When Martin Luther translated the Bible into the common language of the people almost 500 years ago, he made it possible for ordinary people to read an amazing Book previously available to only a privileged few. Today, many homes have multiple copies, and it is often easy to take the Bible for granted! But if you study the Bible together with a group, God not only uses his Word to speak to you, he uses his people as well.
“Why do you come to Bible study? How has studying the Bible impacted you?” These were a couple of questions I posed to some young women who have been involved in Bible studies the past few months.
One answered, “I love the deep connections we make with each other, and the chance to lift one another up in prayer. I also love the rich discussion about God’s Word and how it relates to us personally, together in ministry, and to our world.”
Another responded: “It reminded me and reinforced God’s foundation that I stand on. It has allowed me to face a situation this fall with more clarity and grace because I am able to look beyond myself.”
“How did the Bible study change me?” A third stated, “First and foremost it changed how I look at situations in my family and marriage. I realized that there is an unseen war going on where Satan is battling for me and is trying everything in his power to get me to question my faith, question my marriage, and question my choices. The leader broke down the full armor of God in a new way for me, a way that is so applicable and relevant to the battles we face day in and day out. Lastly, it refueled and ignited passion for purposeful prayer—prayer that is big, prayer that is bold, and prayer that is consistent.”
Others expressed enjoyment of the opportunity to study with and get to know other women from their churches better. They had a stronger awareness of the spiritual realm around us, and Bible study “reinforced the fact that the evil forces are not in control, and with God’s help we can manage our thoughts and minds.” They learned, when faced with spiritual attack, “how to stand against it in Jesus!”
Another friend shared, “It really reminded me that God is in control, and it was wonderful to meet ladies from all different walks of life and to learn through them… It was definitely a blessing that God put these people in my life in a very difficult time that I didn’t even know was going to happen. God is great!”
As New Year 2017 dawns, many of us make resolutions; plans to improve our lives; attempts to “start over” in areas we have neglected. Here’s a challenge: join a Bible study group, and look for the ways that God will bless you through his Word, and for the ways he will bless others through you!
Cheryl Olsen is the Faith & Fellowship correspondent for Women’s Ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.