Me: “How did your lecture go with our SBS Students?”
Him: “Good, but we didn’t cover the whole book, in fact we only got a few chapters in, but it went well.”
Me: “Why did you not cover more of the book? Did you lack time or were there lots of questions?”
Him: “No, I’m just tired of us focusing on the content and not leading by the Spirit and how He wants to minister the truths into the students lives. I’d rather have ministry time than covering all the chapters.”
I understood what the leader was saying and I agree with it in many ways. He didn’t want to make the Word of God just content without any life application which changes the students lives. Amen!
But, it also got me thinking… do we see the content of the Bible as a road block to life giving and spirit led transformation in our students lives? Is it possible to study deeply and also experience the active work of the Holy Spirit in our midst? Of course!
We’ve all heard things along these same lines. Things like:
“SBS students are always so dry because they just study the word all the time.”
“Too much time in the Bible makes you a dry Christian”
“Academic Bible study is not life giving”
If you serve in the SBS then you are probably thinking the same as me, “God forbid!”. Of course the Bible doesn’t make you dry, quite the contrary… it brings us life and hope. I’m proud that the SBS students on our campus are the most excited students on our campus! Serious and deep study of the word is completely in line with life transformation, not an obstacle to it.
However we have seen how often we do not make the connection for our students. Deep and serious study of the word needs to be an activity completely engaged with the work of the Holy Spirit.
Here are 4 ideas for us as bible teachers that I have to avoid splitting the Spirit & the Word in your SBS:
1. Study with Passion: How we approach the Word in our preparation time feeds into our our lectures. We should be praying and meditating all the time as we prepare… even if we are diving into timelines and Greek words…. we should constantly be stopping and asking the Holy Spirit to make this come alive to us as teachers
2. Apply, Apply, Apply: We all say that “Application is the goal of Bible Study” but if that is truly the goal then it should be done throughout our lectures, not just at the end. If you only make application at the end of lectures then you are not modeling how easy it is to gain life from Scripture. Your students will then struggle to make application in their studies. Especially the harder passages, demonstrate how to make life-giving application!
3. Demonstrate Dependency: We often ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in lectures but our students don’t know that. So make them see it! I remember Maureen Menard pausing in an SBS lecture on Acts and saying, “I’m just asking the Holy Spirit if there is anything else I need to cover, let’s just pause for a moment.” The whole environment in the room changed as the students were aware of her active inclusion of the Holy Spirit during a Historical Background lecture.
4. One on One Interaction: Constantly engage the students outside of class. It’s as simple as asking, “What did God speak to you in lecture today?” as well as “Do you agree with the dating of that book?”.
My prayer for SBS is that we would be like the Apostle Paul in Romans 11. At the end of one of the most academically challenging sections in the whole Bible Paul bursts into worship of the living God, “Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom of God!… To him be the Glory forever Amen!” (Romans 11:33,36). May our deep study of the Word and the leading of the Spirit lead to deep adoration and worship to the Living Word, Jesus Christ!