I have been challenged recently to think long and hard about the way that we engage and encounter Scripture. Part of the realization that I have come to is that more often than not the way we have encouraged people to engage God's Word is strange. We have encouraged and sometimes even equipped and expected people to engage the Bible alone. Let me explain why I think this is strange.
The New Testament books were written to individuals, but ultimately also to communities. Philemon was written to Philemon and the church that met in his home. The Gospels were written for large segments of people to come to understand who Jesus was and the implications of his life, death, and resurrection for everyone. The letters of Paul to the churches in Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus and others were all communal. So why is it that the "default" way of reading Scripture in the West has been on an individual level?
Is it possible that in a community of people who are committed to living life God's way that the Bible could be read, understood, and properly interpreted without the input of experts, scholars, preachers, etc.?