Yesterday I attended the first meeting of a new adult Bible study class at our church. It’s on Paul’s letter to the Romans; the pastor’s wife is leading the class.
The problem is, we will only have a half hour to forty-five minutes each Sunday for the class. That’s barely enough to scratch the surface of a lot of the theology in Romans. Yesterday we only had an introduction to it, and we ran over the time allotted.
Anyway, we had a pretty good group for our church. There were nine of us, including the pastor’s wife. And I know of at least two other people who will be coming at least occasionally. There were two couples who are older than me; a couple in their early thirties; a young mom probably in her late thirties; the pastor’s wife and me.
The pastor’s wife is quite well versed in the scriptures and I think it will be an interesting class. She’s very aware that in many other churches she wouldn’t be allowed to teach, and even in the UMC there is some opposition and so she’s very careful. But there are enough of us in the class who are also strong in the faith that she really will be only guiding the discussion rather than doing much actual teaching.
Yesterday I looked around the class to see who was using what kind of Bible. I saw one well-worn old NIV; another smaller Bible which I could not identify from a distance; and one study Bible of some sort. I couldn’t be sure, but I think it may have been a Life Application Study Bible. She had a cover on it so I couldn’t see what the translation is either. I had brought my TNIV XL black bonded leather thinline. Four of the people there had no Bible whatsoever. I’ve seen that numerous times before in that church – people go to a Bible study and don’t bring a Bible. They just sit there and listen, and talk about the Bible from memory. I don’t understand that at all. How can you study the Bible without a Bible?
Judging from the Bibles I saw and knowing the people who were there, I would say it’s a pretty “evangelical” bunch. I think I am going to want to bring more than a text or even a reference Bible. I’m debating whether or not I should bring my NIV Study Bible (2002 version). It’s a nice, easy study Bible to use, and with its bonded leather cover it’s easy to carry. But I’m considering bringing my NASB MacArthur SB instead, to give us a little different perspective. It’s a hardcover, so I put it in a canvas cover to make it easier to carry and easier to use. (And believe it or not, to make it harder for people to identify it. MacArthur can be a little divisive in a UMC.) The biggest problem I have with it is the fine, almost faint, print. My NIV SB is in bold print by comparison. The NASB text of the Mack is big enough and clear enough, but the notes are considerably harder to read. I’ve actually thought about bringing along a magnifying glass in case my eyes happen to be tired. But we’ll see how it goes.
Anyway, it looks like it will be an interesting class. I was also happy to see there was another small group that started yesterday at our church as well. But I don’t think that is an actual Bible study group. Even so, it’s nice to see adults get together in our church for more than just a social gathering. It’s been quite a while since we had any kind of a strong adult program.
And I kind of like being a part of the class again, instead of having to teach it. Maybe this is the kind of break I’ve been looking for, where i can do Bible study with a group of adults and not have to do the work of leading it all the time.