The Purpose of Bible Study

Christianity is not a selfish way of life.  Christianity is all about giving, not receiving.  Although we study the Bible to personally know God, as a result of that study we learn our true mission is to help others know God.  Jesus commanded we make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) and our focus as believers should be to grow in knowledge and wisdom enough to share our faith with others.  As you study the Bible, one of your primary objectives should be to carefully consider how you might share what you are learning with others.  As we continue our search for great Bible teachers to help us fill in the details of our Bible understanding, I want to introduce you to five authors who have written specifically about spreading the Good News.

Reborn to be Wild

In the late 60s into the 70s, enthusiastic young Christians formed into roving bands of believers traveling to public venues together to share the Gospel.  You would run into them at the airport, at concerts, in the park, just about anywhere.  They became known as Jesus Freaks.  Ed Underwood, pastor of the historic Church of the Open Door in Southern California, became a Christian during what has been termed the Jesus Movement.  His book is a wonderful account of that experience punctuated with his expert knowledge of the Bible.  Reading this book will give you a true understanding of what revival is all about.  In addition, you will hopefully be inspired to participate in your own revival, sharing the Gospel at every opportunity.

The Lost Art of Disciple Making

In previous generations, Christian churches seemed to make a more concerted effort to help believers grow into dedicated disciples.  Leroy Eims, who has a long career training disciples, workers, and leaders all over the world, believes this process needs to be a structure built into every church.  Reading his book will provide you with a meticulously laid out system for developing disciples, and for developing those who train disciples, and for developing those who are leaders of discipleship ministries.  In Leroy’s mind, churches should be generating an army of disciples, discipleship trainers, and discipleship leaders year-after-year.  One of the key components of Leroy’s system is finding a good mentor.  This is something we all should consider as we study the Bible.

Reimagining Evangelism

Sharing your faith doesn’t have to be difficult.  Rick Richardson has devised a method of evangelism that doesn’t involve memorizing great numbers of Bible verses or shouting through a bullhorn. His method is more of an “entice through example” technique.  If you are letting God’s light shine through you, people will naturally want to know where your joy is coming from.  Rick’s concept is to take people on a journey of discovery.  Show them the benefits of knowing God and then point the way for them to share that experience.  Reading Rick’s book will give you a completely new perspective on faith sharing and provide you with many examples of precisely how his new system works.

Urban Disciples

The deeper you get into your Bible study the more you will want to share what you’ve learned with others.  We’ve already explored some of the ways you might do that, but now I’d like to take this all a step further and consider the possibility of gathering a group together to share the Gospel in a larger context.  Janell Paris and Margot Eyring have years of experience working in urban ministry, sharing the Gospel, joining in community service projects, and building worship venues.  Their book is a fantastic workbook that walks you through 24 lessons designed to help you build and develop an urban ministry with a group of friends.  Absolutely without question, the greatest lessons you learn from your Bible study will be made real, and multiplied a hundred times, the moment you put them to work in ministry.  This may not be the right step for you today, but it is something you should consider as you continue to move closer to God.

Study the Bible to Help Others

As you go through your Bible study, do your best to take the focus off of yourself and focus on how you can help others with the knowledge and wisdom you are developing.  You will do well to find one or more mature Christians as mentors who can support you in your study efforts.  Christian growth transpires in relationships.  Don’t isolate yourself inside your Bible study; move outward as soon as possible in discussions with your mentors and in discussions with those that you are ready to mentor yourself.  The moment you are ready, go out and spread the Good News.

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”  Psalm 96:3 (NIV)

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