Over the past year, I’ve had some wonderful experiences in my Bible study groups. I’ve had an evening study at my home, as well as a Coffee Break group at my church. Both groups have been wonderful places of learning for me, and for others in the group. I’ve been surprised at what God has done, in the lives of those who seek His face, by studying His word. God has changed people in this process.
Recently, in my conversations with people, I’ve had some push-back about Bible Study. Is it really making any difference? Haven’t we been studying the Bible for years? Isn’t it really more about acting out our faith? We really need to spend more time reflecting. So we need to act, and reflect?
Admittedly, many of us have been in a Bible Study, where the questions of a simple study guide may have left us feeling empty. We get the sense that there is nothing new under the sun; we’ve heard it all before.
Some friends of mine travelled to Israel this spring, with the concept of Following the Rabbi. I regret that I’ve not made the trip – perhaps one day. However, I do understand the concept of following in the footsteps of the rabbi to the point of breathing in the dust of his path. A disciple follows his every move, turns where he turns, while listening to his teaching.
I’ve been reflecting on this concept of rabbi…are we called to be rabbi’s for another? I believe that we are, as we disciple others along the journey. We also ought to seek out rabbis on our journey – often our pastors can serve that role, as they teach us weekly from scripture. In our own way, we ought to be sharing the truth of scripture with others as well, as we go about our business, and make disciples. (Matt28:19-20)
I heard a quote attributed to Eugene Peterson that said “for rabbis, it’s more important to study the Bible, than to obey the Bible, because if we study it wrongly, we’ll obey it wrongly; then our obedience becomes disobedience.”
This leads me to my initial thought about Bible Study. I believe it is of utmost importance, and must be central in our journey with others. However, I also believe that the role of the rabbi is key. Our relationship with God’s Word, and with others is key. Eugene Peterson says it’s not enough to study the Bible, but we need enter into it, and let it become of part of us. I would say the same about our relationship with a few disciples – we need to enter into their lives as well. The two go hand in hand; relationship with God through His Word, and a relationship with others in the journey.
Do we care enough about those we journey with, to develop a relationship, and to share with them our relationship with God through His Word? I pray that we do.