What do you actually do in a "Bible Study"?!

Sometimes fear of the unknown keeps us away from something.  Tonight we have a Bible Study at the Rectory at 8pm and I wonder if sometimes people are unsure about what happens in a Bible Study.

People start to arrive about 8pm and we have tea and coffee and cake.  After that the leader of the Bible Study will say welcome and a short prayer to ask for God's help as we study His word. 

Then someone reads the Bible passage out loud, or if it's longer passage we often listen to an audio recording of it.  There is no pressure to read out loud if you'd prefer not to. 

Bible Study Cavan, Drung Redhills Stradone LAvey evangelical Larah

We normally just have 5 questions:

1. What strikes you from this passage?

2. What questions do you have about this passage? Is anything unclear?

3. How does this passage point us to Jesus?

4. How would you summarize the passage in a few words?

5. How does this passage apply to us?

We normally study the passage that we have just looked at on Sunday so if you were at church you'll hopefully have some idea about what the passage is about and may even already have questions about it that you would like answered - this is a great time to ask! You may find others have similar questions.  If you missed church you can always listen to the sermon online here, or else just come to Bible Study to catch up on what you missed, you can just listen in if you don't want to say anything.

We normally finish our study about 9pm and then pray about what we've seen in God's Word - giving Him thanks and asking for His help to put it into practice.  There is no pressure to pray out loud, you can just pray quietly if you prefer.  We also have an opportunity to ask for prayer for anything and then commit those things to the Lord.  People are free to stay and chat afterwards but most people normally leave by about 9:30pm.

The great thing about studying the Bible together is that we learn from one another, seeing what struck each other, asking questions.  The only thing missing is you! You're all very welcome, and if 8pm on a Wednesday or the location doesn't suit you, please let me know and we'd love to start more Bible studies at other times and places. 

Start now!

The countdown to the New Year has begun, have you decided on a reading plan for 2016? Then why not start now! Get ahead, and then you'll have a few days spare for when/if you fall behind! 

I've recommended the M'Cheyne plan, it is worth saying that if you think 4 chapters a day is too many, then you can read just 2 a day for the first year, and the other 2 a day for the second year and then you'll cover the same ground but just in a slightly longer period. 

You can download the plan to your electronic calendar or print it out from this link

There's some great step by step instructions to using reading plans with Olive Tree here

And you can sign up to receive a daily email with a short thought on one of the Bible passages from the M'Cheyne plan here

Ready to go?

The danger of Bible reading plans!

Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843) 

Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843) 

Bible Reading Plans are great, but not without danger. In the 19thC M'Cheyne warned his Scottish congregation of 4 potential dangers. His language is old fashioned, but worth bearing with as his  warnings are helpful:

(1.) Self-righteousness.  Some, when they have devoted their set time to reading of
the Word, and accomplished their prescribed portion, may be tempted to look at
themselves with self-complacency. Many, I am persuaded, are living without any
Divine work on their soul – unpardoned and unsanctified, and ready to perish – who
spend their appointed times in secret and family devotion. This is going to hell with a
lie in their right hand.

(2.) Careless reading.  Few tremble at the Word of God. Few, in reading it, hear the
voice of Jehovah, which is full of majesty. Some, by having so large a portion, may
be tempted to weary of it, as Israel did of the daily manna, saying – “Our soul
loatheth this light bread;” and to read it in a slight and careless manner. This would
be fearfully provoking to God. Take heed lest that word be true of you – “Ye said,
also, Behold what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of

(3.) Formality.  We are such weak creatures that any regularly returning duty is apt to
degenerate into a lifeless form. The tendency of reading the Word by a fixed rule
may, in some minds, be to create this skeleton religion. This is to be the peculiar sin
of the last days – “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
Guard against this. Let the calendar perish rather than this rust eat up your souls.

(4.) A yoke to heavy to bear. Some may engage in reading with alacrity for a time, and
afterwards feel it a burden, grievous to be borne. They may find conscience
dragging them through the appointed task without any relish of the heavenly food. If
this be the case with any, throw aside the fetter, and feed at liberty in the sweet
garden of God. My desire is not to cast a snare upon you, but to be a helper of your

Pray that the Lord will guard you from these dangers and bring you much joy as you read his Word. 

Thankfully, M'Cheyne didn't only warn of the dangers, he also spoke of the benefits, I'll put these in another post. 

What other dangers might we fall into?