One of the great challenges the COVID pandemic presented to church leaders was how do we keep our congregation together, trained in the Bible and connected with the needs of fellow members? Thanks to social media, email and online meeting capabilities, regular meetings could be held on a TV or computer screen. Everyone admits it’s not the same, but it serves in a time of isolation. Nothing can take the place of fellowship and the personal touch, and as we are discovering, individual Bible study is not as good as being able to study in small groups. LifeWay Research has just released their findings on how we view our ability to understand and make application of the Bible on our own. Researchers were curious as to how confident individuals felt when studying the Bible without the assistance of a regular small group. Although we are to train ourselves to be “self-feeders” when it comes to reading and applying God’s Word, there is great gain in studying the Bible together. The study found that 57% of Protestant churchgoers say they find it challenging to make sense of the Bible when they read it on their own. The good news is that researchers discovered that regardless of how challenging churchgoers find the Bible, they seem sure they can recognize its relevance to them and help others understand it. Nine in 10 churchgoers agree they can usually understand how a passage of Scripture is relevant to them. Four in 5 express confidence in their ability to help others with doubts about the truthfulness of Scripture (81%), difficulty accepting morals taught in the Bible (82%), and confusion over a Bible passage (81%). “Churchgoers are ready to defend the Bible as true and as a faithful moral standard,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But most admit they stumble on understanding the specific meaning as they read. It is possible the confidence churchgoers have in helping others understand the Bible, comes more from what they have been taught than from their own reading. Those who attend church most frequently have more confidence in helping someone with a confusing passage of Scripture,” said McConnell.
It is reassuring to confirm what we hoped to be true; people are reading the Bible and feel confident in what they are reading. It is also comforting to know that Christians are honest about where they feel they need help. It goes to show the importance of Sunday School and small group Bible studies. The enemy has tried to use the COVID isolation to take away a key component in the Christian’s ability to fulfill the commands of Christ in the Great Commission. As churches are reopening their doors, be in prayer for the small group ministries. It is great that we have “church on TV,” but nothing takes the place of studying God’s Word together. It is here that we ask questions, provide answers and challenge one another to factual application of the Bible. As Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us, Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
Serving the Savior,
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