Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why we need Women's Bible studies

Ask the average Christian woman if she's involved in a ladies' Bible study, and the answer you probably will hear is "no".  Ask her why and the answer you will probably hear is "I'm too busy. I've got too many other things on my calendar. I don't have time."  After all, isn't going to church and small group/Sunday school enough to fill our spiritual tank up for the week?  Perhaps for some that is the case, but for most of us we need the intimacy, friendships, transparency, growth, sharpening, and stretching that comes with studying the Word with other women. There are some things worth fitting into our busy schedules.

I lead a weekly evening Bible study for women.  Our group is very diverse.  Some of the women are in their twenties; others are in their forties and fifties.  Some are career women.  Some are stay at home mothers.  Some are from a Christian family background.  Some have a testimony that is radical and abruptly life-changing.  But the one common factor for all of us is simply this: JESUS. Our love for the Lord Jesus Christ has brought this assorted group together.  We all desire to learn more of Him and His Word.  And that is enough.

I try to make the atmosphere of our Bible study group open and honest.  No need to wear a mask and pretend.  Each week we begin by talking about events of the past week, answers to prayer, and updates on different situations as we settle in around the table.  Then we sing.  I have a chorus written by a friend that I share with the group.  We get out our song sheet and begin our time together by singing.  There is something precious about our acapella voices praising the One we adore.  Next I open in prayer.  Just a few words asking the Lord to meet with us and teach us.

Each time we meet, one of the women shares her story.  I gave each one a piece of graph paper on the first night of the study, and ask them to work on their "spiritual life graph".  I share my own journey on that first evening.  I tell the women that graphing out their walk with Christ from their new birth to present day will help them to see where they're at and how they're doing as far as maturing in the Lord. I believe everyone in the group has cried when she's shared her journey.  We listen and cry with her, but we never judge. 

Finally we get busy with our study time.  We have our Bibles open and pens ready.  But I make it clear that I'm not "teaching".  I'm "leading".  The difference is this: When I teach, I'm doing all the talking.  When I lead, I'm guiding the study and inviting input and questions.  I believe we all love the discussion, because let's face it -  women love to talk!  I also believe that we learn better when we talk through a Scripture passage.  We really get to know each other as we share.  As the leader, my job is to keep the discussion on track and not allow too many tangents.  I am sure some women have had negative experiences in study groups where the leader permits one person's problems to take over the study time.  A leader must know how to gently pull the conversation back in.

Finally it's time for us to pray for one another.  This is a sacred time.  I do not want anyone to be overlooked.  So I pass around index cards.  We write one or two burdens down as well as our names.  Then we hand the card to the person on our right (or left).  We all bow our heads and begin praying out loud for the requests on the card we are holding.  As we pray in one accord, my heart soars knowing that our Heavenly Father hears and cares about each request.  When it sounds like we are all finished and the room quiets down, I close us in prayer.

As we get up from the table we hug, laugh, chat, and help clean up.  We part ways with a heart overflowing with gratitude and joy.  I email everyone the next day, sharing the prayer requests and mentioning how wonderful it is to have "sister-friends" to share this journey with.  I often write something like this: "Didn't we have a blessed time last evening as we sang, prayed, studied, shared, laughed, cried, and learned together?"

Women's Bible studies are so much more than just learning more of the Word.  And it's in these God-ordained groups that we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It's not enough to sit and receive the Truth.  We want to talk it through so we can walk it out.

And every semester when the new studies begin, I have the joy of introducing this special way of doing Bible study with another group of "sister-friends".

Mae Lynn Biggs

Love God. Love People

40699_150579208286967_100000046659953_467926_4717487_nI'm Mae Lynn Biggs and I have been a follower of Jesus for the past 28 years. My heart is to help women grow in their love for Christ and knowledge of His Word.  I love to spend time with my family, read, hike, and share from my quote collection.  I would love to hear from you- leave a comment below.


Anonymous said...

I am so proud to call her my sister. She is a wonderful example to all of us.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog and description of what "bible study" is... yes, it is the joy in the life of a believer and when we are in community together with other believers, we are just where the Lord wants us to be....love you Mae!