Earlier this fall I signed up for a reading plan in my Bible app. It promised I could read the entire New Testament in just three months, and I decided that’s exactly what I needed: a challenging goal broken into doable steps. Surely I could follow this plan.
I eagerly read the first few chapters of Matthew on the day I clicked join and felt so determined, so excited to see what I’d learn about God, and — let’s be honest — so pleased with myself and my certain success in reading and comprehending the Bible in a brand new way.
Fast forward to the next week, where I opened the app for the first time since and saw 10 MISSED DAYS jump out from my screen. Ten days. I’d only managed to follow the Bible-reading plan for a single day before simply forgetting for a week and a half.
I shouldn’t be surprised. Life is busy and hard and distracting. Between parenting and working and scrolling through Instagram for more time than I’d like to admit, days and weeks can get away from me — and before I know it, I’ve fallen into a slump where prayers are sporadic and actual time spent in Scripture is nonexistent.
This is why I choose to join a small group or Bible study every chance I get. Without the accountability and guidance of a Bible study, I’m forced to seek out a plan for reading and then left to rely on my own discipline to actually follow the steps and carry out the plan. While I consider myself a mature believer and responsible person in general, this is one area where I never succeed on my own.
Being part of a Bible study — whether as a member or the leader, reading a book or watching videos, meeting in person or online — has been a crucial part of my faith journey for decades now. When I’m active in a group, I’m motivated to dig deeper, to listen more openly, to stay open to hearing God’s voice in new ways. Being part of a Bible study group “forces” me (in the best way) to follow through on the goals I set for myself, as our schedule and the other members of the group hold me accountable with love and grace.
It can be hard, of course. Fitting an hour or two into my already busy schedule, being vulnerable with people I may not know well, exercising my rusty skills and creating new habits for more frequent prayer, meditation, or reading — these are often required when joining a small group or Bible study. But when I’m willing to pay that price, the return is so much greater than trying to grow in my faith alone.
Several months ago, my church invited every member to join a small group to study the book of Mark. I’d gotten out of the habit of being in small group since social distancing was necessary, so even though I’m a long-time small group leader in my church, I was reluctant this time. But I signed up to lead a group and invited several friends. Over the next couple of months, we dug into the gospel of Mark and learned more about the life of Jesus than I can ever remember (and certainly deeper and more than I would have done on my own).
Because of this group, I am in the Word more often than I would be left to my own devices (or even a Bible-reading plan on my device!). I’ve been challenged to look at God and His Word differently and more deeply, and it’s truly made a difference in how I see God and my place in His plan. I think the same is true for the other ladies who join me on Monday nights.
It may not always be easy or comfortable or convenient, but doing Bible study with others is always worth it.
We love these honest words from Mary Carver, and we feel her. Are you looking for a Bible Study but don’t want the extra work of organizing or planning it? Don’t feel like digging through piles of studies looking for one that’s relevant yet hopeful, deep yet relatable? No group to gather with in your community?
We can help.
Join us weekly for Bible Study Mondays as we go through Courageous Kindness as an online community! Yep, we’re hosting an online study, and you’re invited. Each week we share the reading assignment, teaching video, reflection questions, and more. Find all the posts and conversation videos here, and feel free to go through them at your own pace.
Then, listen in as five (in)courage writers go through Courageous Kindness weekly on our podcast! In each episode this season, Anna and Joy bring their own stories to the table, Becky reads an excerpt from the study, and Becky, Grace, and Lucretia sit around a table and offer their teaching and experiences. It’s a rich, deep, and fun way to spend a few minutes every week! Subscribe wherever you stream podcasts so you don’t miss a single episode.
The weeks line up so you can read the Bible Study Monday post first and get your own reading going, then add to it when new podcast episodes drop on Thursdays.
Remember that old line, “Help us help you”? Well, friends, this is how we’re taking it to heart! Join us over these few weeks for this study on kindness. We know God will do big things in your heart along the way.Leave a Comment