In September, I started attending this amazing Bible Study called “BSF” or “Bible Study Fellowship” on Wednesday mornings. It was really needed in this season of my life!!! The BSF system of Bible study is highly organized and disciplined…and uses the technique of “exegesis” for expository study of the Scriptures. This is an international non-profit group that holds classes for men, women, children and young adults in 35 countries!!! There are over 1,000 classes worldwide and they continue to expand every year for the last 50 years. Classes for men and women are segregated…the exception being young adults where males and females are allowed to mix. Children’s classes are also unsegregated, and they do an amazing job teaching Biblical principles to all the children in the BSF Children’s classes (they even get toddlers to pray and have “Quiet Time” for 10 minutes)!!! Each study at BSF lasts for approximately nine months (one topic per year with holidays and summers off)…and over an eight-year cycle BSF classes cover “Genesis”, “Romans”, “Matthew”, “Life of Moses”, “John”, “Isaiah”, “Israel and the Minor Prophets” and “Acts of the Apostles”.
Right now, we are going through “Isaiah” and I’m LOVING the different elements that are involved with BSF for deeper understanding of the Scriptures. The BSF “system” involves: daily questions to encourage personal Bible study (usually only 3-4 questions everyday) and Scripture reading (it is only a few verses each day); discussion groups (of up to 15 people) for sharing of personal answers to questions once a week before the lecture; a weekly lecture by a Teaching Leader covering the past week’s scripture with applications for daily living; and finally a set of commentary/notes after the lecture reinforcing lessons from the previous week (plus a new set of questions for the week ahead). BSF classes and materials are provided free of charge…which is amazing if you ask me!!! And the last 4 months have been incredibly fruitful in my wisdom and understanding of God’s Word.
I love the lectures and how the Teaching Leader will present historical details (obtained from external sources), as an aid to clearer understanding of the context and background of the Scripture being studied. Discussion groups are led by Group Leaders, who are specifically directed to avoid any formal teaching role (this being left to the Holy Spirit during member’s personal quiet times during the week and the Teaching Leader during the lecture). Discussion Leaders facilitate the discussions, and also perform a shepherding role with group members. They attend a separate two-hour training session each week, which involves an initial pass through the week’s questions and answers.
We are encouraged not to seek any other outside source during the week while we study the Scriptures, and use the wisdom from the Holy Spirit and the true words that are already found in Scripture. However, after the discussion and lecture, we are free to read the commentary/notes and look for any additional information as we see fit. This has been incredibly challenging for me!!! I always want to run to books, people, etc to find wisdom and direction. BUT, the Lord has been faithful to teach me the last week that through prayer and the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will give me all that I need for living a Godly life here on this earth. It is only after I have sought the Lord through His Word and prayer that I am free to look for counsel from Spiritual Mentors and from my peers as well.
This little nugget came to my mind this week because BSF has been on “Christmas Break” for three weeks, and I’m really craving all that BSF has to offer. I miss the discussion Small Groups. I miss the lectures. I miss my daily quiet time as I study all the crazy things that are going on in Isaiah. There’s two more weeks until we meet again…and now that Advent is done…maybe I will read ahead in Isaiah until I get new daily discussion questions and then I will ponder my favorite Scripture verse.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
If you would like to join a “Bible Study Fellowship” group near you, click on the link and it will take you to their website (the purple words on their website are links to other pages). www.bsfinternational.org