Over 100 First Free women will be gathering on Tuesday mornings and evenings this fall. Why? They’re going to the age-old, tried and true, classic Bible study—we call it Tuesday Connection. For decades, for generations, for hundreds of years, God’s people have gathered in one way or another to engage his Word together.
So, why are we gathering around the Word like this? Studying, doing homework, praying through it, talking about it together? Isn’t this a little…“old-fashioned”? I’m sure we could think of several reasons, but there are three we want to focus on this fall.
First, our Bible study is about knowing and discovering God with our minds. To think like the first graders in my Sunday school class, “Who is he? What is he like?” John Calvin’s massive book entitled The Institutes of the Christian Religion begins with something very profound. Before he goes into the details of the Christian faith, the very first sentence in chapter one declares, “Nearly all wisdom we possess...consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But, while joined by many bonds, which one precedes the other is difficult to discern.” He goes on to explain that having a right knowledge of ourselves can only be found by first having a right knowledge of God.
Our Bible study isn’t about what study or book we “want” to do or “feel like” doing, it isn’t about getting “emotional highs,” and it isn’t about solving all our problems in one fell swoop. This is about knowing God through the primary way he has chosen to reveal himself to his people: his Word. It is about beholding the great I AM and to grow in our comprehension of him!
Second, our Bible study is about responding to God with our hearts. After getting a grasp of who God is through his Word, the writer of Psalm 119 declares that he will walk in the Word, obey it, stick with it, keep it, submit to it, observe it, believe it, trust it, choose it...the list goes on. The point is his adoration of God goes hand in hand with his adoration of the Word, because the words adored were breathed out and spoken by the God adored. Now, after knowing God through his Word, the Psalmist understands life more clearly and can filter the details of life appropriately in light of them. The emotions of his heart are seen, felt, and experienced as the Word’s wisdom—God’s wisdom—guides and shelters him; he knows peace, he feels compassion, he understands suffering, and he is confident in his God.
We want to be women of the Word like this! As we grow in our knowledge of him, we will be able to filter our emotions, our sin, our predicaments, our problems, and our desires in light of who he is and what he has done for us. I love this quote by Rosaria Butterfield, who spoke at the 2014 Women’s Gospel Coalition Conference: “Christians are called to filter the facts of their lives, the real things that happen to us, through the master narrative of the Bible. Because there is a difference between what is real, and what is true.” We want to know the Truth! Because this Truth is what sets us free, indeed, to truly understand the reality of life here and eternal.
Lastly, our Bible study is about bearing fruit. As we respond with our hearts to what our minds have comprehended, we will proclaim his excellencies with our lives, and be equipped to minister the Word in various forms to our families, friends, coworkers, church members, and even our grocery store clerks. We’re here to encourage one another to strive to be prepared by growing our knowledge of God’s will, God’s ways and God’s purposes. From that personal growth, we will spur one another on in faith as we walk together among our church body and as we faithfully pray each week together for these areas of our lives. As his Word ministers to us and equips us, he will use our slow and steady growth to minister, encourage, exhort, and serve the people in our lives. We will see broken hearts mended, lost lives found, entangled sin cast off, and weak made strong. Eternal, Kingdom fruit will be born around us!
This semester, as 100 of us remember what this old-fashioned Bible studying is all about, we want to be determined to engage our minds, our hearts, and our lives, so that we might behold the One who has called us his own. As we do, we will see his Spirit doing its work not only among us, but out and beyond us! Bible study isn’t just about us. It’s about God, his people, and his plans.
Pray for us! We desperately want to be women of the Word, and we need God to give us a mind and vision for this great task of knowing him and bearing fruit for him!