I have gone to a Bible study every week since I moved back to Arkansas called Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), and I really love it.
I’ve studied the Bible a lot of different ways with different groups and different materials…with just women, with men and women, with children…with books studies, with topical studies, with discussions about books written about the Bible.
There are as many different ways to study the Bible out there as there are personalities.
So what is special about BSF?
Let me tell you. It’s very very straightforward…just you and the Bible. You read the scripture. You answer your questions. It’s set up to do a little bit every day.
You go to bible study on Wednesday. You discuss your questions in a discussion group. (not a small group…a discussion group…I’ll come back to that.) You hear a lecture from the teaching leader, which at my class is very good. (My teaching leader’s name is Carla and she is precious).
After the lecture, you pick up your questions. You go home and start over. It’s routine. It’s consistent. It can even be monotonous. But, I can honestly say that I have not ever learned more about the Bible or studied as consistently in another Bible study setting.
If you stay in BSF (a lot of people drop out), you just do it. You kind of get lost if you don’t, so you just plug through.
As far as my spiritual journey goes, I have had a lot of ups and downs but one thing I’ve learned is that I am pretty much guaranteed for DOWN if I’m not reading God’s word. It’s that simple. I can still be down anyway, but I don’t have a chance without the words of God pouring into me consistently. BSF sets me up for success as far as studying the Bible daily.
Also, I love the preschoolers’ program (ages 2-6). It’s so good. This spring Ben has enjoyed his last season in the children’s program at BSF and I just cannot say enough about how wonderful it is. I will definitely take simon when he turns 2. Again, very bible based, very consistent. The teachers take so much time preparing to teach the bible story. And they really love those little ones, praying for them and encouraging the mommies. It is such a great ministry.
Every week at BSF, they pass out these little invitation cards and strongly encourage us to invite people to come to BSF. So why haven’t I told you about BSF?
Why haven’t I invited you?
Well these cards are very small and I can’t quite fit all my disclaimers about BSF onto the margins of this little card. So I thought I would invite you now. But first I will tell you some of the things you might not love about BSF, so that you will not get mad at me when you show up and you are ushered to your seat. That’s right, you will be told where to sit. Just like kindergarten. And that brings me to my next point. There are sort of, a lot of, well, for lack of a better word…rules. What’s crazy is that the rules that really bug me also contribute to creating the environment for consistent Bible study that I love.
For example, you can’t talk if you don’t do your lesson. And you can’t talk about anything except your lesson. That is why it is a discussion group, not a small group and definitely not a support group. You are talking about the lesson. No one is saying what their pastor said last week or worse, what Oprah or Dr. Phil said last week. I appreciate this because everyone is motivated to complete their lesson and I love hearing what the other ladies got out of their lesson. They are all from way different walks of life than me, which is another great thing about BSF. Varying denominations, ages, races, spiritual maturity.
But all these rules can be a little intimidating. Especially because on your first visit to BSF, you don’t attend a discussion group. You go to what is called Introduction Class…also known as a boring recitation of the history of BSF and all the rules and guidelines. This class is more than I can bear, and I am sorry to send you to it, but you must endure it if you are going to enjoy the wonderful benefits of being in BSF. All I can say is, endure it with a friend and maybe you could get some material if you worked for a comedy channel or club that needed material for making fun of Christians. Ok, that is a little harsh, but really. It is also true. I have said that I wish somehow BSF could sort of ease up on things like strict attendance records and a very short window of opportunity to get your lesson for the following week, because it seems to hinder a lot of people from coming to something that is actually really good. But the legalism must preserve the whole thing from becoming fluffy. And incidentally, if you are a BSF-er, you kind of need something fluffy on the side to balance you out. Because bsf is not fluffy. It is anything but.
In fact, it is best to approach it as signing up for a seminary class, because, if you wanted to, you could get as much or more out of it as some people get out of a seminary education. And unlike seminary, it is free.
So consider yourself both invited and warned. The next two wednesdays are introduction classes for the fall BSF study, which is Matthew. C’mon matthew! May 2nd and 9th. at Cornerstone Bible Fellowship on Warden Road. 9:10am. If you wander in around 9:15 or so, come stand in the back with Whitney and me and enjoy the singing of a very old and noncopyrighted hymn an octave higher than is humanly possible. You’ll love it, I promise!
Update, January 2013:
I wrote this post about BSF six years ago, and I need to add that BSF has become kinder and gentler with the rules about lessons and attendance and such. It is still the very best way I know to study the Bible and now all of my kids have graduated from the wonderful preschool program, which makes me a wee bit sad. Some days I think I will just wrangle up a preschooler to take along to class.
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