Opinion

Conducting Bible Study Made Easy

I currently work as a part-time Bible volunteer for the Voice of Prophesy (VOP). In essence, my job description entails enrolling people in one of the many courses from VOP and conducting regular Bible studies with them as they go through the courses. Doing this work has been thoroughly fulfilling, yet very challenging at the same time. The hardest part has been engaging non-Christians, especially within the post-modern context with which we live today. I prayerfully sought answers and guidelines as to how I can go about navigating Biblical engagements with non-Christians. Although I’m sure I still have a lot more to learn, I thought I should share my present findings.

The first step is to develop meaningful relationships. More often than not, Christians tend to exclusively have other Christians within their circles. While this may have its perks, I don’t advise it. Make friends and acquaint yourself with non-Christians too. This is to be done intentionally and with prayer, to avoid straying from Biblical beliefs.  It has been well documented that friendship evangelism is the most effective form of evangelism. However, this is not to be used as a form of manipulation or trickery but a genuine display of the Christ-like love. This kind of approach helps people have an experience of Jesus even before truly knowing Him. We know that Jesus used this method effectively while on earth.

Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with people as one who desired their good. He showed sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He invited them, “Follow Me” {Ministry of Health  and Healing 73.4}

Secondly, I’ve found that the primary issue that some have with Christianity is Christians and not Christ. In conversations with some of the most intellectual atheists I’ve met, I’ve found that most of them are Biblically illiterate and this has honestly worked to my advantage. Because of this, I have learned to always start my studies with them by introducing and learning about Christ thoroughly. At first, I assumed that the basics about Christ were well known and that rehashing this was not necessary. Boy, was I wrong! In my engagements, I’ve found that many know of Christ but don’t really know Christ. Due to this, when conducting Bible studies I always start with the Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and/or John). If I know I won’t have the opportunity to conduct several Bible studies with that individual, I typically just go through the book of John. This is my favorite of the gospels, as I believe it has a more intimate and better coverage of Christ and His time on earth.

Although I grew up Christian, Seventh-day Adventist to be specific, there was a time in my late teens and very early twenties where I questioned my faith and had a lot of doubts about Christianity. It was by reading the book of John and The Desire of Ages that I found my faith again and it was stronger than it ever was before. This personal experience showed me that pointing people to Christ unfiltered truly is all that is necessary for conversion. Although I have yet to have any of the people I have been ministering to in the last few months decide to get baptized, I have read enough books and spoken to enough people with personal experience to know that this is true.

Thirdly, pray. Pray a lot for those with whom you are engaging in Bible study. The devil will fight the efforts God is making through you at every turn. I have had people who were very intrigued and interested in learning about Christ suddenly lose interest, have their loved ones reject them for wanting to learn, experience crisis after crisis such that they are unable to meet for study, etc. Pray hard that the seeds being planted through your engagements create strong roots and that no strides made by the devil destroy the fruits that will stem from them. Lastly, understand that this is not about you. When conducting Bible studies with people the end goal is that they commit themselves to Christ and remain within the fold. The unfortunate truth is that you might not see that come to fruition. You might be a puzzle piece to a bigger plan that the Lord has for this person’s journey. Therefore, do not be discouraged if people just discontinue their studies with you or if circumstances prevent engagement. Your role might have just been to plant and/or water a seed.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20

By: Cwayita Madala

Photo caption: Cwayita conducting  a Bible study session

Photo Credit: Tariro Mufunde

 

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