When last I wrote about the benefits of weekly Bible study groups in congregations, I left out a few thoughts. Here are some of them….
Our group’s Scripture conversations are an extension (or preview) of the proclamation of The Word in weekly worship. Whether based on the lectionary or not, Bible study somehow always connects with what has been (or will be) shared in a Sunday service. This midweek preparation or reinforcement helps hold in place the wisdom of God that comes our way on Sundays.
Another perhaps-overlooked benefit: As Bible conversations also become occasions for testimony, several varieties of sermons are preached by all the participants in the group. What a blessing: A collective proclamation, offering the additional power of gathered witness! Each member of the group becomes a preacher, sharer or encourager. We are surrounded by the cloud of witnesses that’s named in Hebrews 12….
The examination of Scripture almost always leads into places we may have missed: Individual words, shades of meaning from different translations, doctrinal explorations, historical/cultural contexts—all of them satisfying knowledge for our seeking selves.
Our Bible conversations take on the character of insightful, intimate exchanges. The content goes beyond just intellectual matters. As is true of our pastors’ sermons, these moments spark imagination, emotion and motivation. Those who speak and those who listen are drawn into what’s inspiring in the Scriptures.
Our leaders’ roles deserve mention. Our pastors also approach these moments as learners. Their excitement about new insights is palpable. Their questions mirror our own. They guide and probe, but they also follow and discover. We travel these enjoyable conversational paths together.
As I noted previously, I hope you have the opportunity to join the Spirit’s stirrings in your congregation’s Bible study groups.
This could be something to exult about!
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