The READING BETWEEN THE LINES Method
READING BETWEEN THE LINES (formerly BibleWorkbench) is not an exegetical or doctrinal approach to the Bible, it is not a discussion group, nor is it a support group or therapeutic session. The open-ended questions are designed to enable each person in the circle to respond to the story in the text as spontaneously as possible from as deep a place within as they are able. Leaders encourage participants to engage the scripture rather than each other and to experience the story as it is happening in the text, in the world around them, and in their inner lives.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES is designed for flexible use by individuals and groups. Groups will vary in size but tend to work best when between 6 and 15 participants. Designed originally for Sunday morning adult education programs, sessions are designed for 50 to 90 minutes. Most groups have a leadership team of two or three people who share in the responsibility for presenting the material. Some groups encourage all members to take turns week by week in the leadership. Groups meet in churches, in workplaces, or in homes, as part of a congregational program or independently.
Regardless of the setting, READING BETWEEN THE LINES sessions remember these key guidelines:
"I" statements are encouraged. The goal is to explore how the text crosses your experience. This is not to discount tradition and the scholars, but to recall that it is what the text evokes in you is of primary importance.
The goal is not consensus, agreement, or a "right" answer. We focus on the text, not on debating each other; our differences may add to the richness of the experience.
You do not have to explain, justify, or defend anything you say. People need to feel safe, and free to explore where the text may take them.
Silence is part of the process. In allowing space between responses there is a chance to ponder more deeply what others (or even you yourself) have said. It also reminds us that BibleWorkbench is not a discussion group.
You can change your mind as often as you like. Sometimes we only discover what we think after we have said it.
Make an honest effort to try the non-verbal exercises. Art, movement, or mime may be unfamiliar or even uncomfortable, but you may be surprised at what you discover if you try.
What's said in the group stays in the group. People sometimes share at a deep level, and they need to know they can do so safely.
Feel free to contact The Educational Center and request assistance if you get stuck or bogged down. Download a copy of our Leader Guide: click here