Is group Bible study worthwhile?
We know that studying the Bible is vitally important in the Christian life. The Bible is God's Word to us. Paul instructed Timothy, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). Paul later wrote, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Certainly studying God's Word on our own as well as receiving sound Bible teaching from pastors and other Christian leaders is a key aspect of learning how to "rightly handle the word of truth." However, another fruitful method of studying the Bible is to do so in groups. Group Bible study provides many benefits.
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When we study in groups, we profit from multiple insights and perspectives. The amount of knowledge and experience may be broader than when we study on our own, and we can gain much by learning from others. We can also serve others by sharing our knowledge and experience. Group study also offers a place for discussion and application of what we are learning. When we talk about what we are learning with others, it tends to become more imbedded. We can ask one another questions, share real-life stories of how the Word has impacted us, share struggles of faith, and the like.
Aside from the perks of communal learning, small group Bible studies offer a place for fellowship and encouragement. In most group Bible studies, the focus is not on intellectual learning, but on actually understanding what the Bible is teaching and living it out in our lives. Hebrews 10:24–25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." When we meet with one another for regular Bible study, we can encourage each other to press on in faith. We can also help hold one another accountable to live out the truth of the Word. Many times, we live the truth of the Word with one another, for example by caring for members in the group who are hurting or serving our church as a group.
Any form of Bible study is beneficial. Group Bible study has the advantage of offering the opportunity for deeper learning, ready application, and Christian fellowship. It is definitely worthwhile.
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