Bible Study Experiences

What Can I Expect When Attending a Bible Study?

A Next Level View of The Bible

When you mention the words “Bible study” and based on your experience, a couple of ideas could possibly emerge. For example, a Bible study held at your church will more than likely facilitated by a pastor or a more experienced person. Another example would be one’s personal Bible study where you sit alone, maybe in a coffee shop, to read and study. Both examples are valid when it comes to studying the Bible. The question is how many of these examples can we identify to gain a good starting point upon which to build with our goal of taking Bible study to the next level?  

Experience 1 – Private Bible Study with a Bible SME
Not everyone will have this experience. However, often we get the opportunity to share in a private or small group Bible Study with a Bible SME. SME stands for Subject Matter Expert. When it relates to the Bible, there are a number of people who are considered Bible Study SMEs, but not limited to the following: pastors, Sunday School teachers, other teachers, ministers, deacons, deacon’s wives, elders, youth leaders, and other church leaders. A private Bible study may look like this. The Bible Study may be facilitated by your pastor at a convenient restaurant or coffee shop with a limited number of attendees. It wouldn’t be surprising to have as few as two people in the group.

Experience 2 – Curriculum Based Bible Study
I call this new age Bible Study. Today more than ever, there are many curriculum-based Bible studies available. One can use and follow this curriculum for a more structured Bible Study. In other words, you have a guide to follow as opposed to turning to a page in the Bible and just digging in. In this type of Bible study, a person or the group recommends the curriculum that the group will use. 

Experience 3 – In-home Family Oriented Bible Study
Generally, a person’s first introduction to Bible Study happens at home. We don’t actually refer to it as a Bible study. With this definition, can you remember your first Bible? There is nothing like reading from a children’s Bible. Pamela and I have kept all of Tamia’s various Bibles in a special place as a reminder. Children can be so excited to hear its stories. For parents, it is an enjoyable moment to share one’s faith with a child.  

Experience 4 – Your Own Personal Study Bible – Bible Study
At some point in a person’s faith walk, it is not uncommon for them to obtain a study Bible. A person will tend to find a Bible that can, (1) answer their questions and (2) take them into a deeper, more involved study of scripture. For many, we learn that just because somebody thinks they know something, that doesn’t mean they automatically know something. Studying the Bible for oneself in a personal study becomes a next step. In my words, a person begins to go to the next level in his or her study of the Bible.

Experience 5 – Topical Bible Studies
Most people are familiar to some degree of topical Bible studies such as women, men, marriage, financial, love, peace, etc. The topics for a topical Bible study as you can imagine can be limitless. How this works is by selecting a topic and studying what the Bible has to say on that topic. 

Experience 6 – Discipleship Bible Studies
The best way I can explain this type of Bible study is to rename it to a mentoring Bible study. It is a Bible study designed to mentor those who in my terms desire to go to the next level. When I was a teenager, we had a group called “Crusaders.” It was basically a discipleship Bible study. It was for teenage boys only. An experienced adult (mentor) taught us from the Bible, Bible study. Today such group aren’t as structured or as formal, but either way when people are being mentored with a focus on Bible study this is what it means to have discipleship Bible study.

These six experiences give us a baseline when defining what normal Bible study looks like. While there might be other experiences that we are missing, for the most part, I think we have covered many of the most common. The baseline helps with establishing normal patterns and behaviors. Then we can ask the question, how do we get beyond this? That’s the only question I ever asked regarding anything. How do I get beyond this?

My experiences in normal Bible study have been that sometimes the Bible study groups can get really deep. You know what I mean? I need it to be simple, so that I can gain an understanding. In studying the Bible, one should be intentional. We should be intentional about reading God’s word, open to understanding, and absorbing it in our heart, mind, and soul. Regardless of the style of Bible study, people who attend are usually after one thing. They want to know more about the Bible. In other words, as opposed to leaving discouraged, confused, and disappointed, which occurs normally, people want to know what the Bible has to offer. They are after what the Bible has that can alter life for the better. The question then becomes are we any good at providing a person with a good experience of what the Bible has to offer?

Questions: What is your experience when it comes to Bible study? Can you offer a different experience than the six named above?

Highlights from the Bible (Job)
By the way, it is pronounced “Jobe.” Job is one of those books that creates a little bit of an issue for people. Its placement falls within the third collection of Old Testament Books, the Wisdom Collection. Therefore, in a traditional Bible, you find it around the midsection of the Old Testament portion of the Bible, which we will explain all of this later. Job, however, in the historical sense should fall in line with the middle portion Genesis. This is important to note but shouldn’t impact our study of it. I only bring this up now because we are highlighting a book of the Bible in each installment, as close to the order they happened historically.
With that said, let’s highlight just a few of the happenings you will find and can look forward to as you begin your study of the book, called JOB.  

  • Job is found to be one the most righteous men that ever lived.
  • God offers Job to Satan as a test and testimony. 
  • Job’s fears become reality and he gets the opportunity to question God directly.
  • Job loses everything including his family. 
  • His life is restored after he prays. 

Uncommon Truth to Pique Your Interest (Humans Interactions with God)

“But you are wrong, and I will show you why.
For God is greater than any human being.
(Job 33:12 NLT)

For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.
He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds.
He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings.
He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride.
He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.
(Job 33:14-18 NLT)

Just like “Job” in the Bible ordinary people are wrong, they often think in ways that make themselves superior to God.

“For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.”

Popular thinking would have you believe that God isn’t speaking to you. When in fact, He is speaking, and you just don’t realize it.

“He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds.”

In fact, God uses various means of communication to get through to you. He uses dreams, visions, and even ideas. He’ll even speak to you in your sleep.

“He whispers in their ears and terrifies them with warnings.” 

God will give you warnings of things that are heading your way or will impact your life. Although this could terrify you, it is meant to warn you and prepare you so that you won’t be afraid or terrified.

“He makes them turn from doing wrong; he keeps them from pride.”

God is interested in turning you away from what’s wrong. He also wants to keep you from pride –the belief that you have done anything on your own. 

“He protects them from the grave, from crossing over the river of death.”

Check this out, contrary to popular thinking, God is protecting you from the grave and saving you from your death.

Resources | Summary of the Book
If you would like to hear a summary of the book of Job, please see the video we discovered at The Bible Project

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