The Year of Biblical Literacy is a collaborative project between Reality San Francisco and Bridgetown Church in Portland, in partnership with The Bible Project and Read Scripture. The project launched in 2016 as a way to help churches, small groups, and individuals move through the story of God starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation.
Our collective experience of the year included great victories, difficult challenges, and everything in between.
Why a Year of Biblical Literacy?
Biblical literacy rates have dropped over the years even though general literacy rates have risen. If we do not read the Bible, then we will not know it. And if we do not know the Bible, we cannot know and follow God in his Way that is revealed in it. The Year of Biblical Literacy (YOBL) is an endeavor dedicated to immersing ourselves in scripture so that we understand and experience the presence, character, and way of Jesus.
How the Year is Structured
YOBL was designed to be experienced in: personal, communal, worshipful, and educational. The layers are meant to work together, providing a more complete context and clarity throughout the year.
The personal layer is about learning the Scriptures through a daily commitment to opening your heart and mind to God through the spiritual discipline of Bible reading. The main tools for the personal layer are Read Scripture Videos and the Read Scripture Reading Plan.
The communal layer is about experiencing Scripture together in weekly Community Group (or small groups). The main tools for the communal layer are the Small Group Material and the Community Guide Resources in the resource tab.
The worshipful layer is about experiencing God in Scripture and worship on a Sunday. The main tools for the worshipful layer are the sermon series.
The educational layer is about expounding upon key themes in the Bible to learn or re-learn the context of the Bible. The main tools for the educational layer are the lectures and recommended books.
All of these resources are available via the Explore button in the upper right of this website.
YOBL as a Spiritual Practice
The discipline of reading scripture daily is a worthy endeavor. However, it’s important to recognize that the pace and volume of reading may be intense for some. For all who participate in YOBL, we encourage you to consider how to adapt the pace and volume to your unique context while also challenging yourself with this Bible-reading practice.
Beyond a Bible Study
For small groups, the YOBL material attempts to balance head, heart, and hands. Intellectually stimulating questions are matched with both emotional reflection and inquiries into actionable steps for a proactive faith. You can expect to have discussions that make you think, be vulnerable, and practically apply what you have learned and experienced throughout the year.
A Note About Our Context
Although we worked in collaboration with The Bible Project to create this plan, our material (e.g., Sunday sermons, small group material, lecture topics) was written by Reality San Francisco staff for our particular congregation—a metropolitan, tech-savvy, mostly young adult community in the Bay Area. Perhaps your context is quite different. If there are ways you would like to adapt the material to fit your group, we encourage you to do so. We simply offer the resources on this site as tools for your discerning use and implementation.