For eleven years now, I have taught a women's Bible study class in my local church. For eight years now, I have read the Bible chronologically with a private group on Facebook. Add to that mixture a hundred or so books on theology and countless conversations with a variety of believers on social media, and some might call me a Bible scholar. Early on, one of our Bible studies said the following about studying scripture,
We're not thirsty for scripture until we begin to study it, and then the thirst becomes more and more unquenchable.
I love this quote because it shows we all have to start somewhere. Growing up in evangelical America, I learned memory verses and knew all the basic stories. The gaps came in the connection these stories had to church history and how the Bible was interconnected as a whole. It's God's story from beginning to end, and now we're part of God's story too. I was a church kid and thought I knew my Bible. It might have even been a source of pride.
Lord, give me a heart to know you more and more. I realize now we can't ever really know our Bible. Glimpses and bits and pieces, but God as revealed in scripture is bigger. Beyond our understanding, so we keep getting to know him as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What a glorious ride! Some days I feel as if I know less now than I did before. It's changed my teaching style completely. I don't teach to give these women more information, rather I want to awaken their own thirst. Come sister, and drink from living water, a well that never runs dry! Read scripture to find more of Jesus.
Jen Wilkins wrote an article about this recently in Christianity Today. In "Your Devotional Is Not A Bible" she warns readers:
If devotional reading is our primary vehicle for formation, we run the risk of malformation and—worse still—of forming God himself into an idol, one who comforts without correcting, seeks relationship but not repentance, dotes but does not discipline, and is our companion but not our commander.
If 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is true, and we can received words for our life that are God-breathed, we should be standing in line to receive. This is the good stuff!
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
In all my years of teaching, I've met women like this. They are starving for God's teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness word, so they can be equipped. I praise God for the women he's allowed me to walk alongside. Let's go after it!
I read two books by women recently who hit on the same idea.
In Rise Up: Believing God When The World Is Falling Apart, author Nicole Williams has not written a typical devotional book. In her words,
It's 31 devotional prayers that model a simple method of intentional praise, even in the midst of suffering.
Full of Scripture and statements of faith, this book is more like a journal (there's reflection questions and room for journaling too). It's not light reading. No heartwarming family stories (although there's a place for that on the bookshelf). This book will take you 31 days of deep introspection with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
The other is by a first-time author Wendi Nunnery, Good Enough: Learning to Let Go of Perfect for the Sake of Holy, she tells of her experience growing up evangelical. She didn't know how to get off the faith performance wheel until God showed up real in her life, among godly friends, in the midst of an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) diagnosis, and she truly learned we're all in need of a savior. It's not about religion and its rules, it's about one who wants us to go deeper and deeper with him.
Would you join me and these women? Would you pray asking God to give you people in your own community who want to dig into scripture in a whole new way? There's more there for each of us, and we find it best when we search for it together. Any questions, shoot me an email. This one is a worthy pursuit!