Allow me to let you in on a “secret”. One of the most rewarding involvements—and one that is virtually guaranteed to help you on your path of spiritual growth—is a small group Bible study.
All of us talk about seeking spiritual growth. But are we really serious? How serious are you? The summer is ending, and the fall season brings us back to our “normal” routine of back-to-school, preparations for the holidays, and a time for reapplying ourselves to our various personal goals. It is also a great time to re-examine our spiritual goals.
Let’s assume that you already have—maybe some time ago—made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. What then? Well, you really began to study the Word of God and began to aspire to real growth “in the grace and knowledge” of our Savior. How’s it been going?
There are three “legs” on the “stool” of our Christian Walk: Study of the Word, Prayer, and the Fellowship of Believers. While facilities and formalities of the Sunday services have become the norm for many, it was not always so. In the early church, the fellowships were, of course, in the homes of the believers. When you visit Capernaum in Israel, one of the archaeological sites is what is believed to be Peter’s home, which ultimately evolved into a church.
While many enjoy participating in the various styles of worship—from the majesty of traditional liturgical services to the informality of contemporary casualness—there is nothing that can compare to the warmth and intimacy of a home study group.
If you have yet to discover the rewards of a home Bible study (or an online small group through Koinonia Institute), you are in for a pleasant surprise. The Holy Spirit seems to accomplish so much in the intimacy of the fellowship there.
Our Central Focus
One of the key secrets to a successful small group Bible Study, in my experience, has been to focus on an expositional study, expounding upon the Text. There is a simplicity—and a fruitfulness—to focusing on what God has said in His Word, addressing one specific book of the Bible at a time. This has proven to be one of the most effective means to laying an in-depth foundation that will last a lifetime, and which will ultimately cover “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
Where to Start?
One of the most frequent questions I get is, “Which book should I start with?” There are many sound answers. Which book interests you the most?
I startle many with the suggestion of starting with the Book of Revelation! It is the only book of the Bible that declares a special blessing on the reader and hearer! No other book singles itself out in that respect. One of the reasons it is always such a special blessing is that a proper review will include supporting passages from virtually every other book of the Bible. (The 404 verses of Revelation include over 800 allusions from the Old Testament!) It puts God’s entire plan of redemption into focus—from Genesis to Revelation.
Another sound suggestion is the Gospel of John (available soon on DVD!). It has been said that it is shallow enough for a child to wade in, and deep enough for an elephant to bathe in! No matter how diverse your group is—from the novice to the sophisticate—all will benefit from going through this book again. It deals with all of the basics. I’ve taught it many times—and each time results in new discoveries!
Other suggestions include the book of beginnings—the Book of Genesis, the prophetic Book of Ruth, or the Book of Acts. You can really start anywhere. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. He always knows best, if you’re listening. See our small group study packages on our online store for some additional inspiration.
The Koinonia Institute
If starting or attending a home Bible Study is not possible for you right now, we invite you to join us online for a unique brand of small group learning—The Koinonia Institute. Classes are small, intimate, and worldwide! You’ll be amazed at the fellowship that occurs even if your “small group” lives in several different countries. The following is a snapshot of what we would like the members of our fellowship to look like:
1. Become a Berean! Someone who is more than a causal listener to the Word of God and someone who has made a commitment to study the Text! Our model Scripture is from the book of Acts:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
2. To gain the reputation of the Sons of Issachar, as seen in the following passage:
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
We realize that the world is currently being plunged into a time about which the Bible says more than it does about the time when Jesus walked along the shores of the Galilee. We also know that in the area of prophecy, we suffer oftentimes more from our supporters than our detractors! But instead of becoming “marginal” and possibly throwing out the baby with the bath water, the Institute believes that the time has come to have a balanced perspective on the things that are to come and are, in fact, happening all around us today!
3. Finally, our desire is to be “authentic” and, as mentioned earlier, to become those who not only know their Bibles but more importantly are those who are living what they have learned from their Bibles! We have taken our Biblical mandate for this from the Ten Commandments: It is the Third Commandment that states:
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Here at KI we refer to this as Koinonos, which is the Greek word for a partner or participant; it also implies a fiduciary—one that puts his partner’s interests ahead of his own! Three words sum up this level … application, application and application!
Together, these are the three pillars of the Koinonia Institute. It is our passion and our heart to be laser focused on following God and partnering with Him to build KI into a vessel fit for His use in the days that lie ahead!
If in reading this the Holy Spirit has prompted you in any way, we would love to dialogue with you and invite you to check us out. As the psalmist wrote: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” Come taste KI and see if it is right for you! You can find more information at: studycenter.com