peace's series on Spiritual formation (Journaling, Bible Reading, Autobiography, Prayer) is wonderful for the individual or in a group setting. His descriptions of the goals of each book and the chapters within are clear and well thought out. A must for those in ministry.
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