Several years ago when I felt the desire to study the Bible to draw closer to God, a friend told me about BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and encouraged me to check it out. I was told they went through one book or topic per school year and they were preparing to start a study on Genesis. It seemed like the perfect place for me to start, the first book of the Bible. So I joined!
At BSF they encourage you not to read commentaries until after you’ve done each study. This way, God can speak to you as you read each lesson and reveal what He has for you. I thought this was good at the time; the less reading there was the better. A couple of months into it, I was struggling to understand what the lesson was about, so I ‘googled’ the question. What I thought would be helpful wasn’t, it only confused me further.
I find it best to read one section at a time, looking over the questions and asking for God to open my heart and mind to receive what He desires me to know. What do you do that helps you study and retain the Bible when you read it?
I’m thankful for BSF because it keeps me in the word daily. At BSF I have a group of ladies that I see every week to discuss the lesson with. It’s a time to talk about what the chapter is about and what God is revealing to us through it. We also get to share how God is working in our lives, changing us, as we study His word.
I’m thankful for the structure of BSF. We study the lesson individually and then discuss it in a group. We then listen to a lecture about it and then receive notes to read that help us tie it all together. The discussion is my favorite part. Hearing the perspective of others opens my mind and heart to God. Each week, there’s a nugget from God, I receive from someone who shared. I enjoy the lecture because it helps me understand how to apply it to my life. The notes pull out the facts of the lesson, list other scripture that goes with it and offers helpful analogies to get the lesson from my mind to my heart and used in my daily life.
I’m thankful for the prayers and encouragement I receive weekly from the ladies God has surrounded me with at BSF. I’m thankful they help point me to God, not myself. They bring smiles to my face and joy in my heart.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for opportunities to study your word with others in Bible studies. I pray you would create a way for everyone who desires to study your word to do so, safely, Amen.