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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Weekly Bible Study

A gunman shot to death nine church members who had gathered for Bible study and prayer Wednesday night at one of the nation’s oldest black churches [Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.]. (

Perhaps some of my readers do not attend weekly Bible study and wonder what typically characterizes it.  I attend a weekly Bible study at Clearview United Methodist Church, St. Petersburg, Fl.  There are usually a dozen people or less that attend.  We sit around a table.  Usually Nadine bakes and brings cookies to share.  Whoever arrives first brews a pot of coffee.

We each bring two texts--A Bible and the Navigators Design for Discipleship.  This is a series of relatively short publications (typically about 100 pages each) that includes many discussion and study questions with generous references to Scripture that we are to read and consider. (We are currently in book five: "Foundations of Faith."  A recent study question was: "Study Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:16, and 1 John 3:1.  Summarize what these verses teach about God's love" [ page 18]).

While the discussion is anchored in Scripture, we are all encouraged to contribute our own experiences and ideas.  It is a very forgiving group and it is made clear from the outset that human imperfection is expected of all group members.  No one need be afraid to contribute because of fear of embarrassment. Our pastor, Bo, is usually there, as well as the lay leader and the study group leader.  It is an open discussion and all group members are encouraged to participate--including one member that is intellectually disabled.

The study opens and closes with prayer.  The focus of the closing prayer centers on those in the congregation with life and/or health concerns.

The following recent blog was inspired by this week's Bible study session.  The main idea was elicited by comments contributed by Pastor Bo. (

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