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Girls studying the Abide Bible

Hunger for Scripture Engagement Grows at Taylor

  • By: Ansley Kary
  • Published:
girls studying the Abide Bible

Taylor University is designed to give all students a holistic liberal arts education with a strong Biblical foundation through its core classes. But in recent years, a fresh energy towards scripture engagement has been making inroads in the way the Bible is viewed, known, and taught at Taylor. 

Scripture engagement differs from studying the Bible. It’s the process of meditating on God’s word daily and can be done through a myriad of different engagement techniques. The heart of scripture engagement is spiritual transformation through meeting, knowing, and ultimately being changed by Christ through His Word.

Scripture Engagement and the Abide Bible

Scripture engagement isn’t a new concept at Taylor, thanks to the presence of the Center for Scripture Engagement. Under the direction of Dr. Phil Collins, Department Chair and Professor of Christian Ministries, the Center partnered with Thomas Nelson Bibles in 2020 to produce the Abide Bible, a Bible geared towards walking people through the process of scripture engagement. 

“As I look over my life, there have been so many good things that have helped me to grow spiritually, but nothing touches my relationship with Christ as deeply as reflecting on Scripture and being in God's Word,” Collins said. “It's impacted my life as well as so many other people's lives.”

The Abide Bible was a collaborative effort from 33 different Taylor connections that included professors, alumni, and students. It leads readers through five techniques to deepen their understanding and experience of Scripture, including journaling, praying, contemplating, picturing, and connecting with works of art that illustrate a story or passage. Thanks to two donors, Taylor has gifted every student and employee a customized copy of the Abide Bible since 2020 and will continue to do so through 2025. 

The Abide Initiative and Bible Study

Right now, the Center for Scripture Engagement is partnering with HarperCollins Publishing (which includes Thomas Nelson Bibles and BibleGateway) and the American Bible Society to conduct a two-year pilot study to determine whether all organizations can collaboratively promote scripture engagement. The projected goal, called the Abide Initiative, is to reach over 100,000 million people using scripture engagement in the span of 10 years.

As a part of the Abide Initiative, HarperCollins asked renowned author and pastor Randy Frazze, Collins, and author and Taylor alumnus J.R Briggs ‘01 to write an Abide Bible study that teaches others how to practice scripture engagement whether they own the Abide Bible or not.

Thanks to a donor, this fall, Taylor students will have the opportunity to dive into the Abide Bible Study. Taylor’s Student Development team is working with the Center for Scripture Engagement to reach out to every small group on campus and provide them with the Abide Bible course pack starting next fall. 

The entire study is based around the idea of engaging scripture in a group.

“All of the research evidence says that what we do with scripture together, it impacts our lives more than what we do with scripture by ourselves,” Collins said. 

Student Involvement 

Over the six-week study, students will learn to implement practices of scripture engagement. Each Abide Bible study includes a leader's guide, video for each session, along with five personal practices to do throughout the week. The goal of this program at Taylor is to gather data from the participants on campus concerning their life prior to and after the Bible study, all in order to gauge its overall effectiveness. 

This is not the first time that Taylor students have played a pivotal part in the Center’s work with scripture engagement. In the past, students have been involved with research, writing articles to be published on BibleGateway, as well as daily devotionals centering around a specific engagement technique.

Keegan Matheson ‘24 is one of the students who got the opportunity to work alongside Collins to create a daily devotional. 

“Throughout this process, I was not only providing a way for other believers to learn how to engage Scripture, but I was teaching myself how to engage Scripture,” Matheson said. “This opportunity was one that I initially accepted because it was an opportunity to bless others in this world, but in hindsight it blessed me more than I ever expected.”

The Future of Scriptural Engagement at Taylor

This summer, Scripture Engagement will be implemented into Taylor’s pre-college Summer Institute and Academic Summer Camps for high school students. Collins himself will lead sessions on a different scripture engagement methods each night to immerse the students in the practice. 

As our understanding of scripture engagement continues to grow, Taylor University recognizes its unique position and plans to further integrate it at the university's core in exciting projects to come.

Study Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries & Philosophy at Taylor

Curious about going deeper? Taylor’s Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries, & Philosophy Department engages students in all aspects of their lives, academically, personally, and spiritually. Students are given countless opportunities to continue growth outside of the classroom including ministry with other organizations, cross-cultural ministry opportunities, Bible translation work, teaching in secondary schools or colleges, student development positions in higher education, and work in law, ethics, or public policy. Schedule your personalized campus visit today.