Thursday, May 17, 2007

Disagreement at the Bible Study?

What’s it like when YOU go to Bible study?
o Calm and predictable, but the teacher does make it interesting most of the time.
o Very calm and very predictable. Nearly boring, but I know that I ought to go.
o Irritating. Makes my blood pressure go up, but, oh well.
o Fascinating. Discussions are lively. It gives us something to apply to our lives.

What can I do?
Go prepared. Try the COMB approach and “then” and “now.”
C= Context. Read ahead of and after the verses in the study. What is being talked about?
O= Other verses. What other Scripture sheds light on the concept.
M= Meaning. Look up the meaning of key words. Is the word repeated frequently in this book?
B= Background. What has happened to bring on these events? Picture yourself in the scene.
Then: How did this teaching apply to the people in those days?
Now: How does this teaching apply to us in our time?

What if a disagreement arises?
If you’re the teacher, be thankful. It’s an opportunity to go past a routine reading of the verse. It’s an opportunity to display patience with each other. It’s a challenge for each of us to dig deeper.
If you’re one of the members of the group, be thankful. You can demonstrate a good attitude while developing your communication skills. You can show initiative in study before the next meeting.

Size it up.
It’s too bad when the teacher or the class feels it must press on to complete a certain number of pages. This may rob us from some honest questions and helpful discussion.
Is this important enough? Does anyone else in the group feel it’s worth the extra time and effort?
Can it be better covered a few weeks from now? Consult the calendar. Let’s all do some homework.
Is there anyone who we could invite to share knowledge or first-hand experience?
How can I share with the others?
1. Clarify what the disagreement is. Can you put it into writing?
2. What version of the Bible are you using?
3. What version of the Bible are the others in the group using?
4. What other verses use the same word or the same concept?
5. Read the chapter before and the chapter after: note the context.
6. Have you checked Strong’s Concordance? Or other concordance?
7. Who is the “authority” you are quoting? What are his/her qualifications?
8. Are there other books that you recommend to us?
9. Make written notes to hand out to the others.
10. Be a good listener when others are speaking. Ask good questions, too.

What if we all cannot agree?
• Be thankful for God’s goodness and mercy, since we are all less than 100% brilliant.
• Be quick to encourage each other.
• Take into consideration how much you have been growing, spiritually.
• Decide if further study and discussion might be helpful at this time.

How important is it?
Keep in mind that there are important, life-affecting, eternal truths that we must receive as we embrace our Savior. Other issues are probably interesting, but could be mainly historical, or helpful for children, or useful for teaching new believers.
Be a Berean. Read what they did in Acts 17:11.
Read and study of the Bible with another believer. Both of you can be blessed.
“As iron sharpens iron,
a friend sharpens a friend.”
(Proverbs 27:17, NLT)

In closing . . .
A sermon is not enough. A TV program can’t do it for you. The stories from childhood Sunday School can not give you an adult perspective.
Bible study is not a time-filler, a routine meeting. For the believer it is not optional.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete,
thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17, NKJV)

Welcome the Lord and His Word into your life. We need God’s presence, His empowering, and His grace to learn to do what pleases Him.

By Elaine Hardt ©2007