By John D. Pierce

What’s passed off as group Bible study is often mere opinion sharing — perhaps after reading and disregarding a verse or two.

Or perhaps the chance to rehash Saturday’s ballgame, and to reinforce each other’s political preferences and prejudices — before heading into worship in hopes the sermon aligns with those inflexible positions.

This is most common in old men’s Sunday school classes. I say that more freely now, reluctantly fitting into that classification.

So a big question is: How many longtime Christians who claim biblical authority actually learn the Bible in intelligent ways that can also be applied to daily living — perhaps even involving changed minds, hearts and practices?

This is the Internet, so you don’t have to see if anyone else is timidly raising his or her hand. Besides, we know the likely answer.

However, if such scholarly but applicable weekly Bible study interests you — individually or in a group of any size, I heartily recommend the Nurturing Faith Bible Studies by my friend and colleague Tony Cartledge.

In collaboration with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, these lessons are easily obtained inside the print or digital subscriptions to Nurturing Faith Journal — which provide password access to additional online resources. These include lesson plans by David Woody and Jeremy Colliver, and Tony’s insightful “Digging Deeper” notes as well as his video overview of each lesson.

Even if the nutty editorial in the journal is ignored, the Bible studies are very worthwhile. I certainly learn a lot from them and Tony — who is uniquely gifted and experienced for this task.

After graduating from the University of Georgia, teaching school and serving as a rural pastor, Tony attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary — where my only recollection of him was hearing his name called out for every academic award.

Then Tony earned a Ph.D. in Hebrew Scriptures (yep, we call it Old Testament) from Duke University — and served as an excellent pastor and preacher.

A longtime minister, author, editor and professor, Tony’s education, experiences and communication skills are just right for offering honest biblical exploration without boredom, along with clear ways to put divine truths into our daily lives.

And if you preach, teach, worship and/or learn along with the Revised Common Lectionary, these lessons will help guide you along the path.

For more information, go here. Bible study doesn’t have to mean something disguised as Bible study. Give it a shot!


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