Year of Biblical Literacy


Our YOBL Plus evenings are an opportunity to dive deeper into some of the themes we have begun exploring through the Year of Biblical Literacy, and to start to answer some of the questions that may have been raised as we've read the Bible together.

Over the course of the year, we'll be covering a variety of different topics. Do join us as we go further into understanding the Word of God.

March 12

Is God a God of love or judgement? Does that change throughout the Bible?

The prophets, the messiah, and the gospel

May 14

What does the Bible say God wants to do among us?

The place of the church, the kingdom, and the work of the Holy Spirit

July 9

What is there after this life, and what can we expect between now and then?

End times, the intermediate state, and heaven

As we move rapidly through the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua and Judges, we will encounter the God who is forming a people. God's grace continues to be at the centre as each book addresses from different angles the question of how a broken sinful people can be in relationship with a perfect and holy God.

Wonderful as these accounts of the early history of the people Israel are, they leave us with questions which still resonate today: How can we cope with the pain and brokenness that sin causes in our world? Where is there hope when things keep on going wrong? In different ways each book points us forward to the work of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit. And we can pray with hope today: Come Lord Jesus!

The Year of Biblical Literacy moves now to the God who comes as we explore the incarnation in our evening services. As we cope with all the distractions of preparing for Christmas, we have a great opportunity to stop and think about what is at the heart of Christmas - God stepping into our world so that we can have life.

When we look at the truth that God took on human nature, being born as a baby, living as a man and suffering for us we are looking at the most profound miracle and the most profound mystery in the universe. It should lead us to worship!

Beautiful Saviour! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honour, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be thine.

The Year of Biblical Literacy turns now to the God who saves as we study the book of Exodus on Sunday mornings. The big move in this book is how God saves people from slavery and sets them free to worship him. Along the way we continue to learn more about who God is.

Exodus has been described as an overture to the rest of the Old Testament as we are introduced to a number of key themes. It's in Exodus that we first hear about redemption. The theme of sacrifice is explored in detail, along with the ideas of holiness, covenant and priesthood.

Although it's Moses who leads the people out of Egypt, Exodus is anticipating the work of the greater saviour Jesus who will save us from sin and set us free to worship God. It's a book of grace that reminds us that we are saved because God loves us, not because we are perfect.

The Year of Biblical Literacy turns now to the God who rescues as we look at the account of Joseph's life. There are times of great promise as well as times that seem utterly hopeless. After initial dreams of glory, Joseph is sold as a slave and then is imprisoned on false charges.

In each of the low times we read that God was with Joseph. He is never abandoned. Through the chapters we discover not only that God is keeping his promise to Abraham that he would have many descendants, but also that through Joseph, God will rescue many nations from famine.

The pattern of Joseph's life points us forward to God's greater act of rescue in Jesus. Joseph's life illustrates the great truth that out of what seems to us to be only despair and defeat, God can work a miracle of new life and fresh hope.

The Year of Biblical Literacy continues with the God who calls. God's promise to Abraham (that he would become a great nation, living in the promised land and bringing blessing to the whole world) sets the direction for the rest of Genesis and indeed the whole Bible story.

Immediately we are faced with a problem: Abraham has no children, so how can the promise be fulfilled? As the chapters of Abraham's life unfold we discover that through all the ups and downs of life God keeps his promise.

As we read these chapters of Genesis in the context of the whole Bible there are two vital questions to explore further. The first is to ask how the promise to Abraham looks forward to Jesus. The promise finds its fullest answer in Jesus and when we put our trust in Jesus we find that we are part of the promise being fulfilled. The second is to ask how Abraham is an example of faith to us. We are also people who have received a promise and are holding onto that promise in difficult times. Sometimes Abraham got it right and sometimes he failed badly. How will we do?

The Year of Biblical Literacy begins with the God who creates. The creation accounts in Genesis are reflected later in the Old Testament and then in the Gospels and letters of the New Testament. They bring us face to face with God who is eternal and all powerful and yet also knowable.

Not only do we find that God can be known, but we discover the life changing truth that God wants us to walk in relationship with him. By his love and grace he makes it possible.

Maybe Martin Luther was right when he put it like this: “There is nothing more beautiful, nothing more useful than Genesis. It is simple yet majestic, dignified yet unaffected, profound yet perfectly clear. Genesis makes a superb introduction to the Bible and puts everything into perspective.”

Key Resources

The Bible Project is a non-profit animation studio that produces short, animated videos to make the biblical story accessible to everyone. They have fantastic resources to help you understand key themes that run through the entire Bible, or to grasp the story of an individual book.

Head to their website or their YouTube page to watch their videos or access their other content.

Join with others in the church as we challenge ourselves to engage again with God's Word. E100 contains 100 carefully selected Bible excerpts from both the Old and New Testaments, along with engagingly written notes to help you reflect on the Bible's meaning and relevance for you today.

Copies will be available to purchase at church, and can be found online. You can also download a PDF version of the reading plan here.

DriveTime Devotions is a daily podcast from Saddleback Church designed to help you know God's Word and put it into practice. Each episode contains a few verses of the bible, some thoughts on how it applies to everyday life, and some guidance to pray.

You can find out more and subscribe to the podcast by visiting the DriveTime Devotions website.


Lots of people think the Bible has been changed, corrupted, or is a conspiracy and that it cannot be trusted. Amy Orr-Ewing explores how we can have confidence in the reliability of the Bible we read today.

Copies will be available to purchase at church, and can be found online. 


Perhaps as you begin to read the Bible for yourself, you find yourself facing questions and uncertainty with what you're reading. In Reason for God, Timothy Keller addresses the most frequently voiced “doubts” skeptics bring to his church as well as the most important reasons for faith. 

Copies will be available to purchase at church, and can be found online