So at uni, I go to CU. Every Tuesday, our college groups meet together and study the Bible, with the aim of equipping us for mission on campus. I also go to Church Bible study, which also meets on a Tuesday (albeit at lunchtime rather than the evening), but has a very different focus. It’s a completely different style as well, and I appreciate that.
So then I come home from uni and my weekly pattern of Bible study is disrupted. But then I get invited to two different home groups on the same night and have to pick which one…
Each of the groups I’ve been to has a very different approach to Bible study.
In CU, the leaders prepare a set of questions and the focus is on the CU as a whole.
At Church, we read through a passage, and people will mention different things that jumped out at them, and we can have deep discussions about something that initially seemed so inconsequential but are actually deeply significant (see Doves), or we could move on quite quickly. There are no pre-prepared questions, it’s just a matter of what we hear when reading the passage.
At home group, we were going through a Diocesan Lent course, which included plenty of questions but was mostly focused on the Church and how the Church would seem to non-Christians. And how we as members of the Church display the characteristic of (in this case) courage. Other studies in the series included generosity and joy.
These three groups are all very different. Meeting with a very different demographic, discussing very different things, in very different contexts. And yet all of them are relevant.
Something that we often ask in Church Bible study is “why”. Why did Matthew mention this? Why does Isaiah emphasise that? Why is Ecclesiastes in the Bible? And the answer boils down to this: Because it’s relevant. Sometimes it’s relevant to the context of the passage. Sometimes it’s relevant in define exactly who someone is. Sometimes it’s scarily relevant to the world we live in today.
The Bible has so much wisdom, and is so rich and varied – studying the same passage 5 times could bring up 5 different take-away points. And that’s the joy of studying it with a variety of different groups. The different demographics will always come up with different ideas, and it’s all valuable in coming to know God more.