Why Should I Attend a Bible Study?
With our new ministry calendar year starting back up, it's important to address a question that we all ask ourselves at one point or another. Even those of us who may faithfully participate in a small group study of some kind inevitably will think, "Why am I doing this? I have so many other things I need to get done! Is this really worth my time?" Haven't you been there before? Well, how should we answer that question? Why should we attend and participate in Bible studies?
We need to spend more time in God's Word, not less. Dedicating a portion of our busy schedule, perhaps weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, is an important step in forming within us godly priorities. If we don't intentionally make the time for it, the time will be taken up by something else. We need to make our priorities align with God's, and group studies are a helpful tool to do just that. They can be beneficial in cultivating in our hearts that desire that so often is weak and faint and needs fanned into flame: to meditate upon God's Word day and night.
Reading our Bibles more will mean we will read our Bibles better. Bible studies, much like the Sunday divine services, give us a deeper understanding of how the Bible all fits together. They are training sites for the soul. It is easy to pick up our Bible each day and superficially scan a few verses and place a check next to "devotions" on our to-do list. But do we glean much by doing that? Not likely. However, the more time we spend in in-depth study, the more we will take away from even brief portions of Scripture. Bible studies are a venue to put into practice our interpretive skill.
God intends us to grow as Christians in a community. We are not lone-ranger Christians. The Bible model is that we grow in our faith together with other believers (Titus 2, for example). The insights that we receive from other brothers and sisters in the faith our invaluable to our own spiritual maturation. In group study we learn from people who see the world differently from us, who know more than us, who are working through questions similar to our own--and all of this comes together in a beautiful way by the Holy Spirit to benefit all who are present--perhaps in ways that would never happen if we merely studying alone. So Paul says, "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God." (Ephesians 4:11–13)
Finally, group studies provide a unique platform in the life and ministry of the church. Here there is a safe space to be curious, to ask questions, to give feedback, to wrestle with tough topics, to express doubts and frustration. The back-and-forth that a study provides, while inappropriate in a formal worship setting, is a great way for people to grow in their faith. It also provides a platform for people to extend and receive hospitality, either through hosting or bringing snacks. It provides a platform for evangelism: you can bring an unsaved friend who may be intimidated by church but would sit around the living room at someone's house and ask important questions and hear important truths. All and all, when joined with an atmosphere of trust and openness, the small group Bible study can really be the jumping off point of so much more.
For these reasons, and no doubt many others, I would encourage you to join one of the studies we are offering this year. Know the blessing of studying God's Word with God's people!