For the last year my blog has been on pause as life has been incredibly busy. I (deep breath): started a new job, got engaged, planned a wedding with my fiancée, got married; we looked for a house, bought a house, moved, and got covid. With all the changes there wasn’t much time and energy left over for writing, and my website is also badly in need of updating.
My wife Kate recently (well, last November – as I say, it’s been a busy few months) had her first Bible study guide published, and this exciting new endeavour is the subject of this post. The book is called “Dining with Jesus”. Below are the front and back covers, showing what the book looks like and the blurb description on the back:
The book is published under the Circle imprint by John Hunt Publishing, and is just under 140 pages including the bibliography. Kate was lucky enough to get two commendations. The first, by Dr. Andrew Ollerton, is shown on the back cover above. The second – and more exotic for someone living in the north of England – is from the (Anglican) Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand.
On the subject of geography…
Geography is not my strongest suit and, even though I know that Dunedin is in New Zealand, I keep getting it mixed up in my head with Durban, which is also exotic but in South Africa.
While we’re on this subject, I’ll share a geography fact that I learnt while dating Kate. If you’re from the South of England pay attention – this will be informative, but may shock you.
- Are you sitting comfortably?
- Are you ready?
- You’re sure you are ready?
- You may want to pad your surroundings with cushions, and have a strong cup of tea on standby.
The revelation is this:
Hadrian’s Wall is NOT the boundary between England and Scotland.
Hello? …. Ah, you’re regaining consciousness. Good. Have a sip of tea.
Well, if you’re good at geography (or just from the north) then I guess you knew that already. But I, a South-coast Southerner, didn’t. Cue my incredulity and Kate’s amusement.
It turns out that the boundary between England and Scotland doesn’t even run directly from West to East. It runs more-or-less directly Northeast from Carlisle (England) and Gretna Green (Scotland) on the West Coast to Berwick-Upon-Tweed (England) and Eyemouth (Scotland) on the East Coast.
Aside over, back to the book…
As I was saying before I distracted myself and you with that aside, Kate was lucky enough to get a commendation from the Bishop of Dunedin:
In a world of change and innovation, mealtimes remain not only a staple of life, but an effective resource for community and relationship building as well as being times of refreshment and joy: eating and drinking can be very pleasurable! In taking the theme of Dining with Jesus, Kate has looked at how those who ate and drank in the gospels had their lives changed: both by the personal encounter with Jesus, and as part of the way Jesus taught in parable story. This study guide gives an informative and clear picture of the historical events but goes much further: Dining with Jesus is as much for us today as it is a reminder of words and events 2000 years ago. Kate has written a practical and accessible guide that enables us to look at our own lives in the light of Jesus Christ – and with a subject matter most of us can relate to, we are challenged to see our lives are changed by his loving, joyful presence. The Gospel has to be true to itself – Good News, and this guide allows us to discover for ourselves and share with others more of how God’s love is made real by Jesus Christ. I commend this Study Guide to small groups and individuals who are looking to deepen their understanding of the Christian faith, and who are willing to take the challenge of meeting with Jesus over a shared meal together.Bishop of Dunedin (New Zealand), Steven Benford
As this is a blog post, I have more page space to describe what the book is about than the back cover, so here is a little more information. After an introduction, the book has 7 main chapters, each of which is centred around one of the meals at which Jesus was present:
- Chapter 1: Come and Dine: Jesus Dines with Matthew and Zacchaeus
- Chapter 2: Satisfying Our Hunger: Jesus Feeds the 5000
- Chapter 3: Growing in Faith: Jesus Feeds the 4000
- Chapter 4: Party Invitations: The Parable of the Wedding Feast and the Parable of the Great Banquet
- Chapter 5: Set Apart: The Anointings of Jesus
- Chapter 6: God’s Kingdom Vision: Jesus and the Last Supper
- Chapter 7: The Road Ahead: Post-Resurrection Dining
The format of the chapters follows a traditional Bible-study pattern. Chapters open with introductory thoughts, an ice breaker question, and a small list of short passages to read. There are then discussion questions on the passages, and finally personal application questions.
Availability and Cost
If “Dining With Jesus” sounds like something you would be interested in, or would like to use with your housegroup, it is sold in a lot of places Christian books are available such as:
- Amazon: link (available as a paperback or on Kindle)
- Waterstones: link
- Eden: link
- The Telgraph books: link
- And many more!
The paperback version retails at £12.99 (UK), and the Kindle version is £6.99 (UK).
Hopefully I will get back to writing blog posts now things have become a bit calmer.
(P.S. If you decide to give Dining with Jesus a read, could you give a rating online afterwards, e.g. on Amazon? Even a short out-of-5-stars rating is really helpful for authors who aren’t household names!)