Whole Life Whole Bible

50 readings on living in the light of scripture

Antony Billington, Margaret Killingray, Helen Parry

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Provides wonderful insights into the overarching story of the Bible and helps us consider how to live on the foundation of God's word.
Mark Meynell, Senior Associate Minister, All Souls, Langham Place, London


Where we spend most of our time - at home, at work, in the neighbourhood - matters to God and to his mission in and for the world. Far from restricting our faith to the 'personal' sphere, disengaged from everyday living, Scripture encourages us to take the Lord of life into the whole of life.

Whole Life Whole Bible is written from the conviction that God's word illuminates every part of existence, enabling us to see differently and live differently - from Monday to Sunday, in public as well as in private. A walk through the unfolding story of the Bible in 50 readings and reflections shows how our lives are bound up with, and shaped by, God's plan to restore a broken universe. That big story forms our minds, fuels our imaginations and fashions our daily life and we live in God's world, in the light of God's word, wherever we are.

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Provides wonderful insights into the overarching story of the Bible and helps us consider how to live on the foundation of God's word.
Mark Meynell, Senior Associate Minister, All Souls, Langham Place, London

Packs a powerful theological punch and will stretch and inspire your faith. A must for every whole-life disciple and disciplemaker!
Rachel Gardner, Director, Romance Academy

People can get lost in the Bible's structure - here are some exciting clues for joined-up Bible reading.
Greg Haslam, Pastor, Westminster Chapel, London

Author info

Antony Billington, Margaret Killingray and Helen Parry work at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, which seeks to equip Christians and churches for the whole-life discipleship in today's world.


From London School of Theology Insight Magazine Vol 2 Issue 2

How do you create a good meal from the whole Bible in 50 readings? You take 7 parts of Genesis, 5 of Matthew, stir in sections from another 14 OT and 14 NT books and serve up with useful comments. Then you add the garnish of well thought out questions, which get the reader to apply the chosen passage to everyday life. While this tasty selection whets the palate of the individual reader, I think the book has even greater appeal for small group discussion.

Take this question from reading 39 on the Day of Pentecost - 'If Acts 2 suggests that there is a prophethood of all believers then how should this encourage and challenge us?' There is a much richer and more satisfying meal when sharing collective wisdom about the way prophecy might work in church and society than simply trying to digest alone. Some of the tougher parts of the Bible have been put to one side as a little indigestible. A question arising from the call of Jeremiah in reading 20 asks to what extent are Christians called to challenge political rulers when God's laws are flouted? But reading 11 from Exodus is rather impressionistic in its comments on the law, so answering the question may need more detailed help from another source. Real enjoyment and enrichment is to be had from using this book.

My favourite teasing question among many comes from reading 42 on the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. 'Since the fruit of the Spirit appear to some to be more feminine than masculine virtues, where are courage, decisiveness, strength and discipline?' Now there's a brilliant small group discussion starter!

Reviewed by Mark Beaumont - Senior Lecturer in Islam and Mission, London School of Theology, and a council member of Arab World Ministries UK
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From Evangelicals Now - August 2012

The book consists of 50 short readings going through the unfolding story of the Bible with the aim of helping the reader to live in the light of God's word from Monday to Sunday, bringing biblical truths to bear on every aspect of life.

There are questions at the end of each reading, typically two or three pages long, to help us consider what that might look like in practice in our lives and culture. Written with great warmth and clarity and without getting bogged down in too much detail, many helpful insights are packed into each short reading.

The authors' enthusiasm and passion for God's word clearly comes across, as does their conviction that when we see the sweep of Scripture through the gospel of Jesus it will have a huge impact on our whole lives. This is a great book for helping new Christians know how to read the Bible, get a handle on the big picture and see how it all fits together. It is also great for those who have been Christians much longer and who want to think seriously about how to live in the light of God's word. This is an excellent book which I have found hugely encouraging and inspiring. Since reading it, I have given several copies away as presents!

Reviewed by Andrea Trevenna, Associate for Women's Ministry at St. Nicholas Church, Sevenoaks, Kent

From Christianity Magazine - July 2012

This book, according to its foreword, is different. A risky assertion, but I tried to be open-minded. The 50 readings, which began life as a series of emails sent by the LICC, work through the Bible story from start to finish.

It is well-written, aimed at established Christians, and examines how we can play our part in God's unfolding drama and allow him to work in all parts of our lives. For me its real strength lies in the questions for reflection: How do we keep our Christian identity in the workplace? Why do we struggle to deal with disappointment in church life?

I'm not sure how different it is. But as a thought-provoking read that challenges ordinary Christians to live extraordinary lives, it's very good.

From The Good Bookstall - May 2012

I liked that this is such a little hand sized gem. The slimline size is needed, particularly in an era where people are reading from their phones and on their Kindles on the tube. I could just slip it into my handbag and read it easily when on a packed underground, but don't let the size fool you into thinking that this thought-provoking, almost self-help book is easy, or quick to browse!

When I first started reading, it struck me that this book was written by somebody who really seemed to know their subject - and indeed, the author, Anthony Billington, is in fact Head of Theology for the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity. I loved that the writing was so theological, and so very sound. In fact, what really struck me was the sheer competence with which the author explored the Bible, from Genesis through to Revelation.

At the end of every chapter, there are carefully phrased questions under the heading 'for further reflection and action', which help take the reader through the relevant chapter. These questions also help the reader to relate the Biblical reading to the world around them, and they struck me as being potentially extremely valuable for Bible studies and church groups.

This serious little book encourages the reader on their Christian walk with various uplifting Bible verses; and on this point I will add that the book is aimed to pack serious punches. While perhaps Whole Life, Whole Bible is not for somebody looking specifically for a light-and-fluffy concoction, I think that any Christian will surely be more richly satisfied by taking a leaf out of this author's wise words.

Reviewed by Alice Collins

Reviewed by Dr Bex Lewis, St John's College, University of Durham

Survey after survey in recent years - carried out with people in churches, leaders and non-leaders, as well as non-church people - has confirmed that there is an increasing lack of biblical literacy in the church, not only in society more generally. The surveys reveal that the vast majority of people in churches feel positive about the Bible and consider it to be a revelation from God, but fewer and fewer, it seems (even church leaders), are reading it for themselves. And when we do manage to read it, the surveys suggest, we're not always sure what to do with it. (pp25-26)

The London Institute of Christianity (LICC), set up by John Stott, seeks to encourage all Christians to be whole-life, whole-Bible disciples, breaking down the sacred-secular divide. This book, emerging from LICC's weekly 'Word for the Week' emails, which have reached up to 10,000 people a week since 2001, encourages us to look at the whole Bible to get the bigger picture, the overarching narrative, rather than cherrypicking. We need the Bible to touch and transform our whole lives, affecting the world in which we live. Many seek quick answers to difficult issues, such as suffering, gender, etc. But those questions are better addressed, and more securely answered, when we have a larger framework in place

Having attended the transformative LICC Toolbox course, and having taken three years to read the Bible cover to cover, it's helpful to have a quicker overview. I was reading this section on a plane to Berlin as the map showed that we were flying over Bremen. Many history lessons means that bombing has shaped my thinking about that as a destination. As the plane came in to land over Berlin, I got an overview of the places that I was going to visit up close shortly, and this helped created my 'mental map of the destination', before I became absorbed in 'living' there. This book is designed to offer a mental map to the whole story of the Bible. How do we then ensure that we are partakers, and not spectators?

This book is designed for those who are already engaged in Bible reading, rather than those who have never picked up a Bible before, and encourages readers to continue afterwards to read other texts, hold up the author's interpretation up to challenge, and recognises that each individual will read something different into 'the story'. Reading alone is "vital" but as they say:

Reading with others helps to prevent privatized readings of the Bible and corrects some of the biases that we may bring to certain passages or topics. (p19)

As someone who is a bit of a butterfly brain, the book works for me, and it's designed to be read by all personality types - whether you like to study the maps before you jump in, or like to jump in at the deep end - the book works. It's not about a tick box exercise, but about allowing the Word of God to "reorder your existence", so take your time reading the book.

As a Media Studies Lecturer I'm always encouraging my students to understand that newspapers, films, etc. give us a lens through which we see the world, rather than objective fact. The Bible can give us a different worldview - through which we see God, the world and ourselves more clearly. As the Bible gets inside us, our thinking is transformed, and we begin to see things the way God sees them. Often we are encouraged to think that we must always read huge sections (I really struggled with the pressure to read the Bible in a year), but this book offers a series or short (and some longer) readings with which we can engage at our own pace: like a toffee that can be swallowed whole, or chewed over in a leisurely fashion.

The book is written by three well-respected theologians with long term engagement with the LICC: Antony Billington, Margaret Killingray and Helen Parry, with a guest post by Mark Coffey, who I knew in my Manchester days. It outlines the shape of the Bible in six words: Creation, Corruption, Covenant, Christ, Church, Consummation. They encourage us to consider where you read the Bible, that reading it in public spaces 'normalises' the Bible - allowing you to make connections with how it works in the everyday, not just with us, but with the people around us. They don't specifically mention digital spaces, but I like to think that those are included!

I read the book fairly fast, but would like to go back through, as suggested, and read a piece a week. The exercises offered in the text are a mix of further Bible readings, and practical thinking/applications. As you'd expect, the thoughts and reflections engage us in the everyday (western) world in which we live. Try it - it could transform your life!

Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857460172
  • Published: 20 January 2012
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 162
Bible Reflections for Older People
Bible Reflections for Older People