Do you have the kind of friends who will ask you that question, point blank? I do, and I’m so glad. I have really come to value spending time in God’s word: on my own with only the Bible, going through a study by myself, or using a study and meeting with a group. Regardless of the poor habits I fall into at times, back-to-school time always reminds me to get back to the important ritual of Bible study. Circumstances, schedules, or personal preference might prevent us from joining up with a group (which is personally my favorite way to study since it enables me to fellowship, be held accountable to do the study, and learn from the others in the group), but there are many great stand-alone resources available for everyone at reasonable prices. I generally try to work through something on my own in addition to participating in an organized class, and studies like this are perfect for that. Read on for several great resources (each with a give away).
This summer, I studied Java with the Judges from the Coffee Cup Bible Studies by Sandra Glahn. There are several things that I enjoyed about this six lesson study. It’s a small book (maybe 6 by 8 inches), and spiral-bound, so it was easy to slip into my purse when I went out to the park or to a coffee shop. Even better, it contains the text so that I did not need to bring my Bible along either (this was also helpful as I stumbled to the table in the mornings to study before I had a cup of coffee in me). But more than the format, I enjoyed this lively and very applicable study of Old Testament History. The time of Judges is critical to understanding the Bible as a whole, and Sandra Glahn presented just enough history so as not to overwhelm. This is a perfect study to do individually, because there is enough teaching within each lesson to clarify the passage. The questions are mostly focused on personal reflection, which allows the reader to personally apply each portion of scripture.The author has donated one copy to give away (U.S. or Canada).
Sue Edwards has two new inductive Bible studies– Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for a Postmodern World which has nine lessons, and Daddy’s Girls: Discover the Wonder of the Father (some of the attributes of God), which has eight lessons. I enjoy inductive Bible studies, but they do require you to dig in and think for yourself. However, Sue Edwards has easily keyed each lesson so that the individual can decide to just complete the core questions, which take a bit less time, but still give understanding of the text. The Digging Deeper questions challenge the reader to find out more about other facts and passages that illuminate this text. The Summit questions are for a more advanced student and address more complex issues and differing points of view. There is a nice leader’s guide with general tips for leading a group, as well as specific helps regarding the content. There is also a special section called Table Talk specifically for small group discussion. As many resources as there are for groups, the way these studies are structured would also be perfect for the individual who enjoys deep study on her own. Three winners will receive both of these studies (U.S. or Canada).
Shannon Ethridge is a woman who has been used mightily by God by honestly sharing her struggles and successes under God’s power. In Completely His: Loving Jesus Without Limits, she shares about a tragedy early on in her life, and how it lead her to the realization that the Creator of the universe longed for her to be completely His. The book explores Old Testament customs and the relevance to the bridegroom Jesus pursuing us as his bride. There are four 30 day Bible study guides that act as a companion, or a follow-up to the book (although the studies do stand alone as well). The first is Completely Loved. These daily studies are designed to foster intensive heart-to-heart time with God. Each day begins with a couple of chapters of suggested scriptures to read, a short illustrative teaching passage, a few questions for personal reflection, and a prayer. This is a great bedside study for morning or evening personal use and personal application. One winner will receive the book and the study (U.S. only).
You may have seen these logos in sidebars of blogs you visit. Lisa, The Preacher’s Wife, posts an online Bible study called I AM. . . so you don’t have to be. She is starting round two, with a new group this week (although it’s open to join at any time). So click over to find out how it works. What’s great is that in addition to reading and studying along with her, you can participate by linking up your thoughts on each lesson. Lisa asks questions to help you understand In this way, you can still benefit from a Bible study community–virtually. Isn’t the internet great?
Do you want another way to get a word from God on your computer each day? Add Faith Lifts devotionals to your morning blog-reads. You can read my latest post on Transparency. If you would be interested in contributing to Faith Lifts, check out the details and send in your submission.
If you would like to win any of the studies listed above, please leave a comment, noting your order of preference (be sure to only enter those that will ship to your country). Enter by Sunday for a chance to win. The winners will be posted on Monday, September 3.