All of us talk about seeking spiritual growth. But are we really serious? How serious are you?
The summer is coming to an end soon, and the fall season brings us back to our "normal" routine of back-to-school, preparations for the holidays, and a time for reapplying ourselves to our various personal goals. It is also a great time to re-examine our spiritual goals.
Let's assume that you already have-maybe some time ago-made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. What then? Well, you really began to study the Word of God and began to aspire to real growth "in the grace and knowledge" of our Savior. How's it been going?
Allow me to let you in on a "secret." One of the most rewarding involvements-and one that is virtually guaranteed to help you on your path of true spiritual growth-is a Home Bible Study. And as we return to our "back to school" routines, it is also a great time to get involved in one.
There are three "legs" on the "stool" of our Christian Walk: Study of the Word, Prayer, and the Fellowship of Believers. While facilities and formalities of the Sunday Services have become the norm for many, it was not always so. In the early church, the fellowships were, of course, in the homes of the believers. When you visit Capernaum in Israel, one of the archeological sites is what is believed to be Peter's home, which ultimately evolved into a church.
While many enjoy participating in the various styles of worship-from the majesty of traditional liturgical services to the informality of contemporary casualness-there is nothing that can compare to the warmth and intimacy of a home study group.
If you have yet to discover the rewards of a home Bible study, you are in for a pleasant surprise. The Holy Spirit seems to accomplish so much in the intimacy of the fellowship there.
In fact, it may well prove to be the "Church of the Future." The study aids and other helps available today are increasingly making the effectiveness of smaller study groups ever more productive. Give some serious prayer toward getting involved with a home study group in your own neighborhood this fall. There are few more rewarding experiences than to go through the Bible expositionally, book-by-book, in a neighborhood setting.
The Best Way (For Those Who Are Serious)!
Do you really want to learn a particular book of the Bible? Acquiring a good commentary and spending some quality time is a good way to begin. Joining a local home Bible study is another. But there is an even better way: teach it!
Pick a book of Bible that interests you and acquire several commentaries on that particular book. After reading the introductory background, it is not hard to "stay ahead" of your group, taking about a chapter each week. From time to time, a particular background item, or special issue, will emerge which can give rise to a little extra research, so a home library which might include a concordance, a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia, etc., can be helpful. (Outfitting a basic home library is not that expensive and can be one of the most rewarding things you can do.) By the time you have completed a particular book in such a program, you will know that book better than you ever dreamed possible. And the commitment of supporting your group each week may be just the self-imposed "pressure" you need to really dig into the Word.
Pray seriously about it and see what the Lord wants you to do.
For those of you who might like to undertake leading a home Bible study, we have a little booklet with some suggestions we would love to send to you if you will contact our office. We will also be holding your group up in prayer.
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