As we begin a new online Beth Moore bible study for women we realize that for some of you, this is your very first bible study and the format is unfamiliar to you. Keep in mind the purpose of bible study is to draw near to God. We do not study in order to become bible experts or to argue doctrine, we study because it brings our hearts closer to God. Bible study is a journey, not a destination. Unlike other books which are read cover to cover, scripture is read throughout your lifetime. It’s a journey into the teachings of Christ and the will of God.
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
- You need a bible. Find a bible in a translation you prefer. Most bible study authors use the NIV or NKJV bibles. There are many online bible websites you can use such as Biblegateway.com
- Begin your study by reading about the author and the introduction. Here you will find direction and information to explain the workbook format.
- The 5 Levels of Participation. This is new for a Beth Moore study and confusing to some people. It’s intended to push you to a higher level of study. If you are new and this is your very first bible study, we recommend you follow the traditional level of participation (Level 1 or Level 2). I’ve completed more than 30 bible studies and I’ll be doing Level 2 and also reading the articles. Resit the temptation to be prideful or competitive and keep your focus on God.
- Viewer Guide Sessions. The viewer guides are an outline format of what Beth Moore is speaking about in the video or audio sessions. In a traditional offline bible study, you would be sitting in a church watching the videos. So the Viewer Guide is simply a resource to take notes as you view the sessions. If you are learning independently at home or online, you might be listening to the audio sessions and the Viewer Guide serves the same purpose. Not everyone is able to watch the videos or listen to the audios, and for this reason the publisher Lifeway offers the ability to download the answers to the Viewer Guide. This is simply a courtesy for those who want to fill in the blanks of these pages in their workbooks, or for those who missed church event.
- Weekly Sessions. Your study is divided into weekly sessions. Each day of the week, you’ll read one segment of study. This usually requires 30-45 minutes of time. In your daily study you’ll find lessons from Beth and a few questions for reflection or discussion. If you stumble on the question and are unsure of the answer, move to the next paragraph and you may find the answer there.
- Avoid Perfection. This is not a college class where you are graded on your work or effort. It’s important to avoid perfection and focus on your relationship with God rather than finding the perfect answer to every question. As you work through the study you may find your thoughts wander towards your personal experiences. This is the effect of bible study- it brings the Word of God into your heart and makes it REAL to you. If you are so busy being a perfect bible study girl, memorizing scripture and filling in the blanks- you will not have the intended experience.
- Participate in Group Discussions. These discussions are important to your growth. When you post a comment or reply to a comment, you are engaging with other members of your spiritual family. We are a “no shame zone” and condemning others is not tolerated. We do not engage in doctrine debates and Pharisees are forbidden to preach legalism here. Each woman participating is a Daughter of God and is respected by the guests of the Bible Cafe.
- Group Leaders are Not Experts on Scripture. Group leaders are growing in faith and learning alongside you. They have a heart for bible study and encouraging others to draw near to God. The workbook is our guide and is a compilation of Beth Moore’s knowledge and research on the bible. Beth is the teacher, we are the leaders.
- Expect Warfare. Every woman will tell you she has experienced a series of negative events as she begins bible study. One woman told me her home was flooded and her bible and workbook were destroyed midway through her study. Another women reported her computer crashed and she lost her access to the online study. Others have experienced health problems, relationship problems or financial problems. While these events occur normally in life, they seem larger and stronger when you are in bible study. Often its the work of Satan as he seeks to distract, discourage or destroy your relationship with God. Pray through these distractions, and if the burden is too heavy, reach out to others for prayer.
These are some suggestions for your first Beth Moore bible study. If you have some other suggestions please post a comment below.