“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
– Psalm 119:105 (ESV)
This past week I began a seminar on how to study the Bible. I was super excited to see we had 14 small groups sign up and attend. It didn’t take long for me to get the message that this is something we definitely needed to do. As groups would huddle together to complete various exercises phrases like, “I’m stuck
,” “We’re not sure what to do
,” and “Boy, this is hard
,” permeated the evening. Contrary to what some may think, the frustration was a good sign because it highlighted the fact that we were teaching people to use tools which maybe some, if not most, hadn’t really used before – and yet these tools were for the most foundational of spiritual disciplines, the study of the Bible. In a culture that is increasingly becoming more and more post-Christian, I would think seminars like this would be essential for spiritual formation. Just another reason that frustration and learning how the study the Bible go hand-in-hand.
Bible study done well takes work. It is usually measured in long hours not short minutes. It forces us to be an active thinker instead of a passive recipient. It demands concentration, and sometimes that’s a tall order for generations who’ve been raised by ADD television programming which pounds our brains with a thousand images a minute. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us that struggle and difficulties arise after someone puts a passage of Scripture before us and says, “Study this text. Observe, interpret and apply what you read.”
Again, the discomfort vocalized last evening only served to remind me that we’re doing a good work. We’re trying to get Followers of Jesus to learn to feed themselves – to cook their own food, properly handle utensils and enjoy the feast God has for them in his Word. Frankly, I know of nothing more important for a person’s spiritual growth than that! So I’ll lead another session Thursday night and remind myself that in helping people overcome their fears and frustrations of Bible study by giving them tools for that very work and being patient with the entire process, we’re putting people in a position to receive God’s grace in a way they may never have experienced before.
And that’s definitely something worth working through.