Read the Bible with… Rory Shiner

Friday 5 June 2015

Rory is the Senior Pastor of Providence City Church in Perth, WA, and enjoys raising four sons with his lovely wife Susan.

Where do you live and go to church?

I live in Perth, Western Australia and go to church at Providence City Church.

What was the first book of the Bible you ever read?

I think it would have been some of the more eye-brow raising stories in Judges (a strategy I developed in childhood for surviving boring church services.) First whole book cover-to-cover was, I think, the book of Proverbs.

Name a Bible character you resonate with and why.

I really like Jacob. In many ways he lived a scrappy and unimpressive life, but was determined to know God and be known by God. Not a hero, but an earthy expression of faith. I don’t know if I’m like him, but I like him.

What are you reading in the Bible at the moment?

At the moment I am reading Psalms for personal reading and the book of Acts with our kids.

Where do you read the Bible?

At the dinner table with the kids (average maybe 2-3 nights a week). And at my desk before starting work.

What’s one thing from the Bible that’s stuck in your brain at the moment?

I’ve spent the last few weeks pondering Psalm 73. ‘Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart/ But as for me…’ The affirmation of faith (the goodness of God) together with the frank acknowledgement of the psalmist’s circumstances (‘but as for me’). I can’t stop thinking about it.

Name one part of the Bible you keep coming back to again and again and why.

Probably no awards for originality here, but Romans 8. An endless source of comfort and insight.

Describe one of your Bible reading failures and what you learnt.

Many years I have attempted ambitious Bible reading plans and got to about March before falling over. I think the fault here is trying to go from zero to hero in one jump. Much better, I have found, to build slowly and steadily from where you are to where you want to be.

What advice would you give someone struggling to read the Bible each day?

I reckon: Don’t over think it. As someone explained to me, there are two times to eat—one is when you’re hungry, and the other is when it’s dinner time. Sometimes we will be like the psalmist who says ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs after you.’ We read because we are hungry for God. But other times, it’s just time to eat. So eat. And if you have no idea why God included that particular part of the Bible, just read it, pray, and keep going.

And just for fun, if you were a monster what would be your defining feature?

I would definitely like to have lasers that shot out of my eyes.

Shiner lgBe part of this column, here.

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