40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 5 – Bible Study


Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. (1 Timothy 4:13, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church


We will be doing something different this year as we consider each of the Disciplines.  We will use the first day of review for each Discipline to ask questions about how that Discipline is practiced in your local church or a local church you are considering.  As a practical matter, we associate with local churches for a variety of reasons including tradition, relationships, and convenience.  However, we know that the primary reasons should be based on biblical directives.  The questions are meant to sharpen our focus on biblical considerations.  Please note that you will not be expected to share your answers to the questions. 

After the first day review of a Discipline, we will revert to the historical format of considering thoughts from a selected passage of Scripture.  If this sounds a bit confusing don’t worry it will become clearer as we proceed.

Today we start our review of the Discipline of Bible Study.  Before considering some questions about your local church’s approach to Bible Study, this quote from a noted theologian, Thomas Oden in his book Systematic Theology, emphasizes the importance of the Bible to the church and the church to the Bible: “The Bible is the church’s book, lodged within the church for safekeeping and to provide continuing inspiration and instruction… It is the church (not the university) that has for centuries kept it, translated it, studied it, meditated upon it, and repeatedly looked to it for guidance.” 

Primary Questions:

  1. Does your local church consistently include Bible reading as an integral part of its worship service?
  2. Does your local church consistently have group Bible studies (e.g., small groups, weekly services, and Sunday School programs) and promote personal Bible study?
  3. Does your local church have a stated position on the authority of the Bible (e.g., views on inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility)?
  4. Are the leaders of your local church fully committed to Bible study?

Optional Secondary Questions (if you have the time):

  1. Does your local church provide instruction on appropriate approaches to interpreting the Bible?
  2. Does your local church provide guidance on appropriate English translations of the Bible (e.g., explanation of different approaches to Bible translations and preferred versions of translation)?

Your Feedback:

While you are not expected to share your answers to the questions above, we would still love to hear from you.  Based on your answers to the questions, what are your thoughts about the priority of Bible Study in local churches?

6 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 5 – Bible Study

  1. Pastor always includes and reads a passage or passages from the Bible throughout his preaching.

    I don’t know if there are members who host small Bible studies due to the pandemic, but I know there were study groups as Pastor would sometimes mention them during a service, and encourage participation.

    It is obvious Pastor believes the Bible 100%. He has even talked about the “dangers” of individuals and even pastors who change the meaning (or leave out portions) of God’s Word in order to appease their congregation, or not make them uncomfortable. He believes, and has mentioned that the Bible is God inspired (he sometimes uses the word “breathed”), and that it is in fact inerrant and infallible.

    Bible study is a big deal to the pastor of my church. He thinks small group Bible study should be a part of a person’s deeper understanding of God’s Word. Congregants don’t typically ask the pastor questions during a service, so our pastor believes people are more likely to ask during a small group Bible study, in order to get a better understanding of what they have heard or read from the Bible.

  2. The scriptures are read no less that three times during the service.

    Our church leaders strongly believe and preach that the bible is the inspired/breathed word of God and are very sound in the doctrinal positions – understanding/teaching the period and context in which particular books were written and establishing how to appropriate it for today.

    Group bible study is scheduled at various periods within the church’s year (local and body corporate). Outside of this, all the church’s various organisations will have group bible studies and we are encourages to join. Opportunities are also given to lay members to make presentations which will require biblical study, research and pastoral guidance.

    We are encouraged to reflect and review what is preached/said to ensure it is aligned to the word of God.

  3. The Church that I am apart of exalt the Word of God as the only inspired Book given to us to be preached, studied and practiced.. Small groups Bible studies and personal quite times are encouraged. I personally believe that without a correct view of the Bible, we will not have the spiritual basis to live our lives to honor Christ.

  4. My home church in Japan has bible study groups for different ages. For instance, bible study for ladies, couples, youth, children, and there was this breakfast meeting of men too. During pandemic most of the classes were done by zoom. Even if I’m not living in Japan now, I could still attend some of the bible study groups I belonged. There is a time zone difference like, if morning in Japan it would be evening here one day late in the US.

    At present, I’m living in Houston, TX but I found a good church very near my home. I started attending in person since January this year and for now because of covid, there is only one bible study class after the service and it’s an adult class for men and women. There is also an on line worship service every Sunday. I guess this is a normal way of worship now in many churches. Youth and children’s classes are also available in my new church. I’m starting to make new friends here.

    Every time I look for a new church in our new posting, I always make sure the church I chose to be a part of, is a bible based and members believe in One True God ,and Savior Jesus Christ.

  5. I believe that discipleship can and should, as far as possible, equip members of the local body to correctly handle and interpret the word. This should go in conjunction with it being modelled by preachers and teachers.

  6. It is encouraging and not a surprise to hear that Bible Study is a priority at the local churches that most of you attend. However, we must remain on our guard. In too many local churches Bible Study doesn’t have the priority that it should. As an example, in many worship services, Bible reading shows up as an after-thought and less important than the music ministry, offering and announcements. Also, group Bible studies are often poorly attended.

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