We have another uth@waratah Q&A night service coming up soon, so I thought it would be a good idea to clear a few of the outstanding questions in the box over the next fortnight before we get a whole bunch more pour in!
Today’s question is: “Why do you go to Bible Study?”
I take this question to be referring to the various home bible study groups that the church runs during the week where people meet in groups of up to about 10 to discuss a Biblical text together.
1.Because it’s amazing.
First of all, I go to/host a bible study because it’s amazing. I never really had much time for the idea of small group bible study until I decided to bight the bullet way back in in early 2004 when the church I attended at the time ran the ’40 days of purpose’ program. Part of this initiative saw new small groups set up just for this 6 week course, so it was a great way to ‘dip the toe in the water’ as it were. I simply was not prepared for the depth of insight, encouragement and friendship my cynical young self was going to discover.
I learned more about God and the scriptures in those 6 weeks than at any other time of my life.
2. Because it is a way of obeying God’s command.
God is literally community. He therefore expects the people who bear his name to reflect his being. To the point where he says in John 13:35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” It only makes sense doesn’t it? There’s a name for a resolutely solo Christian: mistaken.
For me Bible study forces me to be authentic because it is a lot easier to get to know folks in smaller settings. Therefore it is a lot easier for folks to get to know me. Therefore, I have developed relationships in bible study groups deep enough that those people will start to be able to tell if I am ‘fluffing it’ or not. They will see behind my masks and they have.
The deepest most real (sometimes most confronting) conversations of my life have been with people who were in a ‘small group’ with me. Either in the Church I was attending at the time, or when I studied at Vose seminary. (Note; if you are studying theology/ministry at Vose DO NOT skimp on your small group time on Wednesday mornings.)
You see, here’s the thing, if the sum total of the bible teaching on community and relationships are true, then Facebook doesn’t cut it. Just reading blogs like this doesn’t cut it. Just personal quiet times with God (as vitally important as that is) is not going to cut it. We need real community. But as some have said, everyone loves the idea of community until someone mentions the word accountability, at which point tumbleweeds roll across the landscape whence a throng of enthusiastic takers once stood.
If you are relying on non-accountable forms of community (ie Social media) to support your Christian faith even though you are in the position to access a church and in particular small-group bible studies…..look out, you are a prime target for the enemy. You are too valuable not to be connected to God’s people.
3. Because it is better to cross the tracks together.
So if you’re going to do life, do it together. Strangely though, it seems that often the more people in one spot, the easier it is to blend into the background and isolate yourself. Let’s just get real, Most churches are over 20 people in attendance on a Sunday. You’re not going to get the same intimate level of community in groups of people that size and up.
So as mentioned above, you need to get connected into a church. But the best way to get connected into a church is to get connected into a small group Bible study. As Rick Warren once said, “until you do you really don’t know what you’re missing.” This is because as awesome as church is, putting worship to one side, to listen to a sermon is essentially listening to one person. God of course speaks through that person but it’s amazing how in a bible study, God takes up the personalities, gifts amd experiences of multiple people to bring fresh and new insights on scripture.
So, those are the reasons why I go along to a group bible study. If you would like to get involved no matter how young, or old you are, do please feel free to flick us an email at Peter.firstname.lastname@example.org.