An Introduction to Taste and See
It’s free, it’s easy access, and it’s your invitation!
Scripture Union Canada have partnered with The Canadian Bible Society to produce Taste and See: An Invitation to the Bible. This is a free ebook which is designed to engage people with the Bible, especially those that have never read or connected with God’s word before.
Taste and See is written in plain language that is easy to understand, and is structured to help readers get an idea of the overarching story and themes of the Bible. It makes the Bible accessible to anyone who has not read it before, by directing the reader to short sections of scripture, 5 from the Old Testament and 7 from the New Testament. Each chapter highlights a key theme in the Bible, then asks the reader questions, provoking them to consider what they’ve read and perhaps begin their own spiritual journey.
I spoke to Dr. Lawson Murray, president of Scripture Union Canada and editor of Taste and See about the brand new ebook.
Scripture Union Canada were inspired to start the project for a number of reasons. For years they had been concerned about the ongoing disconnect between Canadians and the Bible. Alongside that, Dr. Lawson Murray highlighted that Scripture Union’s work has been “geared almost exclusively to a Christian audience. We have this amazing book, God’s word to us, and we were thinking, ‘How do we share this? How do we invite people who aren’t Christians to get involved in this?’”
This led to an investigation into why people don’t engage with the Bible in the first place. Dr. Murray articulated that the results of research showed that people fall into 3 main categories:
1. People are too busy
“This answer had the highest amount of responses. It’s the tyranny of the urgent.” he revealed.
“Many are simply not interested,” shares Dr. Murray, “They see no value. For many Canadians it’s just one of the books out there, but for us as Christians we see that it’s the Book of books and God’s word to us.
3. Hard to understand
This is why Taste and See unpacks the main themes of the Bible, including God’s love, the creation story, the life of Christ, and a question many people have: ‘Why is there suffering?’
Dr. Lawson Murray further explained statistics that in the USA only 3% of church goers aged 20-40 have a Biblical worldview. He said, “I’m guessing this is similar for us in Canada. I am deeply concerned about this because what it means is that most younger Christians are not living life and making decisions based on the word of God.
“... The primary discipline that informs our spiritual health and growth is Bible reading and reflection. So for the health of the local church and the health of us as individuals, the Bible is absolutely essential. It informs us in everything that we do as God’s people.”
So how do you create a resource that will attract people to engage with the Bible, that will reach out to them and be easily accessible? “We obviously wanted to do it in a way that we didn’t come with pre-suppositions of any understanding of the Bible,” stated Murray, “We were careful not to use ‘christianese’, and to use an approach that invites interaction and dialogue through questions. That was the biggest challenge in editing because in our Christian thinking and our Christian world we get so used to all manner of terminology.”
But surely those that are already negative about the Word of God won’t want to have anything to do with Taste and See? Murray shared, “While I’m used to the negativism about the Bible, and I’m aware that it’s part of the Canadian cultural landscape, that wasn’t in our thinking when producing the book. What we were thinking more was this is God’s story, and He invites anybody and everybody to have an encounter with Him through the story. People must make up their own mind whether they want to do that or not. As Christians we can offer an invitation, and that’s why we named the book ‘an invitation to read the Bible’.”
The Canadian Bible Society came up with ideas on how to reach the people that haven’t read the Bible, the “person who is sitting in Starbucks or Tim Hortons” as Murray described.
Firstly, they planned for it to be an ebook so that it is easily accessible. Secondly, they decided to make Taste and See free. Dr. Murray highlighted, “If we want to give this to people who aren’t interested in the Bible we certainly can’t charge for it! So that’s why we’ve asked for donation money to cover the publication of it.”
The third aspect is promotion through social media. The Canadian Bible Society and Scripture Union Canada want to invite you to invite your friends to read the Bible! You can simply share the book through whatever social media you use, and say, “Why don’t you check this out?”
Taste and See was released in November 2012 and there have been 8,000 downloads already. Dr. Murray also revealed that a portuguese translation has just been completed, and will be followed by french and spanish translations.
You can download Taste and See in a number of formats here. Why not email it to a friend or share it with others on facebook? Spread the word about this amazing invitation to the Word of God.