I don’t have a neat graphic for you. I don’t even have anything particularly nice to say. Brace yourselves.
Small groups need to be about Bible study.
As in, you have to actually study the Bible.
Not the pastor’s sermon. Not a book. Not a video.
Let me be clear: I’m not talking about flopping your Bible open, pointing to a verse and deciding what it means. I am ALL FOR workbooks and commentaries and concordances and lexicons. I couldn’t understand the Bible without that stuff. What I’m talking about here is reading a book by a Christian author, discussing its contents and calling it good. That’s not Bible study. That’s a book club.
There’s nothing wrong with book clubs or sermon/video discussion, but don’t tell me or anyone else that you’re in a Bible study group (or leading a Bible study group) if that’s not what you’re doing. Can you belong to a book club? Sure. Is it okay to be involved with people who meet and discuss video teaching? Sure. But there has simply got to be space and time in your life when you’re cracking open those pages (even if they’re electronic…sigh). If that book club or video group takes up that space and time, as in you can’t fit Bible study into your schedule, then you’d best be ditching that and plugging in somewhere else.
Don’t tell me that Bible study is too hard. You have the Spirit of the Living God dwelling inside of you if you’re in Christ.
Don’t tell me that you’re can’t find a group. You and I both know that’s not true. If believers around the world can bravely face imprisonment or worse to meet together and soak in God’s word, then you can get off your butt and look through the church bulletin or website.
If you’re called to start a group, don’t tell me that you’re too scared to do it because there isn’t a single teacher out there worth his or her salt who isn’t terrified of screwing up.
Books are great. Videos are great.
God’s word? It’s in class by itself. It is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). It comes directly from Him (2 Timothy 3:16). You can find yourself dying without it (Hosea 4:6). You’ll be deceived if you don’t know it (Colossians 2:8).
If you don’t care about any of that, if you don’t want to learn from God and fall more in love with Him, then, my friend, your priorities are all wrong. Don’t talk to me about how busy you are, because if you have time for Facebook or Netflix or getting your nails done or going hunting, then you sure as heck have time for Bible study. The fact is that it’s not about you not having time. It’s about not wanting to, and if that’s the state of your heart then you need to repent.
See? I told you I didn’t have anything nice to say.
Bible study matters. And since we’re rejecting the “just Jesus and me” thing, studying the Bible in a group setting matters. As the world grows ever-more wild, it is essential to come together to learn from the Lord. We must embrace His word. In so doing, we will be equipped for the spiritual battle that rages all around. Remember: Satan doesn’t play fair. There’s nothing he’d like more than to distract and isolate and then beat you up for giving in to the temptation to hide. So, fight! Don’t just go with the flow or do whatever you want! Get in Scripture. Find others who are going deep and pulling out the treasures.
We need to grow up, put on our big kid pants and do the thing.
For all posts in the Small Groups miniseries, go here.
7 thoughts on “Small Groups: Actually Study the Bible”
Now I’m intrigued. Are you saying you have no specific guide for studying the Bible at all? Usually Bible studies focus on a particular portion of the Bible, let’s say one of Paul’s epistles. When I used to go to church (long story) the head Pastor used to study all week long in preparation for his sermon. Conservatively, he’d consult about 15 knowledgeable sources rather than just “wing it,” which is one of the things I admire about him.
If I were to organize a Bible study, I’d probably do something similar. The New Covenant is sort of a pet peeve of mine, so I’d most likely organize the study around clearing up what have been (in my opinion) some pretty startling misconceptions Christianity has about the New Covenant across the board. I’ve got plenty of sources to draw on at this point, including what the Bible actually says about the New Covenant, and the primary definition isn’t in the New Testament.
Now I know I’m misunderstanding you, and I do want to be fair, but it kind of sounds like you’re saying that you don’t need any other scholarly sources of information, not even a Hebrew and Greek lexicon, to study the Bible. What am I missing?
Oh, no! Dang, I should have been clearer. I’m ALL FOR workbooks and commentaries and lexicons. The scholarly approach is the only approach I know, and, in my opinion, the only approach that works. My irritation is when groups will discuss a book written by a Christian author and call that Bible study. I’d better make that clear in the post!
Thanks. I figured I’d just misunderstood you. Appreciate you clearing that up for me.
“Don’t tell me that Bible study is too hard. You have the Spirit of the Living God dwelling inside of you if you’re in Christ.”
Dang you, Marie. You knocked me upside the head with this one.
You sure you can’t just move to Nashville so YOU can be my bible study teacher/leader?!? 😉
Thank you for this series– it really came at the most perfect time for me.
You’re sweet! But I kinda have to stay here. 🙂
I know you’re going to find just the right group and the right study. Our Lord will enable you to love and understand His word. Keep pressing in!
So…I was JUST (last week) at a Bible Study in which we discussed this very thing and had very similar conclusions.
We just finished Ephesians and have started into Acts. I’m excited about it. I have longed to be IN the Word together and then through the Holy Spirits enlightenment and other solid resources pull out all the morsels contained. Thank you for this.
Amen, sister! I so want that, too!