Sunday, May 06, 2007

Why Small Group Bible Study?

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by Laura Springer, M.Div.
[1]That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. [2]And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. [3]And he told them many things in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. [4]And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. [5]Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, [6]but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. [7]Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. [8]Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. [9]He who has ears, let him hear."
Matthew 13:1-9

In the Parable of the Sower in Matthew’s gospel (13:1-9), the seed (the message of the Kingdom, 4:17; 13:19) is sown in four conditions of soil. The seed is good and brings life; the condition of the soil determines growth and fruit. Jesus’ interpretation (13:18-23) teaches us that the message must be understood (13:19, 23) with sufficient depth (13:20-21) and without distraction (13:22). Small group bible study is one place where God prepares soil and plants his seed.

Why “Bible”? Christian books and articles are helpful, but they are not God’s life-bearing message of the kingdom. The life-bearing message is the word of the Kingdom: Jesus, the crucified and risen One, is Lord of all. This is the message of the Bible, God’s very word. This is the message that bears life. This is the message that brings growth and fruit.

Why” Study”? Understanding is the minimum requirement. Without it, the message produces no life (13:19). With understanding, both life and fruit are possible (13:23). The youngest book in the Bible is nearly 2000 years old and a world away. Study help bridge the gaps of time and culture.

Why “Small Group”? Humanity is relational and is created by the relational, three-in-one God. We need each other. We need each other’s help to see things how they are. We need each other’s help to recognize and remove the filters that act as blind spots, hinder understanding, and hide distractions. When we wrestle together with God’s truth, we expose each other’s filters. This develops prepared and receptive souls where God’s truth can grow and bear fruit.

Additional Resources
Smaller Passionate Groups Outperform Large Generic Communities ht: Becoming Missional


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