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Bible Drill

I grew up in church…bla bla bla…insert a bunch of stuff pastors say about how religious and rule-based their lives were in the pews of yesteryear. One thing churches who are “relevant” today have a danger of tossing aside with the rest of suit & tie Sundays is the habit of studying the scriptures. Dont get me wrong, we have done great strides to contextualize the gospel message to a 21st century context and I am very grateful to be at a church seeking to do just that without watering it (the gospel) down one ounce.

What I am talking about is the noticeable increase in materials (most noticeable to me in the form of small group studies) that deal with life circumstance topics such as marriage and kids, as well as spiritual topics. What concerns me is that at the same time I am noticing a huge derth in the publication of expositional materials. That is, materials or studies that walk a small group through a book of the bible. Im not saying that these two are directly connected though I do suspect if good authors are writing about one thing they are not at the same time writing about another.

I think there is a good place for some of the material being printed and I dont want to get off on a “publisher” rant. Instead, Im going to use my remaining words to exhort our generation to continue studying the scriptures above all else. The scriptures are the only “materials” in the Christian world that we believe have truly life-changing power because they are the only materials “breathed out by God” (2 Tim 3:16). They are fully sufficient for sustaining and growing a christian towards spiritual maturity.

So to you who may be a small group leader I challenge you in your “curriculum” search to start with the scriptures and when you get tired of the studying the bible, talk to your pastor. I look forward to reading in the years to come the insight God is giving the “relevant” pastor-theologians of our day in their study of the scriptures. Here is my plea: Take us through the Psalms! Through the Prophets! Through Paul’s Letters! THROUGH THE GOSPELS!

The greatest small group study ever is recorded in Luke 24. Jesus reveals himself to his disciples and tells them how all of the OT scriptures are written about HIM. He explains the scriptures to them.

So from one small group pastor: Thank you to the many authors writing studies outside the box that are finally tackling issues from a biblical perspective. Your work has been long overdue. Let us now call those same great minds to the challenge of creating book-based bible studies with the same excellence they have displayed so far!

A Caveat: we have a good supply of academics who are writing bible commentaries. We do not need more of these. What we need are teaching materials that help people learn to study the bible for themselves. I am afraid this is a task specific to the pastor-theologian who God has gifted to “teach” the scriptures.

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