Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

My Radical Idea for Bible Classes

bible-text

Each Sunday morning, Christians around the world gather for Bible class. This is a wonderful tradition that has helped to strengthen the faith of believers for many years. Christians agree that God speaks to us through his holy word. We believe that even though the words of Scripture were first written down long ago, God still has a word for us today. We gather to learn about the stories of Abraham, Moses, David, and many more. We believe we are a part of God’s story, therefore, it is important for us to know our history.

I have a crazy idea. I know this may seem radical, but I believe we should study the Bible in Bible class. Call me insane, but I believe committing ourselves to the study of the word of God will transform us more than any other book. I think anytime we spend time in the Bible, we walk away a better person.

I’m not against other books. In fact, I have many religious books in my library. I am constantly reading what other Christian authors have to teach me about God and other subjects. I am indebted to many of these authors for helping to shape what I believe. Even though I have benefited greatly from other books, I still think we should study the Bible in Bible class. Why? I have several reasons. Here are a few.

Communal Bible Study is Important – I think we have overemphasized personal Bible study over the years and neglected communal Bible study. We may only get one or two opportunities to do this a week and we shouldn’t waste them. Personal Bible study is a modern idea. For many years the majority of people could not read, nor did they have access to a Bible. It is only recently that we have emphasized doing Bible study on our own. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it is a good practice, but I think communal Bible story is even more important. There is something special when the body of Christ comes together to draw out a meaning from a text. We learn from each other. We see things in the text that we may have never seen before. We are challenged and we grow together. It is important that we keep this practice alive.

Some Bibles are Covered in Dust – There are some people who may never pick up a Bible any other day of the week, so why would we take this time from them and use it to study something else? People live busy lives. We rush from one place to another. Sometimes it is hard to fit in time for reading the Bible. Our busyness is not an excuse, but the church should come to the aid of those who live busy lives. Our Bible classes should be counter-cultural. They should be a time to slow down. They are a time for us to come together and hear God speak to us through his word.

Studying the Bible Unifies Us – Some may disagree with this point. Some may point out how the Bible and people’s interpretation of it have divided people over the years. This is true. There have been divisions over Scripture and how to interpret it, but we all agree on the Bible. We agree it is our book and that it is central to the Christian faith. A person usually chooses a book other than the Bible because it fits their theological beliefs. There is likely going to be another person in class that sees things differently. The discussion in Bible class should not be about what one author has written. It should be about what is in God’s word. People will continue to disagree about how to interpret certain passages of Scripture and what some texts mean, but we agree on the Bible. When we begin with a book other than the Bible, we are beginning with someone’s interpretation (even if that book claims it is not interpretation). Why not begin with what we all agree on?

Books come and go. The Bible has been around for more than two thousand years. Christians over the centuries have looked to this book for guidance, encouragement, and hope. It is a book that tells our story. What we find in Scripture should be a central part of our faith. We should tell the stories to our kids. We should sing the psalms. We should pray the prayers that are recorded for us. We should spend time as a church studying these special words that have been handed down to us in order to draw closer to God and become more like Jesus. The Bible can transform us like no other book can.

3 Responses to “My Radical Idea for Bible Classes”

  1. I can see your point, but I think there is value in variety as well. In preaching as well as in teaching Bible class, I think people gain the most when they are exposed to different types. Even when we study topcis or an author’s material, I think we are still studying the Bible. That is y intention anyway.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Ken. I am certainly not dogmatic about this. I think if you have a healthy group of Christians, then you can study the writings of someone else and be greatly benefited by a study like that. I have taught a class on early Christian writers. I also use quotes from various authors in my classes. My point was to simply remind people of where our focus should be. I think it is dangerous when a Bible class teacher chooses a book knowing that it is going to cause disagreement.

      • I don’t differ with you. Your points are correct and valid. I just some good results come from a variety of sources. I certainly would never want God’s word to be anything but our primary source for how to live.


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