Why I’m Tired of Bible Study Books

Why I'm Tired of Bible Study Books

For the past several months God has been increasing my discomfort with the Bible “studies” we’ve been doing at our church.

I’ve come face to face with the fact that I’m tired of Bible study books…

Like many of you, our women’s ministry holds weekly Bible study meetings one morning most weeks.

For the past several years we’ve used Bible study books as our curriculum. I’ve shared about several of the book studies we’ve used.

I was okay with it for a little while. There are a lot of life-changing great Bible study books out there.

But after spending almost the last 3 years (and 2 summers) working through book after book (albeit at 2 different churches) and listening to other authors share what THEY think a verse or section of scripture means, I’m kind of (okay a lot) tired of listening to other famous people’s opinions about the Bible.

Before you begin to think I’m a know-it-all, I’m not. Really. I don’t a have seminary degree. I can’t even recall if I took a class on the Bible in college.

I’ve tried to read the Bible all the way through, but have yet to do so.  I’m armed with some good Bible study resources and the Holy Spirit, but please don’t ask me to explain a passage of scripture to you without some serious prep time.

I find I’m wanting more meat – aka actual scripture verses – than a lot of book studies contain. While personal anecdotes from an author can at times be helpful, I’m kind of burnt out on them… anybody else?

Ya’all –the Bible is filled with stories put there by God Himself to illustrate Truths in His Word.

Psalm 119_18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law

Does this strike anyone else as kind of odd?

What is holding us back from picking up the Bible and studying it?

I get that many of us, myself included, don’t feel smart enough.

We want someone to coach us along. To hold our hand as we dig into God’s Word.

Girls! We’ve got the Holy Spirit! There is no better coach anywhere!

When we spend more time in Bible study books reading rather than opening the Bible, there is a problem!

2 Tim 3_16 and 17 All scripture is

Maybe it’s the four years I spent in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) that’s creating some of this discontent. For those 4 years it was me, my Bible, and a list of questions. First we read and discovered things on our own, and only after that did we get a verse-by-verse lesson from our teacher and teaching notes from BSF International (much like what you’d find in any good commentary).

I’m wondering if other women in our church and community feel the same way.

Are they tired of being spoon-fed?

Are they longing for some meat?

Has God given them a hunger for His Word?

It’s time we stop unintentionally fueling the belief that our women are not capable of studying the Word without a well-known author at the helm.

I can’t help but to wonder what Jesus thinks of all of us. Does He sit there sighing, shaking His head, and musing, “Girls, I gave you the Holy Spirit and the Bible. You’ve got all you need.”

Does He get angry that we’re allowing a few wolves in sheep’s clothing to misconstrue His Word?

I’m not saying we should throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I’ve been praying about what to do.

I’ve sought wise counsel. I’ve been reading His Word, seeking confirmation.

This fall, if our Bible Study Review Team agrees, I’ll be facilitating a group that will be reading through one book of the Bible. (I don’t know which one yet.) On a side note: We almost always offer two “studies” so those wanting a “Bible study book” will still have that option.

Romans 15_4 through the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope

We’re going to rely on the Holy Spirit and our Bibles.

My initial plan is that each week we’ll read through a chapter. We’ll look at the context and share what we’ve learned about God.

Ya’all I am nervous as all get-out about this!

I’ve never done anything like it. Ever.

I feel completely unqualified. But that’s okay. I’m stepping out in faith and seeking to be obedient.

I’m praying other women in our group will desire the same and that someone (anyone?) will show up. I’m keeping my doubts and fears at bay, most days.

I’m not saying I’ll never pick up another Bible study book again. I know I will. I’ve grown and gained from most I’ve done.

I just know in this season, God wants me in His Word with the Holy Spirit as my helpmate.

Maybe you can relate.

I’d be humbled and honored if you’d pray for me and the women in our church and community as we deviate from what has become the norm in recent years.

I’d love to hear if God’s calling you to do something different this fall! Let’s be obedient together!

You may also want to read:
How to Set Up and Facilitate a Bible Study Review Team
5 Myths Bible Study Leaders Believe
My Favorite Bible Study Resources
6 Questions Your Women Will Have About the First Day of Bible Study

One year ago: 15 Creative Ways to Giveaway Door Prizes
Two years ago: The Sonshine Box
Three years ago: Why Name Tags are Important


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Comments

  1. Elizabeth, thank you for your comments and sharing your experience. You hit the nail on the head – it is an easy way out. While almost all of our women struggled at first to read and dig into the scriptures on their own, I think every one of them would tell you it did get easier. We must jump over the roadblocks Satan has placed in our minds. We CAN read scripture on our own. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth Benner says:

    Thank you for saying it, and good for you! I was used to expository Bible study as a participant, and then I was introduced to Bible study books. It’s an easy way out, not a bad one, just an easy one. Don’t have to do any individual study…no real digging unless you want to…sit back and be entertained. I do have great admiration for the teachers who have provided the Bible study books and know they work hard to do this for us, but they, of course, reap the full benefit. In the end, one must do one own’s study and meditation.

  3. Jackie – thank you so much for sharing! I so appreciate your obedience to what the Lord was asking you to do.

    We just finished our study of 1st and 2nd Timothy and our ladies LOVED it! Many weren’t sure they would like it when we first started, but God has done amazing things – growing their confidence in studying the Word and increasing their desire for scripture among so many other things!

  4. jackie harris says:

    i facilitated Bible Study Book Studies in my church for 13 years until i felt the Lord strongly impress upon me to STOP and just use the Bible. thanks you for this post! you have spoken my heart.

  5. Laura, how awesome! So excited for you and your women! I’d love to hear how it goes! Thank for sharing how God’s been moving in your heart and in your church. 🙂

  6. Seems God is indeed omniscient and it would seem from these responses He is at work in many of us about the same thing – His Word is sufficient! As a Women’s Ministry director, I’ve been unsettled about what studies we should be doing this fall. And like many summers prior to this one, I’ve been pouring over “what’s out there”. I’m being convicted that we need to return to the basics of Bible study and actually study the BIBLE. Thanks for putting into words exactly how I’m feeling. I’ve recently enrolled in an on-line Expository Teaching course through Simeon’s Trust in preparation for what I believe God is preparing for me to do. We did Jen Wilkin’s “Women of the Word” study last year and it was confirmation for me that we have all we need to teach the Bible if we have a Bible and the Holy Spirit’s leading. Followed that study up with Jen’s other two studies – 1 Peter and Sermon on the Mount. Now that the pattern has been set, I think our women are ready to do the same kind of study with live teaching.

  7. Thanks Judy! 🙂 I agree – it has the power to change our lives!

  8. Judy Osborn says:

    I could not agree more! Thank you for this post. God’s word is such a treasure and so life changing!

  9. 🙂

  10. Kristin Schuman says:

    Totally on the same page with you. 💚

  11. Gail, I am just the vehicle – glad God used me to give you a nudge. 😉 Praying for you as you “recalculate”.

  12. Ruth, thank you for sharing your experience! Clearly, I need to start reading this book! You’re among many that have recommended it! 😉 So thankful to hear how well this is working for you and your group! Thank you!!

  13. Cindy, I so appreciate your comment. I like the idea of alternating – that may be the perfect fit for many groups. And I also appreciate the encouragement to put our the Word to action! What good is it if we know we are to love our neighbors, but we don’t do it?!

  14. Praying for you Cynthia as you step out in faith and for God to clearly highlight WHICH book! (I need a neon sign with flashing arrows!LOL)

  15. Jana – we’ve got someone better than a celebrity writer-blogger-speaker holding our hand – we’ve got the Holy Spirit! But, oh how we forget that very important fact! 🙂 Thankful to have others in the “same boat”. 😉 Praying for you all as you plan in the fall! God is on the move!

  16. Oh Pat! I LOVE this! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience. I know it is an encouragement to me and will be to others! 🙂

  17. Susan, love to hear how God has grown your group! That is awesome!! Thank you for your encouragement! 🙂

  18. Sandra, thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your experience. I appreciate your comment about things that get your mind on yourself and off of Jesus. I’ve did a book last summer that was really missing Jesus in several of the chapters. 🙁 Bless you!

  19. Lori – Oh girl!!! Thank you!!! 🙂 What a blessing you are to me! 🙂 Love ya!

  20. Amy, What a blessing for the women in your neighborhood! I am so glad you mentioned having a “how to read your Bible” lesson. I had not thought about that! Great idea! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience!

  21. Love it! I’m planning to read the book this summer. 🙂

  22. Stephanie says:

    Our Ladies SS class just started “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilken. It’s on this very topic.

  23. I did this with the book of Mark at my Neighborhood Cafe Bible Study. Each woman brought her own Bible so we read from many different translations. We began with a little “how to read your Bible” lesson on understanding the little numbers and cross references. It was wonderful! Took longer than I planned but it was worth every moment.

  24. Lori Wilson says:

    I’ll be there with you!!! So you have one in your group.

  25. Oh my, you have spoken my mind & heart! The first Bible Study I ever participated in 20 plus years ago was Inductive Bible Study. It changed my life and for most of the years since, this is what I have been doing. Some of the ladies seemed to tire of them after many years and began other types of studies but I cannot get away from studying inductively. Nothing feeds my soul like the pure Word of God. Even though there may be a place for other studies, and I have done quite a few of them, I still do inductive study. Why is it some are continually searching for more when every Word of God is right there in the BIBLE. There have been a few good studies I have done but they have been ones that have stayed very close to the Word and not gotten off on their own opinions and touchy, feely, emotional issues that can sometimes get my mind on myself and off of Jesus. I am sticking to Inductive. It helps me to know I am not alone in my thinking. God Bless you Cyndee.

  26. Several years ago I had the same problem with our studies. I changed to an inductive Bible study. The first year I had two attendees. Five years later and our class has grown to the point of needing to split into two groups. The woman have voiced that they love it because they are truly digging into God’s Word.

  27. Pat Van says:

    I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Just finished a women’s small group. We read I Thessalonians verse by verse with just our Bibles, notebooks and pens and lots of discussion. This was a new venture. As a facilitator, not a a teacher, I was scared, but I felt that the Lord was leading our group to do this. After a slow start (participation-wise) it got “gooder and gooder”. We’re about to read 2 Thessalonians. Looking forward to it….and ….who knows what the Holy Spirit will have us do in the fall?????

  28. Jana Manning says:

    You have exactly described my discontent? with our current women’s studies. How will any of us ever step up to leadership if we have to have a “celebrity writer-blogger-speaker” hold our hand. Will be praying for you and your ladies and ask the same for our group as we plan for the Fall. Thank you for your open heart and willingness to share the struggles as well as the successes!

  29. Cynthia McCutcheon says:

    Yes Yes Yes!!!! You are not alone. I have been feeling this for some time, just a little nervous about the acceptance of it if I step out in faith. Now just to pick the book!!!!

  30. Cindy Cannon says:

    Hmmmm, very interesting read, this title caught my attention! First let me say that I started doing Bible Studies in 2008, it has changed my life, and I have a passion for God’s word like never before. With that being said, I have been convinced over the last year or so, that there are so many Bible Studies our there it is a over load!!!! Every time I turn around something new in my email or mailbox. Our bible study group has been altering from doing a Bible Study to studying God’s word together as believers. May the Lord help us as we seek Him, for His directions and knowledge. Lord help us to put Your Word to action, not just keep our heads in Your Word!!

  31. Ruth Vallevik says:

    This has my been my conviction for a number of years. By far the most helpful, spiritually productive Bible studies which I have led are those in which we have chosen a book of the Bible, personally studied the passage throughout the week in meditation and prayer, and then come together to share what God has taught us. This conviction was reinforced when I read Jenn Wilkins’ wonderful book, “Women of the Word.” I cannot recommend it highly enough.

  32. Gail Whitford says:

    WOW! Did you hit the nail on the head! I have been trained to use and teach inductive study of God’s Word, but have relied on others study guides. I guess this feeling of discontent with “Bible Studies” is a sign to get back into the teaching of The Word, without being propped up with other writers interpretation.
    Thanks for the nudge in the right direction.

  33. Amy, God bless you! I must admit I was afraid to hit “publish” on this post. I just ordered Women of the Word a couple weeks ago and am looking forward to reading it this summer. Your experience is a HUGE encouragement to me! So excited to hear about what God is doing in the lives of the women in your church! Praying it will be the same for ours!

  34. Amanda, thank you for the encouragement! 🙂 Praying God blesses your women in a mighty way this summer!

  35. I have been convicted about the same thing! Last year I read Jen Wilkins book, Women of the Word and then taking a similar approach started a new Bible study with our ladies in January. This has been amazing!!! Usually we only get through about 3 verses in an hour and a half Bible Study but we are learning so much! I am seeing so much growth in these ladies and my pastor husband and other members in our church are noticing the godly changes in these ladies too! So exciting to see what God is doing through our Bible study in the lives of each women!

  36. You are not alone! I have felt a similar conviction. We are doing a “Bad Girls of the Bible” series this summer, only using our Bibles! I’m so excited to bring these stories to life!

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