“3 Steps to a Guaranteed Successful Bible Study”Categories: Christian Living, Encouragement, Evangelism, Joshuah Ellis, Preacher Life, Theology
This past Sunday, during Bible class, we were discussing 1 Corinthians chapter 8. Of course, there are some meaty topics covered in that chapter (see what I did there?). However, there was one moment during the study of this chapter that stands out above the rest.
One of our members asked the question, regarding the conduct of the stronger brother toward the weaker (and I am paraphrasing):
Where do you draw the line? If you have one brother who is getting offended by ridiculous things or being overly demanding, or if you have another brother who is trying to be authoritarian, what do you do?
I loved this question as it forced me to consider some realities about the current church and do some hard thinking on some things. What I observe is that as Christians, we often want a formula, one formula that works in all situations. The problem with this is that any time you have 2 people trying to close the divisions among them, it is a truly unique situation for which there is no foolproof formula.
Thus, the topic of today’s blog. 3 things you need in order to make sure that every Bible study (in which there are opposing views) is a guaranteed success.
1. Love your brother. This should go without saying, but it doesn’t. Guys, if you plan to sit down with someone, open your Bibles in order to resolve and issue and your primary concern is being right or “winning” the argument, then you should just pack up your things and go home. So many times, in the Bible, we read about loving one another (John 13:34; 1 Peter 4:8; John 4:12-13; Ephesians 4:2-3; 1 Peter 3:8-9) and the list could go on. This is not about you and unless your attitude is right at the beginning of this encounter, then chances are you are about to do much more damage than good. Not to mention, the discussion is going to end in an argument and would thereby be unsuccessful.
2. Meekness. Again, it should go without saying but it doesn’t. This is another circumstance in which you must check your motives. Is this about you or about you being right? James tells us to receive God’s word with meekness (James 1:21). You can’t do that if you treat your Bible like a weapon that is to be used as nothing more than a proof text to show how clever or spiritual you are. That is not meekness? Both parties have to share this quality if the study is to be a guaranteed success.
3. Respect for God’s Word. Obviously, you are not going to get very far in your study if it devolves into a philosophical discussion as opposed to a biblical one. Again, we return to a similar fact. This is not about you, your ego, your intelligence, or your righteousness. This is about following God’s perfect Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), wherever it may lead. Without this, there is no chance of a successful study.
So, there you go. 3 ingredients to a guaranteed successful Bible study and the answer to the question I was asked in Bible class. While there is no “one size fits all” answer for every situation, there is a pattern. When 2 people who love one another, show an attitude of meekness and have a real respect for God’s Word, sit down together to study, they will always end up where they need to be. Why? Certainly not because we are perfect, but because God is. Because His Word is. Because, when we choose to follow and submit, we can never be found wanting. God won’t let us.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).