Are the Typical Women’s Bible Studies the Best Choice?
I recently met with a woman who is a relatively new Christian. Biblical Christianity is very different from her former religion, and she has a lot of questions. It is a real joy to visit with her. Her enthusiasm is infectious, her questions are incredible, her hunger to know the Lord is wonderful. She has been attending church faithfully since her conversion, and this included women’s Bible studies before they broke for the summer. At our meeting, she expressed some discouragement about what is being offered as “Bible studies” for women at her church. Ladies, I cannot stress enough the importance of actually reading the Bible, versus reading books about the Bible.
All too often, groups of women meet together under the premise of studying the Word of God and are instead reading through a poorly written, theologically vacant book with a study guide. These study guides and books can be full of feelings-oriented psychological clap-trap and have little to do with what the Scriptures actually teach. What I have found in many situations is literal heresy being promoted as biblical truth.
Personal Bible Study
Open your bible and read it if you want to know the purpose of God for your life. A woman who is regenerated by the Holy Spirit can take her Bible with excellent study notes (I recommend the MacArthur Study Bible) and a good commentary (Barnes, Henry, MacArthur) and learn what she wants to know.
It is important to pray for guidance and illumination by the Holy Spirit as you begin your study. Asking Him to reveal His truths to you and to help you not only to understand what you read, but also how you can apply it to your character and your life. It is not enough to be a hearer of the Word, you must become a doer of what you read (James 1:22-25).
Method for Bible Study
One method of studying the Bible is to repeatedly read the same book of the Bible for a month. As you do, you will continue to gain new insights and mine the gold from the passages day after day. As you continue to read week after week until you have exhausted your ability to glean anymore from the text, you will be growing in wisdom and knowledge. You will find that this is much more satisfying, because you are chewing on the meat of the Word instead of being fed watered down milk (1 Corinthians 3:2-4).
Effects of Personal Bible Study
As you continue to study the Bible, you will see changes taking place in your life because you are being affected at the level of your heart. As your heart is changed, your thoughts, beliefs, and desires will also be changing. You will have an increasing desire to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16) and before long, other women will be coming to you looking for what you have! You will become the student-as-teacher and this will be a blessing not only to you, but to everyone around you.
You will be blessed in your personal life, you’ll be a blessing to your family, and a blessing to the church. God will receive great glory and His Word will be magnified. This is what comes from studying the Word of God instead of a book about the Bible.