Men's Bible Study
As I was thinking about starting a Bible study at St. Paul, one of my initial thoughts was how I had wanted to read the entire Bible before I turned 50. I’m almost 55 and that goal is yet to be reached. After careful thought, a more modest and reasonable goal for the St. Paul Bible study was to read just the New Testament. I had thought that this would be the equivalent of reading a third of the Bible, but it is actually more like reading just over 20% (259 pages of 1,215 in a text only Bible that I have). This goal certainly seemed more attainable.
In forming the Bible Study, the more difficult decision was to make the Bible Study specifically for men. Being an inclusive-type of Christian guy, I generally want to be more inviting, welcoming and gathering of all (not just toward one gender). And yet, my gut told me that making this space particularly for men could provide a needed opportunity for men to communicate openly about their faith and the role it plays in their lives.
The goal for reading one chapter a day, Monday through Friday, and discussing every Sunday morning at 8:45 has been quite manageable. While I strive to read every morning, that sometimes is not possible. One week, I read three chapters Thursday night, one Friday morning and the last Saturday morning. Reading five chapters could even be done in one sitting of about an hour and a half, but there’s something about the daily discipline of reading the Word, which makes me more aware of being a Christian all week and not just over the weekend.
On Sundays, we gather to discuss the previous week’s readings. Currently, there are four of us who meet for regular discussion, and each one of us is reading a different translation. Although we did not intentionally plan to do that, we are gaining new insights with the differing choice of words. We started with Mark (one Bible titled the chapter- “The Messiah in Motion”) and are now reading Acts (entitled “A Book of Amazing Adventures!”).
In reading Acts, we are not only learning about the early church, but also what’s important in being a part of a Christian church. As we read about Paul, Silas, Barnabas and other preachers of the Good News, Peter Hedlund noted the importance of preaching to the growth of the church. I cannot help but think about the wonderful preaching we receive at St. Paul. Ross leads the way, but Alissa, Eric, Douglas and Daniel have all given terrific sermons over the past four years. Then, Lionel noted that it was not just preaching, but also what the church was doing for people. Again, I think about St. Paul and how the Social Ministry Committee strives to have us serve others both close and far away.
I have found reading the Bible for myself very rewarding and look forward to the conversation each Sunday. I cannot imagine a better way to spend my time.
Peace be with you, Aurelio