According to the American Bible Society’s most recent “State of the Bible” report, the number of people disengaged with the Bible has seen a sharp increase. This continues the discouraging trend of people in America moving away from reading their Bibles. Why are people turning away from the Bible? How do we change this? What can bring people back to God’s Word? It’s not easy to find answers to these questions. But we are seeing hope.
Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience is helping people to reengage with Bible reading. By removing distractions like chapter and verse numbers, the Bible is put back into its narrative form. Readers can experience the Bible like the original audiences would have experienced it—as a collection of letters, poems, stories, and more that tell God’s beautiful story of love for the world he created.
Though the Bible engagement numbers can seem daunting, the individual stories of people reading Immerse and growing as communities of believers brings a spark of hope. A spark that can quickly spread as God transforms individuals and communities who are finding their place in God’s story.
Read Their Stories:
“I didn’t grow up in a church home. As a result, I’d never really had the time or energy to read the Bible on my own. It was very intimidating. What Immerse did for me was to make it accessible in so many ways. Short readings that were understandable stories. Any time I’ve been exposed to the Bible, it seems that it’s all these random verses that made sense in small bits, but it was hard to understand why. I’d heard names of people in the Bible but didn’t understand their part in God’s plan. Immerse was in modern language that literally immersed me in the stories of the Bible, which gave me a new perspective on all the people that I’ve learned about. Each week during our study, we would review the four questions included with the readings. I also was able to get to really know the women that I was studying with. I felt as if we were discipling each other, which I feel was Jesus’ intent. I would highly recommend this style of reading to anyone who wants to give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!”
“I worked through a few of the books with groups of guys at church. Six of us went through Messiah, and even though we all had read the NT before, using Immerse made it fresh. One guy remarked, ‘It’s like reading a play.’ We all enjoyed it so much and wanted to bring other guys in. So we split our group into three groups and invited other men to be a part of it as we went through more Immerse studies. Even reading the laws (in Beginnings) was exciting—way more than it had ever been for us!”
“My church has made it a yearly commitment to read one of the Immerse books in the fall. The first year we went through Messiah, and I was instantly hooked. I theoretically knew of the Bible as a story, but I had never experienced it in that way. Suddenly, people like Peter, John, and Paul all came to life for me. I started seeing them as fully fleshed-out people that grew and changed as the story progressed. This new insight was amazing, but it pales in comparison to what happened next. I was working at my church office, and I overheard two of our members talking. Normally I wouldn’t have even noticed, really, but their conversation caught my attention because I realized they were talking about that week’s Immerse reading, and just like me, they were starting to understand Paul as a more full person. All three of us, separately, sat down to read the Bible in a new way, and all three of us had encountered people like us in the story. That encounter built us up; we now understood our biblical heroes as humans, not unattainable symbols. More importantly, it also brought us together because we experienced this revelation as a community.”
“I would have called myself a Christian at any point in my life, but it wasn’t my faith, it was my parents’ faith. In sixth grade, I decided to make my faith my own. Acting on this, I thought it was time to read the entire Bible, but I didn’t know how to begin. In the past, I set out to read Matthew, but I couldn’t even finish that. Reading the Bible seemed unachievable. Then I found Immerse. The same stories are just formatted a little differently. You feel as if you are reading a novel. You can look at the bigger picture and not just the individual stories. Without the chapters and verses as distractions, I made it through the Bible in just over a year. Fast forward to now, I am in tenth grade. I am reading the New Testament again. I am reading with Immerse and annotating. Reading your Bible directly or reading with Immerse will provide the same information, but Immerse provides an easy way to look at the big picture and see the Bible as the unfolding story in which we all fit.”
*Photos are not of the people who shared their story