TEACHING has been an important part of my ministry, and on this page you will find four of the general courses I have written. (Two other courses about Benedictine spirituality are described on the St Benedict page.) In addition to these I have written several one-off courses for quiet days and retreats, including introductions to the New Testament, Benedictine Spirituality, and Christian Ethics. If you would like to know about any of these, please contact me: click here.

The four courses on this page are:
1. Six Steps Into The Bible
2. Signs, Symbols and Ceremonies
3. Believing and Belonging
4. Lord, Teach Us To Pray

1. Six Steps Into The Bible

Six Steps into the Bible

‘Compelling’ – Barbara McGowan

‘A feast for enquiring minds and hungry spirits’ – Canon Nick Parish

‘A fabulous read’ – Kathryn Summerfield

“Whets the appetite and really makes you think’ – Liz Curry

Six Steps Into The Bible takes the reader into the world of the Bible which is presented as an evolving story with different levels of truth and where old ideas are replaced by new. It begins by showing how the scriptures themselves evolved and the different kinds of writing they encompass, each contributing a different aspect of the truth. It explores the way ideas about God developed and some of the major biblical themes: covenant, kingdom, righteousness, morality, judgement, hope and destiny.

Six Steps is an aid to study of the Bible, not a book about the Bible. It is written for established Christians, enquirers and general readers — anyone for whom the Bible is a bit of a closed book who would like to open it up and are prepared to do a bit of serious study. Written in a straightforward style, it aims to plug the gap between academic studies and popular introductions. Each Step begins with a series of preparation exercises, mostly reading and reflecting on relevant biblical passages. These are expanded in the text, and the reader is asked to read other relevant passages as they go. A series of Endnotes develops some related topics that are not considered in the Bible, for example: Jesus and the Trinity, contemporary moral issues, and the life to come. Six Steps is not a book to be rushed; it needs time for reflection and study, and is a good resource for study groups.


1. From Stories to Scripture
Explores what we mean when we speak of the Bible as ‘scripture’; the nature of its authority; when, where and why it was written, and by whom.

2. Sorting Out the Text
Illustrates the different types of writing that make up the Bible: history, prophecy, poetry, stories and letters; it looks at how they were edited, and how each style shows a different aspect of truth.

3. Pictures of God
Shows how the understanding of God, the central doctrine of the Bible, developed as the scriptures were written, and how the first Christians came to recognise Jesus as the Messiah, Son of God and Lord.

4. God and His People
Considers two related themes: the Covenant, the bond between God and his People; and the Kingdom of God, the vision at the heart of the New Covenant, the new bond with God inaugurated by Jesus.

5. True Religion
Explores the change in the basis of religion from law under the Old Covenant to grace under the New Covenant, and the change in the basis of morality between the two Covenants. 

6. An Anchor for the Soul
Explores the hope and destiny on which the righteous life is founded and the related themes of judgement and suffering, showing how the hope of salvation became one with the hope of eternal life.

This extract from Step Three, Pictures of God, gives an idea of the style and content.

God is unchanging; it is our perception of God that changes over the ages, and, as we saw in the preparation, this changing picture of God is recorded in the OT. It is not a smooth, majestic unfolding of the divine mystery, but more a matter of new insights glimpsed from time to time …
read more


A magisterial overview of the Bible and the themes that flow from it. You will find principles here to grasp some of the challenges of interpretation and to avoid some of the literalist bear traps. Not only does this give you an insight into the different styles of writing, but it also links it clearly to contemporary issues. Readers will find at the end of their journey a much better grasp of the text, and more importantly an inspiration for continued study and meditation. A splendid achievement. I heartily recommend it. – Richard Jackson, Bishop of Hereford

This book gets under the skin of the Bible. It is superbly written, clear, focused and engagingly accessible. It has a first rate structure that inevitably builds learning for the reader. Before embarking on each section there is ‘homework’ to do in readings from the Old and New Testaments, with enticing questions that prevent any temptation to skip these introductions – a frame that would work well for both individuals and groups. The author explores ideas that can have assumed understandings – What does a covenant with God mean? What fundamentally changes with Jesus? – and re-presents them in a manner that builds both credible complexity and insight. This not a book about the past; the textual commentary is rooted around contemporary concerns. The writing is both demanding and powerful and any serious reader who is brave enough to engage with it is taking on a challenging inner journey that is potentially transformative. In reading these Six Steps I feel I have been brought face to face with God … and will be processing that for a long time. – Barbara McGowan, Fellow Emerita of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling.


Very thought-provoking and helpful. Reading it was fascinating and enlightening. It helped me develop my own thinking on issues such as suffering, judgement and atonement as well on current moral issues. A stimulating book that can be read many times. – Mark-Moody-Stuart

So helpful and inclusive. As a relative newcomer to Bible study I found it ‘extremely insightful, rich in content and thought-provoking. It is engaging and interesting; a very helpful and inspiring read.’
Heather Greenfield

I approached Six Steps Into The Bible with some trepidation. I’d been a very irregular churchgoer until recently, and without really realising it, I was finding it hard to put my gently strengthening faith on something approaching a firm footing. My fairly kaleidoscopic picture of the Bible, recent reading about how it might have been written, my interest in ancient civilisations, my fuzzy faith, and my wariness around the pedlars of certainty were all part of the picture but seemed to be pulling in slightly different directions. 

Following Peter Sills through Six Steps has been transformational. I feel as if a benign earwig has been munching through heart and brain and making connections which are revelatory and liberating. I’m coming through with a faith which feels anchored and dynamic. Peter’s style is a big part of this. He has clearly done the research, and has thought through what it all means. He writes clearly, with humility and humour, and his understanding of how the world is keeps you well away from easy certainties.

It’s a short book but a long read if you follow all the Biblical references, and you’ll need to pause for air as understanding seeps in. The way Peter has structured the book makes the journey much easier, above all showing how the Bible evolved in step with changing perceptions and expectations of God. I love the way he cycles through Old and New Testaments and links the text to historical context. 

Rather than pulling me away from faith, this new understanding has given me much more solid foundations. I feel liberated in dealing with the bits of the Bible I struggle with, and the need to try to reconcile apparent contradictions in the texts. I come away with an understanding that to undertake the journey and to strive to stay the course is, of course, a beginning, but even so it’s rich and deep. I encourage you to find some equally congenial companions and set off on your own six steps.
– Rod Pryde

Six Steps Into the Bible
(ISBN 978-1-8381050-5-1) is in B5 format (180 x 255), 292 pages, illustrated, and accompanied by a chart of the Time-line of the Bible. The price is £19.99 + £3.65 p&p. It is available only from Peter Sills Books. To place an order please email me (click here) with the number of copies and the delivery address and I will send an invoice with payment details

Six Steps 
provoked lively discussions in the pilot group and is a good resource for parish study groups and home groups. Orders for parish groups of 8 or more copies come at the price of £17.99 per copy + p&p.

I am also very happy to give talks about the book and the Bible. If you’d like to arrange a talk, please email me: click here.

From time to time I will be leading a series of online discussions for any who would like to talk over the issues raised by the book. The first series is just drawing to a close. Details of the second series will be published later this year. If you’d like to take part please email me: click here.

2. Signs, Symbols & Ceremonies

This concise exploration of the meaning of Christian worship takes the reader on a journey through five basic steps of the Christian life from a first reaching out to God to becoming a witness for Christ. It is presented as a five part course based on the liturgy of the Church of England and explores the fatih expressed in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist through the symbols used in worship: water, oil, gesture, bread and wine, light and fire. As worship unites the head and heart, so the approach is experiential: each step of the course includes times for reflection, and concludes with an act of worship designed so that the different symbols can be experienced. The course is suitable for individual study as well as for groups. The five steps are:

  1. Travelling In – The Journey of Repentance
  2. Made New – Dying and Rising with Christ
  3. Growing Up – Becoming a Community of Faith
  4. Sharing Together – Remembering Jesus in the Eucharist
  5. Light for the World – From Disciple to Apostle

The course is now available as a book, including Notes for Leaders and the texts of the services. Copies may be obtained from me:, price £7 + p&p. It will also be available to download later this year, both the text and the six services separately.

3. Believing and Belonging

An introduction to the Christian Faith written both for Enquirers and for Christians who want to brush-up their faith. It takes a process evangelism approach like ‘Alpha’ and ‘Emmaus’, but with a different spiritual emphasis. It has twelve sessions, and is designed to be taught over two terms:–

  1. Faith & Meaning
  2. The Bible: Story & History
  3. God, Spirit & Holiness
  4. The Coming of Jesus
  5. Son of Man : Son of God – I
  6. Son of Man : Son of God – II
  7. Peace, Justice & Society
  8. Suffering, Sin & Evil
  9. The Last Things
  10. Church, Mission & Sacrament
  11. Prayer & Personal Devotion
  12. Following in The Way

4. Lord, Teach Us to Pray

This course is taught orally with practical exercises, and covers the basic disciplines of Christian prayer and meditation, including:

  • Praying with the Bible and Lectio Divina
  • Intercession and using a Prayer Diary
  • Christian Meditation
  • Imaginative Prayer
  • Beginning a Prayer Journal

It can be taught over a weekend or at weekly sessions.