“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the Book widens and deepens with our years.” Charles Spurgeon
Next Sunday our women’s ministry is launching something that’s been a burden on my heart for some time – a Sunday morning Women’s Bible study. We’re just trying this. We don’t know if it will work. Our goal is to have something more convenient for women, particularly those in the workplace or who homeschool. We do know that if we never try it, it’s certain that it will never work. This new study on the Sermon on the Mount will meet each Sunday at 9:30 am, beginning March 12th in the big classroom downstairs.
Currently, we have one morning women’s Bible study and two evening ones. But if a woman is employed outside the home or homeschools, those can be very difficult times. Some 70% of women work outside the home. While many husbands today have stepped up and do more of the housework, the bulk of the work around the house still falls on the wife. For many reasons then a week day or night Bible study is tough to fit in.
At Grace we are committed to group Bible study. Why? Why do we believe that studying the Bible as a group is so important?
Jesus never intended for Christianity to be a spectator sport. Group Bible study is invaluable. Small group study is so effective that Jesus used it to train His own disciples. They, in turn, modeled it with having their own Bible studies. Churches first met in homes.
Christianity was never meant to be individualistic. All of us know that Jesus died for me…somehow we miss He died for us, He died for the Church. God’s plan is for Christianity to be relational—first, in a relationship between ourselves and God. Then, horizontally, in relationships between ourselves and those around us. Group Bible studies move us from being spectators in a weekly church service to more active participants in a like-minded community committed to spiritual growth.
As we dig into God’s Word together, the Holy Spirit can open our eyes as a group to God’s Truth that He has written there for us. It provides an opportunity for us to share different perspectives and insights. It’s an opportunity to stretch and broaden us because of the interaction. Studying God’s Word with others causes friction – and that’s a good thing. As iron sharpens iron, the Spirit begins to grind off our sinful rough edges. The Book of Proverbs says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). More information is also retained when there’s active engagement and involvement. Biblical literacy is enhanced.
Application and accountability bring understanding that moves God’s Word from the mind to the heart. Transformation is encouraged (Romans 12:2) and our lives are changed by the work of the Spirit. It’s cumulative. When we grow in grace and our lives are changed, the lives of those around us are changed as well.
But relationships don’t just happen. They must be intentional. They must be planned and scheduled. Be honest. How many times have you said to a friend, “We have to get together some time?” It’s a good thing that neither of you waits by the phone because it probably never happened. Intention is not the same thing as investment. The only thing that God said was NOT GOOD, prior to sin, was “it is not good for man to be alone.”
We all need a cadre of friends to help weather the storms of life. But friends require an investment of time and a level of vulnerability and trust. As Hebrews 10:24-25 says we should, “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” Where better to accomplish this than in a group Bible study setting?
It’s in a group Bible study where we can celebrate life’s victories, find prayer support (we all need that), be encouraged in tough times, and keep ourselves accountable in our personal growth. Group Bible studies offer a structured time to focus on topics that address our needs as well as our interests. They offer an enlivening arena to help carry us from Sunday to Sunday and a safe place to work out the challenges we all face. The bottom line is God created us for each other and we need each other.
We are the Body of Christ. We’re Jesus’ hands and feet on earth, the ones who are to continue His work. Group Bible study is not so we know more and fill our heads with information. It’s to be life-changing. It’s so we can serve each other and serve together. One of the best ways that we can get to know each other and become deeper friends is by serving together.
Recently, my friend, Amy Zott, succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Jane and I became lifelong friends with Amy and Jeff Zott but it started as the four of us worked on a project together. Rotary assigned us to help a shut-in with some yardwork. Working together on this elderly man’s yard birthed a great friendship. So please never do a project at church alone. I’d encourage you to ask someone from church to help you with a personal project. Then, you could help them with one of their projects…and we will all grow together in His grace and love.
And if this new Bible study doesn’t fit you, we have several other choices. Bill King and Rich Benson are teaching a great study on the Book of Colossians, The Born Supremacy. Ron Strelow and I are beginning a new study, “Where is God? He’s closer than you think.” If you’re not yet a member of Grace Church, attend the New Member’s class. It’s a way to find out what makes us tick at Grace, to understand our DNA.
So please, join a SML (Sunday Morning Live) class! God designed us to need Him and each other. What better place for that to happen than in a small Bible study group? Sign-up today!
Can we help you spiritually? Can we help you know Jesus better? Please check out more resources on our church's web page, Gracechurchwi.org. Or, call us at 262.763.3021. If you'd like to know more about how Jesus can change your life, I'd love to mail you a copy of how Jesus changed my life in "My Story." E-mail me at Carson@gracechurchwi.org to request a free copy. Please include your mailing address.