I came across a question that requires time to contemplate. It asked how church exposure, or lack of it, had shaped the way I view Bible study.
When I began attending church as an adult, receiving Christ as my Lord and Savior at age 33, my choice for a place to fellowship was a body of believers where the pastor taught verse-by-verse through the Bible covering one book at a time. A Monday night Bible study covered another book, and I went to that as well.
At that point I sat and listened to the teachers, growing in knowledge and understanding, but real growth and change occurred when my church instituted a women’s Bible study. Once a week we met for teaching on the passages we had studied as we worked our way through a book of the Bible. Also, we broke into small groups to discuss questions we had answered about those passages.
Later I enrolled in an inductive Bible study class at my church to learn how to interpret Scripture accurately. Here’s a point made from the class: “Careful observation is the basis for interpretation. If one has done a careful job of observing what the passage says, then determining what the passage means will usually fall out naturally. If one jumps into interpretation before doing the work of observation, then the interpretation will be based on what you bring to the text, rather than what the text brings to you.”1
In answer to the question posed at the beginning of this blog, I would have to say the church God led me to resulted in great insight into the importance of proper study and appropriate application of God’s Word. I have learned the best way to interpret one Scripture within a book of the Bible is to begin by reading the entire book.
I enjoy completing Bible studies that have been written by authors of this genre. I appreciate their research, creativity, and insight into the books of the Bible. I probably complete at least three a year. The last study I did was on Ephesians and the author had us repeatedly read the book in its entirety.
Yes, I can say a good foundation for the study of God’s Word was built at the first church I attended. The second church, which I now attend, continues to build on that firm foundation. My husband was sent out to pastor this church 22 years ago. I am part of a team of three women who facilitate the women’s Bible study, which I love. We select studies from various authors that usually include teaching on DVD.
However, this winter we are doing something a little different. We will be reading a book titled “Women of the Word, How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds” by Jen Wilkin. I think it will be refreshing, uncovering bad habits I have developed. It is easy to become lazy when reading the Bible. Returning to favorite passages and books but skipping the full counsel of God. Or always choosing written Bible studies instead of doing our own research.
I view Bible study of utmost importance for several reasons.
1-The Bible reveals God, His character, and attributes.
2-Scripture changes us.
3-Scripture provides clarity between God’s ways and the ways of the world.
1-How would you answer the question at the beginning of the blog? What is your view of Bible study?
2-Name one way the church you first attended brought clarity to God’s Word and its application.
1-Living by the Book by Howard G. Hendricks.
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