If you've considered joining a Bible study but never taken that step, what's stopping you?
Is it a lack of time, dearth of interest, fear of the unfamiliar or something else standing in the way? Regardless of the reason, Satan would love to convince you that you need not study God's Word in the company of like-minded people. But don't believe this. It's not true.
Just as "now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2, KJV) for those who have yet to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, now is the time for believers to get plugged into a group where "iron sharpens iron" (Prov. 27:17, NKJV) through Spirit-led teaching and discussion of the Scriptures.
Up next are five reasons to become part of a Bible study or small group that gathers for the purpose of exploring God's Word:
- To gain a deeper understanding of Scripture — It doesn't matter if you've read the Bible from cover to cover 25 times or you've never even read the Gospels, there's always something more to glean from the inspired Word of God. This is why you can read a verse for the 100th time and the Holy Spirit can teach you something from that verse that you've never seen or thought about. The goal of any good Bible study will be to probe the Scriptures for hidden gems that you might not find during your personal quiet time. By discussing God's Word with others, you'll discover treasures you might otherwise miss.
- To know God more intimately — It's impossible for anyone to be in close fellowship and communion with God without spending time in His Word. While being part of a Bible study is no substitute for personal one-on-one time with our Creator, this type of setting will provide an additional layer of spiritual armor that we so desperately need to "stand against the schemes of the devil" (Eph. 6:11, MEV) in this fallen world. When people seeking after God get together to search the Bible and share Holy Spirit-given insights on the Scripture, you're bound to walk away feeling refreshed, strengthened in your walk with Christ and ready to tell others about the goodness of the Lord.
- To build your faith — Hebrews 11:6 says that "without faith it is impossible to please God" and that "He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (MEV). What better way is there to build your faith and seek the Lord than by poring over His Word with those who share a common purpose? Along with looking at passages and stories in Scripture that reveal God's character and faithfulness in various situations, almost any Bible study you attend will likely designate some time for group discussion. And this discussion may lead to some short personal testimonies. I don't know about you, but there's nothing that builds my faith any more than hearing a brother or sister in Christ share about what God has done in their life. Of course, along with hearing from others, you should let the Holy Spirit lead you in sharing how God is working in your life. Your story might be the nugget of hope and encouragement that someone needs to make it through another day.
- To forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones — While you shouldn't treat your Bible study as a social club or matchmaking opportunity (it isn't), one almost inevitable consequence of attending a Bible study is meeting new people and becoming closer with some folks you already know. Speaking from personal experience, one of my best friends is a guy I met at a church Bible study over a decade ago. Had we not been there and sat at the same table one night, it's likely our paths wouldn't have crossed. This was a God-ordained connection, and this brother in Christ has been a great source of strength for me for a long time.
- To stretch your preconceived beliefs — Everything we learned about God in Sunday school isn't necessarily true. Well-intended, faith-filled Christians regularly misconstrue Scripture by taking passages out of context or being so aligned with a particular denominational creed that they don't allow the Holy Spirit to show them the true meaning of a passage or verse and how it applies to their life. Being involved in a Bible study is bound to challenge how we view certain things in God's Word — and that's healthy if you're prone to making the Scripture fit your preconceived beliefs rather than basing your beliefs around the Scripture.
Jared Turner is a freelance writer for Charisma Media from North Carolina.
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