“We don’t need more Bible stuides” – that’s the message that came across the pulpit from a woman after her return from three years on the mission field in the Ukraine. She explained the difference between teaching people how to do church and having the word and truth of God prick their hearts and completely change their lives to serve him wholeheartedly.
After all, many Americans do church quite well but living out the gospel in our day-to-day lives is often lacking. The world (and the devil for that matter) knows when a professing Christians lacks power and authority. Read Acts 19:13-16. The devil is commanding his army in the darkest parts of the world like the Ukraine and in many parts of the United States while Christians are sitting in circles chatting about the Bible while eating snacks and drinking coffee.
On this particular Sunday morning, these unsettling realities were presented from the heart of a woman who loves God, loves the Bible, and loves Bible study. I am now writing from that same position with a wake up call that Bible study can’t continue to be another important thing for Christians to do, a self-righteous check in the box to let everybody know that we have visibly showed up.
Bible study can’t simply be the homework that we scramble to complete on the evening or hour before we meet to discuss the material. It certainly can’t continue to be an earnest longing for the next book release of your beloved (insert Bible teacher of choice here). While I desire to share the truth of God’s word through writing, I would elect to never sell one book if it meant that women would pick up the Bible and wrestle with the text themselves.
Unfortunately, I am not convinced that most women want this reality. Many would prefer substitutes, or worse, counterfeits. I must say that I often bypass Bible study material that cater to women online and in book stores with all of their bright colors, flowers, coffee cups, and house shoes. I walk pass the personality and emotionally driven “studies” with some disgust with how the Bible has been trivialized for women.
I am going through one of these “studies” right now as moral support for a dear friend. After a week of reading the material, my main concern is that I can complete an entire lesson and never open my Bible. Yet, we wonder why hearts are not being changed. The truth is, the Bible is not about me at all and it’s not about you and therefore the focus of Bible study should not simply cater to our emotions. We need to come to that realization as women in the church if we desire to have an impact on this lost and dying world.
We have to push past the noise to see God for ourselves and truly surrender our hearts to him. Going to the Bible with an open heart to know God, a humble spirit to serve him, and faith in the work of the Holy Spirit will give us clear direction on how to be the church that God desires. The time for change is now.
How does Bible study change us? Do you think Bible study is enough to mature any believer? What does the Bible teach us about the “church” and mission?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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