by Kevin Kindelin
Why study the Bible? Why attend Bible study? Isn’t it enough to attend church and listen to the sermon? Isn’t it the pastor’s job to teach us this stuff? The first question should be easy to answer…God’s Word is found in the Bible. That’s where we turn for answers to life’s unanswerable riddles. One down, three to go. There’s more to it than that, of course, but I have limited space here. Next: Attending Bible study allows for the exchange of ideas through learning, discussion, and fellowship, leading to a greater understanding of His Word and how it applies to our lives. Third: No! Sitting in the pew listening to and watching others do all the work is not walking in faith. Christianity is not a passive pursuit; it’s a passionate, active process and commitment to growing in faith. Last, but not least…well, I’ll get to that in short order.
It’s not always easy to find time for Bible study with all of life’s demands and responsibilities, but we’ve made it darn near convenient by placing a pastor led Bible study right smack in between the 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services on Sunday morning as part of our new service format. That brings us to the answer to ques on number four from above. Yes, it is his job. That’s why Pastor Tom (or Pastor Warren in case of emergency) is leading us in studying the Gospel of Matthew during the 9:15 a.m. Sunday morning Discipleship Hour, but it’s also our “job” to show up and participate.
“Christianity is not a passive pursuit; it’s a passionate, active process and commitment to growing in faith”
From my “humble,” personal perspective, it’s been a rousing success so far. Between 25 and 50 people have shown up each week in Fellowship Hall for an informal, interactive learning experience that encourages opinions, discussion, and even the occasional challenging of the pastor! The four questions in the first paragraph were hypothetical in nature and, hopefully, representative of what a lot of people might be thinking. This was my question to Pastor Tom: Why Matthew? “Because he was a scumbag,” he said. Excuse me…one of the apostles was a scumbag? Depends on your definition of a scumbag, “but think of it, Matthew was a hated tax collector. He was probably financially well off, but he was at the bottom of the social order in his community. Can’t we all relate to that in one way or another?” Scumbag? Yeah, I’ve been called worse. Pastor Tom also said it’s logical to study Matthew first because it’s first in the order of placement in the Bible. It wasn’t the first Gospel written, but it is the first Book of the New Testament.
The beauty of this Bible study is not only the colorful, informative slides, but the truly informal atmosphere where our input really matters, and getting up for coffee, treats, or to go to the bathroom doesn’t bother anyone. I’m no Biblical scholar, but I do study it regularly and thought I had a pretty firm layman’s grasp of it, but my eyes were recently opened to something I’d never really seen with my mind’s eye before…the topography of the settings in the Bible. I’d always thought of a barren, dessert land, but those afore mentioned slides showed me a lush, green, mountainous side of Israel that wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. It may seem like a minor detail, but it brings the distant, unrelatable past from dry and unimaginable to a vivid, almost familiar reality.
Okay, I get it. You always used to go out for brunch after the old 9:15 service. If sticking around after the traditional 8:00 service or coming early before the new 10:30 service means there’s more of an “unch” than a ”br” to your brunch, then so be it! Come join us for some quality instruction and discussion regarding the most important book in history…the Bible!