Intro to Community Bible Reading (with links to download the app)

What is CBR?

About two years ago we introduced a Bible reading plan to our entire New City body, Community Bible Reading (CBR).  We hoped to encourage more people to read the Bible daily.  Here’s how it generally works for us:

Our Missional Community leaders introduced the idea to everyone in their MC.  Those participating in the Community Bible Reading plan were encouraged to download the CBR app to their phone.  We chose to do the two chapter daily reading.  Each day the CBR app gives everyone the same two chapters to read, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.  After reading each day, participants are encouraged to share through group messaging something that stood out to them from what they read, something God seemed to be teaching them or maybe something that they found challenging or encouraging.  Most of our groups use the GroupMe app for messaging.

The results have been great.  There are more people reading the Bible regularly than before we started and there is a lot of encouragement in seeing what God is teaching others in our groups.  There have also been questions and for some, a little uncertainty on the best way to approach Community Bible Reading at New City.  So Greg Wood and Keith Watson, two of our Elders will share their approach.

From Greg:

There are good things going on in the church with people getting into the Community Bible Reading (CBR)!  Throughout the week people are sharing their thoughts with their Missional Community (MC) from their time in God’s Word.  During MC gatherings there are conversations that encourage people to join in the reading. And we are reading what each other post at various times during the day, giving us opportunities to be reminded of what we had read earlier and think upon our glorious Savior.  This is a wonderful grace that the Lord has provided us:  to be enjoying and sharing His word together.

At the same time, several people have mentioned to me that they struggle with the CBR, and have asked me how I use it during my alone time with God.  Others haven’t started reading the CBR, and I would love for you to have the joy of fellowshipping with God through His Word. 

I too struggled with it at first as I had already established a routine in the Psalms each morning, but one that did not include the community aspect this one has.  And the CBR was too much material for to read slowly and carefully, so I have had to adapt it down to just one chapter.

So, here is the way I use the CBR to enjoy God each morning.  It’s only one example, but I hope you may find one or two ideas that you can implement in your own devotionals.

Preparation for Approaching the Lord

I read in the same place every morning, and get there about 30 mins. before the kids wake up.  I get my cup of coffee and settle onto the couch in our sunroom.

I don’t use my phone/tablet for the reading and meditation because of the distractions those bring, plus the audio in the app keeps me from reading slow enough to meditate on what is being said.  I use my Giant Print ESV which has no study notes – I’m not aiming at study really, but instead I aim at making my heart glad in the Lord.

I approach the whole thing as a time of prayer.  My goal is to have communion with God first.  Yes, community with my MC and others is a secondary goal, but I starve spiritually if that becomes primary. 

Praying the Scripture

First, I briefly ask my Heavenly Father to fellowship with me and grant me understanding of the text.  I write this prayer our in my journal, expressing my need for Him.

Next I read the Scripture.  I just read one chapter, usually the NT chapter or Psalm for the day, because that one chapter will provide all I need for roughly 45 minutes of meditation and prayer. As I read carefully, following the flow of thought within its context, usually something will stand out… perhaps something that connects with an earlier reading and helps me see God’s magnificent authorship. Or, it may be something that exposes my sin, or something about God that is awesome, etc.  If nothing is jumping out, I’ll try asking the 4 questions: Who is God? What has He done? Who am I? What should I do in light of this truth? I am really just trying to shake some fruit down from this tree as one hungry for the Lord’s supply.  I’ll use whatever I can to get what I know must be there that will lead to seeing God’s glory and greatness, or be glad in the Lord’s grace or goodness. 

Once I have the verse or paragraph that stands out to me I begin to write out my prayer.  Writing the prayer aids in keeping my mind from wandering off to the day ahead.  I usually pray through the acrostic ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

·       Adoration – What is the showing me about who God is?

·       Confession – How have I fallen short of this glory?

·       Thanksgiving – What has God done that I can thank Him for?

·       Supplication – How do I need to ask for more grace to respond appropriately to the text?

Community Sharing

Lastly, I try to figure out how to say something brief to the MC, DNA group, and other elders.  I’m not looking to say something very profound, just what I enjoyed about the Lord through this passage we all read. This can be tough because there is so much to choose from.  Sometimes I’ll summarize my prayer, and other times just summarize what has stood out to me.

I hope you find one or two things to use in your pursuit of joy in Christ.  Grace and peace to you through God’s Word New City!

From Keith:

Preparation for My Time With CBR

I am NOT a morning person. Not. I do, however recognize my need to start the day off with Bible reading as opposed to a million thoughts about all that I need to do in a day.  So I set my alarm a few minutes earlier than I might otherwise.  

After the alarm, I head straight for the coffee!

After a little morning news and a cup of coffee I am ready for another cup of coffee.  I’m not kidding.

After coffee and some news in the morning quiet, I usually get a shower and dressed for the work day.  Now my mind is ready to think.

As I sit down for a little breakfast I open the CBR app on my phone and begin reading just as it is laid out – the Old Testament passage and then the New Testament passage.  Occasionally there are days that my mind may wonder or when it seems that nothing really jumps out to me.  If I have time I will re-read the passages.  If not, I just don’t share anything with my group(s) that day.  That is a rare day.


Almost always there is something God encourages me with or convicts me of from His Word. Before cleaning up from breakfast, I share that encouragement or conviction with my group(s).  Sometimes I copy and paste the verses and nothing more. Sometimes a type out a sentence or two about my encouragement or conviction.

I probably spend 10 to 20 minutes total with my reading and posting, but it is incredible how much good I receive from that time.  Jesus promised that he would send the Holy Spirit who would teach us, lead us and convict us of sin and righteousness.  He does that in many ways, but I believe primarily he does that through the Word of God. 

My encouragement?

Jump in and read believing that He will teach you, lead you and bring you conviction of sin and righteousness as you read His Word!  He is faithful and true.

Ready to get started? Download the CBR app: iOS & Android