Choosing a Bible Study
Now that the kids are back to school, many churches and groups are beginning Fall Bible studies. Our local group will kickoff tomorrow so I thought it would be a good time to share how I choose the study in which to participate.
1. Prayer – This may seem to go without saying but I feel it is often the step we skip. We think studying the Word is a “good” thing to do no matter which one we choose, so we fail to seek God’s leading. If our marriage seems strong, we pass over the studies on marriage without considering the mentoring we might find from a couple leading the class. If we are having a difficult time raising a stubborn child, we assume we should attend a parenting class, when the real issue could be weakness in our marriage relationship that is affecting that child. When you feel God speaking to your heart about a specific study or topic, trust Him.
2. Time – Some seasons of life are simply busier than others. I can do different things now that my children are teens than I could when they were 3 and 2. When my husband was deployed or traveling often, I had to ensure the studies I attended offered childcare options. When we were packing up and moving across the country I needed an independent study. However in the months following my college work, I felt I had hours of “found” reading time to devote. Embrace this and choose wisely. Many Beth Moore studies have enough work for 30 minutes to an hour each day and you will receive a greater blessing when you complete this reading. One school year I participated in a small prayer group where we used this book as a weekly devotional and topical study.
3. Research – If you are not familiar with the writer of the study materials, do a little research. What are his or her core beliefs? Are there fundamental issues on which you disagree? While this may not stop you from reading the material, you may be more aware of bias (the author’s and your own) that is not based on scripture, but on tradition.
4. Wisdom – God will provide you wisdom and discernment if you seek it. Ultimately, Bible study material should only enhance your understanding of the only book we truly need: God’s Word. If the author (or class leader) says something with which you disagree, take it to God’s Word. Look not only at the individual scripture or passage being discussed, but in context with the entirety of the Bible. There are many examples of what not to do in the Word. Just because something is “in the Bible” does not mean it is something we are supposed to do. In fact, even if you do agree with the author, it is wise to question what is being taught against the scriptures since we often hold belief out of tradition without understanding why.
Finally, please pray for your teachers and leaders. Pray that each of them would have discernment and wisdom. Pray with me that God alone be glorified.