The beginning of the school year can be overwhelming with many different organizations to join. This includes multiple bible studies in which to participate. Making a decision about joining a bible study, deciding which to join or even wondering whether to join one at all can be overwhelming. If you find yourself thinking, “Why should I join a bible study?” don’t worry; many college students have been in your situation before. Here on the campus of Greenville, many small group options are available, and it can be challenging to find the right one for you. However, the search will be worth it, as being in a bible study has many advantages such as spiritual growth, social expansion, and increased communication skills.
In his scriptures, Jesus challenges us to study his word so that we may be able to both understand his teachings and lead others to him. John 6:63 says, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” Here, Jesus tells his followers to adhere to his words, as they lead to an eternal life in Heaven. Becoming part of a small group that dives into Jesus’ teachings can help apply them to everyday life, equipping a person to live a life serving God in accordance with His scriptures. Additionally, Christians need frequent reminders of God’s word. As Jesus says when tempted by the devil, “it is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Studying the bible weekly brings God’s words to the forefront of our minds so we are able to keep it with us at all times.
Joining a bible study can also improve your social life. And what better way to improve your connection with each other than to grow closer to God together? Samantha Siefken, a member of Miriam Porter’s small group called “Eyes to See and Ears to Hear” says that being a part of a small group has surrounded her with people who are yearning for Christ and pursuing biblical truth. “It’s very encouraging to your faith walk,” Siefken commented. This process not only introduces you to many other people you might not have otherwise met, but it deepens your connections with those you do meet. For Siefken, “Being able to hear [another’s] heart and grow alongside them deepens the friendship and makes it richer.” Friendships that spark from community in Jesus’ name are rooted in God’s love and grow out of mutual acceptance and accountability, leading to lifelong bonds.
Being in a small group promotes communication with others but in a setting that is less intimidating and more conversational. As you share your opinions, other members of your small group will bring their own unique thoughts, challenging you to consider and respond to differing ideas. Siefken shared that her experience a small group “presents you with questions and perspectives that you are less likely to come up with in your own reading and contemplation of the bible.” This weekly interaction leaves the ability to think critically and reason with others, ultimately deciding for yourself what you believe. However, this interaction isn’t just with your peers. Small group leaders are there to spark conversation and bring you to a deeper understanding of the word. According to Siefken, the biggest benefit of being in a small group has been “having a connection with students as well as a faculty member that loves you and knows you and challenges you to follow Christ more deeply.” The leader is there to mentor you and guide you in the right direction. As stated in Proverbs 27, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
As you sort through the chaos of a new school year, I would encourage readers to consider joining a small group. As Jesus says in Matthew 18, “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” So, think about the benefits that it might hold for you and how you might be able to impact someone else’s life by being a part of one.