Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Exploring Faith: BIble Study (A Guest Post)


One of my favorite places on earth is my church--not just any church--but my church. The First Presbyterian Church in Haddonfield is a family for my family. It is a place where we grow closer to God, where we closer to our community of faith and learn how to take our faith into the world.

I've always kept Matthew 18:20 close to my heart: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I among them." Church and worship does not just happen on Sundays with a Minister: it is a constant.

This week, my Mom-to-Mom Bible study begins. I could tell you all the reasons why I love that study, but my friend and fellow First Presby member does a much better job of talking about why Bible Study is a core of faith. 

Deb Nussbaum is a fantastic resource for mothers at the beginning of their motherhood journey. She is not a member of mom-to-mom; but she has led and participated in Bible Studies for 20 years. Deb is also a writer, a professor and all around stellar lady. Many thanks for her guest post. 


About 20 years ago, as another young mother and I pushed baby strollers in Bucks County, my friend asked me a question. Why, she asked, with all the pressures of daily life, did I spend two or three mornings a month in a Bible study? Surely, that was one of the demands that could be expunged from the calendar. After all, I went to church on Sunday and I often volunteered my time. What could I be gaining from these study sessions?

I’m embarrassed to confess that I did not give a very Christian answer. I actually snapped back at her saying, “anyone who goes to church should be studying the Bible. Why be part of a church if you don’t know what your faith is about?”  Looking back, her question needed a better and gentler answer.

After more than two decades of attending Bible studies, and sometimes leading them, I now have a better response to that question. To me, Bible study is what brings me closest to God and closer to the people I worship alongside every Sunday.

Some people connect through music, and for some, mission work is where they feel they are walking next to the Lord. And there are times when a sermon makes me feel like God is giving me a personal message.

But Bible study, to me, is the exploration of the core of our faith. It is reading what I believe is God’s written and inspired word and then questioning and challenging yourself to see if your life is fitting in with the tenets set up in the scriptures. 

We are surrounded by messages both accurate and inaccurate telling us what God has to say. I prefer to go to the source and see for myself. But that’s not enough; I also find that the conversations with those I study with make my faith stronger and more meaningful. We discuss the Bible, and we don’t always agree on every interpretation, but we are finding our way. And we end in prayer for each other and others around the globe. Our relationships are the ties that bind because our faith seals our friendships.  

I recently asked Dr. Dan Colombi to help me define why we study. “The Bible has transformed the world,” he said. “The Bible is our connection to history’s most important figure: The Jesus story. It’s not an easy read, but it’s a great read. Try it, you’ll like it.”

2 comments:

  1. Knowing that the Bible is actually God's words to me, his personal letter addressed to me, motivates me to get in it. It isn't easy for sure--for me that's more because it is like holding up a mirror and that's not always pretty. But as much as it allows me to see myself more clearly, I also see Him more clearly.

    Thanks for sharing here.

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  2. Every week, for the last 3 years, I meet with a group of people and we study the Bible. Through this group, I have passed from a doubter / questioner, to a baptized believer. This group is my family. Recently, some things have happened that are not good and our group is now weathering a huge storm, BUT our root in the Bible is helping us to not only weather it, but to grow closer to God and following His will, and to grow tighter as a family. Hard? Yes. Painful? Yes? But our discussions, debate, questions, and constant reference to the word of God has and will bring us through. It's more important than anything else you can study. :)

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