During my visit with Lucas this week, I asked about whether he and his wife, who is 8 months pregnant, would be starting a Bible study any time soon. They currently attend two Bible studies; one at church ad one at a home.
Lucas said, “No, no. I’m still not ready for that yet. Maybe in another year.
When I asked what would be different in a year, he replied, “I should have more knowledge by then.”
You see, the Bible studies that Lucas and his wife currently attend aren’t really “Bible studies.” But they are called Bible studies, so why would I say that?
The two Bible studies they currently attend are led by two men who spend a large amount of time each week studying a topic (in one case) and a Bible passage (in the other case). When the group gets together each week, each man then leads the group through what he has learned, including definitions of Greek words, cross references throughout the Bible, and examples that they have found that help illustrate the point of the topic or passage.
In each case, the people would attend the Bible study have not actually done Bible study themselves. Only the leaders have studied, and they then share their findings with a group of people who listen and diligently take notes.
One of the results I find from this type of Bible study is that there is little personal application for the group. That’s why I don’t call these a Bible study. It’s really another sermon offered on a different day.
That’s why Lucas felt like he needed at least another year of learning before he could begin a Bible study of his own. His model had become one of men who study throughout the week and then share at the appointed time.
So we talked about how we used to do Bible study together in a small group when Lucas lived closer to me. At some point during the week, each person would read a passage of Scripture. He would look for a key thought, and note anything that he should do or be. He would also jot down any questions or problems that he had with the passage.
When we got together for Bible study, what we were actually doing was sharing our findings with each other. Questions were brought to the group, since people often have similar questions, and we would bang out the answers together. We often asked the question at the end of the meeting, “So what difference should this make in our lives?”
A short time of sharing personal applications would end the meeting, and the next meeting would often begin with checking to see how each of us were doing with past application we wanted to make.
That’s not only real Bible study, with each person actively involved, but it’s also a method that is reproducible.
If something is reproducible, it is capable of being reproduced at a different time or place and by different people.
Most of us are probably not gifted at leading a group (either a small grouping the home or a large group in the church) by teaching what the Bible says about a topic or what a passage means. But all of us can facilitate a group of people who are all learning to feed themselves on the Word of God.
What would happen if every person who went to a Bible study was actually studying what the Bible says to them personally? That’s reproducible!