How Important is Bible Study?
By the time you read this, we will just be finishing our 12th year of Disciple Bible Study! Being in the 12th year of this study is a bit of a record! A former District Superintendent was surprised we’ve been able to go beyond the first year of this Disciple Bible Study – it is a four-year study and most churches never make past year one! Another colleague moved into a church that held a “Bible study,” but they were not using the Bible – and book they used was not even about the Bible. As I think about that, I’m reminded how blessed I am to be part of a church that places such high reverence on the scripture and the study of it.
Don’t misunderstand. There are many books and authors that are important and worthy of study. Books that will help us live a better Christian life. Hope Church offers small groups that from time to time will explore such books for they are important too. However, we recognize the difference between a book study and a Bible study. Hope sets aside time and groups to specifically engage in the study of God’s word. I forget at times how blessed I am to be in a congregation that doesn’t just say that they trust in the Bible. They sacrifice their time to read and study the Word of God allowing it to wash over them and transform who they are. Additionally, we are blessed to have a lead pastor who leans into and on the scripture because he believes that it is the inherent, authoritative Word of God.
As I write and think on this, two things come to mind.
First, we need this grounding in scripture more than ever for a schism appears to be happening in the church that ultimately asks this question, “Who or what will have the final word of authority?” Will it be the plumb line of God’s word, or the ever changing opinion of the culture around us? If we are the people who believe the final authority is the plumb line of God’s word, then we will be a people who will allow the word of God to transform us! Transform us in every way, so that we know more clearly what God thinks about ……… well, just about everything!
Second, it is important for all of us to be in a group where the scripture is held high and opened regularly. My love for Disciple Bible Study leads me to believe that it would be wonderful for everyone to attend Disciple at some point in their journey. Disciple is very structured and on a path for a purpose – provide for deeper friendships and understanding of those who are attending and to more deeply engage in and understand God’s word. When that particular Disciple journey closes, however, then it is important to continue that engagement with God’s word and with others by being a part of an ongoing small group. There you will continue to do life together, to study God’s Word together, to pray together and to wrestle with the hard topics we all face at times. Because it is in the hard issues and difficult times that we are driven to the Word of God – to seek truth and to better know where and when to stand firm.
As we close out year 12 of Disciple, it is my joy to look forward to the fall of 2018 and anticipate the beginning of a new year of Disciple! Until then it’s my prayer that we will make room in our lives for a small group where we do life together!