Almost a decade ago, I was sitting with a group of men at a local church watching a video lesson. The speaker on the lesson shared a thought that changed my life (for the better) and helped me to understand more of who I AM and who I AM NOT. Since then, I have made a commitment to be involved (whether leading or participating) in a group Bible study ever since. Today, I want to share 3 reasons why being in a group study is vitally important.
3 Reasons to Be In a Group Bible Study
To share my life (the good and the bad) with others.
I will only get out of the group study what I am willing to put into it. What I mean by this is, the power of the group is not that I show up and share a bunch of knowledge with the group on facts that I have learned through the years (although there are times I will share information with the group). But the really magic happens when I share my life with the group (the good and bad of my life) the struggles I have and the victories I’m experiencing. Paul talks about this with the Corinth church, that he shared his life with them, but they withheld their life from him.
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (NLT) – Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!
I wish more Bible studies would be about the group sharing their life with each other (around the Word of God) and less about the speaker taking the full time to share biblical facts. I’m probably offending some people on this, and I don’t care! We need to share our life with others (in a safe setting) and around the truth of God’s word. This is where REAL LIFE is lived.
To listen to others and pray for them.
The second aspect of being in a group study is to get to know the other members of the group at a personal level. This is a gift, and I truly mean that. As others share the good and bad of their life this becomes a gift for the group. God has called us, His children, to be His ministers of Grace to people who are hurting. The setting of a Sunday Morning sermon or Sunday School is probably not the best place for this to happen. However; a smaller group, gathered around the word of God, can be a great place for a person to share their “REAL” self with others (no mask, no pretension). That is a gift!
1 Peter 4:8-10 (NASB) – Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
The body of Christ (the church) cannot use their God given gifts effectively (serving others) if we’re not honest with each other about the trauma in our life. To withhold our real life from each other is prohibiting the church from doing what God has called them to do – to be His instruments of Grace.
To learn new insights and perspectives on life from the group members.
This last point gives me goosebumps – seriously! Without fail, when I show up and check into the group Bible study (mentally I’m all in, relationally I’m all in, spiritually I’m all in and emotionally I’m all in) and the other members of the group does them same, then the secret sauce of a Group Bible Study start to work. Someone or something is shared (not necessarily from the planned lesson) and it’s a truth that I needed to hear; it hits my heart. Something is shared that I needed to hear that day. Something is shared that is a piece of my life puzzle. Something is shared that brings me new insight. Again, as I write this, I am getting goosebumps because the power of God is working through the body of Christ (the church) to be an encouragement to those who hear. This is so exciting, and I have heard time and time again that others experience the same thing. When we withhold our life from others, or we are insecure in ourselves then the body of Christ misses out!
If you are not a part of a Group Bible study, please join one ASAP. Jump in and take a risk (share your life). If you find the study is more about one-person teaching and there is not much group sharing, then look elsewhere. But ultimately join a group study. If you cannot find one then check back later, I’ll be writing a blog post about how to start a group Bible study!
I’m a life coach and love to help churches design Bible studies that bring people together and relationally deeper. Let’s talk!