Ho hum, another Bible study. Do we really need another Bible study? Many Christians have opted out of Bible studies. After all, watching Netflix and YouTube clips, or working out, or playing video games, or having coffee at Starbucks, or going to the mall, is way more fun than going to a Bible study. Why is that?
Is it because so many Bible studies have Captain Obvious write the discussion questions? Is it because we can’t take one more celebrity preacher’s DVD series? Who cares about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea? Why bother reading about Paul’s shipwreck? Surely, Leviticus has nothing to do with life in the twenty-first century.
According to Skye Jethani, rather than going to Bible studies, “we just kind of pull these little quotes or verses here and there that make us feel better. It’s kind of sentimental and it’s therapeutic, but the actual understanding of the Bible—we think that doesn’t matter. It’s no different than needing to know where my shirt was made; it’s just irrelevant, it happened a long time ago. No matter how much access you give people to that information—they’re not going to engage it because they don’t care, and they don’t see why it’s relevant.”
Is it that bad? Perhaps we need a different kind of Bible study. What am I talking about?
Look for studies that focus on God’s character and mission. The Bible is not like Instagram. We’re not the star of the show. We’ll need to ask God to lead us to the “not I, but Christ” kind of Bible study (Gal 2:20).
Look for studies that welcome the Holy Spirit’s movement. The word works with the Spirit of Christ to teach, bear witness, convict, and guide. We’ll know when the Spirit starts wielding God’s word like a sword (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12). The passages being studied will transform our thinking and penetrate the depths of our heart.
Look for studies that heighten an awareness of the indwelling Christ—not as an abstract doctrine, but as the living Torah, the incarnate Word. Healthy Bible studies are not about “spiritual formation”—they’re about “Christ forming in you” (Gal 4:19).
Look for studies that offer courageous, humble prayers. Prayer is more than a list of requests. Prayer listens to carry divine directives into the daily grind. Groups that pray big to a big God take up challenges that transform virtue into action.
Look for studies that engage everyone that attends. Interactive studies build anticipation and momentum by allowing space for brainstorming, doubt, and strategizing. People have life stories and wisdom to zing into the discussion. Fabulous Bible studies let the body of Christ plug in so that discoveries can be made. The result is a sense of “fullness” as the entire “team” equips each other to advance God’s mission (Eph 4:11-16).
Do we need another Bible study? No. We need Bible studies worth going to. Look for them—or better, start one!