This is what I pray for

Longtime readers of the blog will know I tend to wax a little nostalgic at the close of a unit of Bible study. Y’all know I’m not given to strong emotion, certainly not of the sappy variety, but there’s something about coming to the end of a given journey together through the pages of Scripture that does something to my heart. I think of the excitement and apprehension that marked the beginning; I think about how I would make out a course outline way back at the start and as I would type it up I would wonder with every week’s lesson title that I type what the Lord will teach us and how He will change us. All that wondering is then reality when we reach the final lesson and, well, I am overwhelmed.

I mentioned to you that this particular study, or pair of studies, has been as challenging as any I’ve ever taught. There are a couple of reasons for this, I think. One is the sheer breadth of the material. We have been studying Jesus in the Old Testament, specifically Genesis through Deuteronomy, using Nancy Guthrie’s excellent workbooks The Promised One and The Lamb of God to frame and facilitate each week’s lesson. I remarked last fall as we were wrapping up Genesis that we could have easily titled the course “Theology 101” since our lessons wrestled with doctrinal truths such as God’s sovereignty, the problem of evil, election, judgment for sin, salvation by grace, just to name a few, and this winter’s study proved no different. We did not shy away from the deep things of the Lord and I am thankful for it.

So not only were we discussing heavy theological and doctrinal truths but we were often doing so several chapters of the Bible at a time. Each week I reminded the class of our “helicopter” approach; rather than looking at our selected text via a verse by verse exposition, we would swoop down as it were, highlighting the passages that developed our theme of seeing Jesus. You can imagine, then, the challenge of preparation each week.

I was also challenged by the format of the class itself. It had been some time since I’d taught strictly via lecture so, introvert that I am, I naturally had to work through a case of the nerves. My biggest worry, though, wasn’t my Tuesday morning anxiety attacks but the fear that I may be contributing to the consumer culture that seems to plague many current evangelicals. I don’t want the women in my class to be spectators but it seems to be I might be encouraging just that response and this frightens me.

I will say I think our current format fits our group best. And I do know that spiritual maturity on the part of the students is not solely the teacher’s responsibility. My passion, what drives the hours I spend in preparation, is for women to know and love the Word of God. I want them, me, all of us together, to be thinking women, strong women armed with a strong theology, a theology forged in the careful and passionate study of Scripture. I don’t know if this can be accomplished by me standing at a lectern for an hour or so on Tuesday mornings. I hope so. I pray so.

On Wednesday a friend of mine, a fellow Bible student, told me about another friend, also part of our group. “She’s curious,” my friend told me, “she wants to know more.” As she was telling me, I wanted to cry (I told you Bible study can make me a sap). This hunger, this desire, this compulsion, this is what I pray for.

I am so grateful for these women, my friends and sisters in Christ, who come alongside as we study the Word together. As they sit before me, Bibles open, hearts expectant, ears attentive, they are God’s grace to me. Teaching is a responsibility and a challenge both, yes, oh, yes. It is also a privilege, a gift I do not take for granted. I love the Lord. I love His Word. I love teaching. I love these women.

We wanted to see Jesus and we have. Glory to God, we have. No wonder my emotions well. My heart is full.

And our journey together continues! We may have finished this study but we begin another in April. I cannot wait to see all that the Lord will do in us and among us. He is faithful and He will do it.

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Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

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