For many people that I know, including myself, reading the Bible has always been a daunting task. The language is so different from ours today, the references to a history that is unknown to us, and the idea of prophecy can make your head spin. Like others, I’ve had good intentions to read the Bible and study it to the core, but I end up falling short.
Fortunately, I have been involved in churches that share my desire to want to know more of Scripture. Scripture is life, the living word, that points us to God and His blessings and teachings. We can turn to inspiring quotes from great authors and world leaders to try to spark our spirit, but the Bible does all of that and more. There is a supernatural quality that is hard to explain, but deeply enriching.
Over the years I have come to learn that the Bible is not just a bunch of stories that have no meaning in my life, but that it is filled with rich wisdom, and the Spirit of God mysteriously comes alive when I clear my mind and heart to sit and absorb it. Most of the time my problem has been just that: clearing my mind and heart. Making the time while raising a family, working, and volunteering is not always an easy task. When your child has kept you up half the night due to an illness, and you are sleep deprived and still need to work and care for the rest of your family, you can run out of steam. Picking up your Bible while trying to keep your eyes open doesn’t seem to work so well.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NIV
I have found that being involved in a study where others share my desires works best for me. Currently at Bellevue Presbyterian Church, I am part of a men’s Bible study that meets every week. I get to be with a group of men who are looking to God’s Word to fill their spirits. I actually came to this study in its second incarnation. The group met before as one study, but then grew large enough that it decided to split into two different study groups.
Although studying the Bible is the focus of the group, there is so much more to gain from being in a small Bible study with like-minded people. As individuals we are all different: age, race, religious background, and life experiences. From all of our collective experiences we lift one another up, through hard times and good times.
I know every group is different, but this group is particularly special in the way we look out for one another. We share more than just, as Dr. Scott Dudley would say, “News, sports, and weather.” Together, along with our study, we walked alongside one another through addictions, burn out, confusion, and the next steps in life and marriages. We pray for one another, check in on one another. I think some even golf with one another. I have yet to learn the game of golf, but if it’s anything like football, sign me up. In truth, what I value most about this Bible study group is that we hold our relationships at the forefront. We come together to pour the Word of God into our souls and to pour into one another.
I have learned quite a bit from these men. From their wisdom, their struggles, and their insight. I am so thankful that BelPres opens its doors to small groups like ours and makes space available for people to come be fed by the Word and make lasting relationships as God intended.
For information on joining a Bible study at BelPres, please visit belpres.org and search Bible study.