About that Bible Study...

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ  from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-15 (NASB)

I thought this passage was important to bring up as we head towards our fall women’s Bible studies.  So many of the studies that are out there these days are doctrine weak, poorly written, and full of emotionalism.  As I review the study guides I see questions to be answered that are written to have the student respond from the perspective of “what it means to me” and this is just not right.

Those who teach and lead women’s Bible studies have a great responsibility to teach the Word accurately.  According to the passage of Scripture I cited today it is clear that the burden for teaching and equipping each other is not only the Pastor’s. Mature Christian women are also responsible to equip others for works of service that result in building up the body of Christ (vs 12).  We are responsible to help one another mature and become more like Christ (vs 13) and we are also responsible to be discerning and to help one another become discerning (v14).

Many Christian women have an inadequate view of God, self and sin. This is complicated by the stampede to doctrine “light” that many churches have taken. Women who take a stand for the authority of Scripture and sufficiency must often “undo” bad teaching and replace it with sound teaching. This is not necessarily easy among heavily psychologized and poorly taught women.

The Bible is neither adjustable nor flexible to suit the whim of the teacher. God’s Word does not change because it is not human in origin.  It is not to be taught from the angle of how the teacher perceives God to be, because then the teacher is reinterpreting the Bible in a way that suits their need of the moment.  This distorts God’s truth and makes it “relative” and a matter of experience.

Some study leaders involve superstitious reasoning and ridiculous emotionalism in their teachings, appealing to the flesh of their participants. Personal experience with the Scriptures becomes the interpreter and then everyone’s truth is right because it’s based on individual and personal experience. This is a distortion- the Bible is truth whether you “experience” it or not. This is very difficult thinking to address because in our culture feelings and experience are great sacred cows that are propped up and worshiped.  It is widely believed that you cannot argue with someone's experience, and by all means, don't try to mess with their feeelings...

However, the reality of the situation is that human experience does not change the truth of the Word of God. I have heard women massively twist and distort passages of Scripture, claiming them as “promises” or “a word from the Lord” about a circumstance, and claim that despite the gross error of such methods of application and interpretation that their experience trumps the actual meaning and intention of the Word of God!

These kinds of teachings lead women to elevate their feelings, thoughts and beliefs above what the Scripture really says and what it means by what it says. This is rank pride and horrible self-deception.  God’s Word is unchangeable; it is not shaped or changed by the culture we live in.

If you want to teach a Bible study, teach that the Bible is God’s story of redemption through His Son Jesus Christ. It is all about Jesus.  It’s God’s story and is not dependent on your experience or personal interpretation. It is the story of love, goodness, forgiveness, grace and mercy at the cross. 

Sad to say that I suspect little change will take place in women’s Bible studies despite what has been said here and by other’s who have a strong voice for truth.  In a few weeks, women will once again gather together to have their heads and hearts filled with error because of sloppy theology and incorrect interpretation of the Bible.  May God save us from ourselves.