There is one kind of Bible study that addresses personal needs. Then there is a study that provides knowledge that clarifies certain truths about the Bible, God and redemption, for example. There is another kind of study that is also of a personal nature, but goes much deeper. Let’s talk about these because they are important depending on what you need.
Personal Felt Needs
The first kind of Bible study may connect with popular self-interests of more consciously felt needs. For example, what does the Bible say about money, prayer, how to deal with personal temptation and trials, how to handle worry and anxiety, how to grow in humility and so forth. Then there are other acutely felt needs about relationships such as marriage, parenting, resolving personal conflicts, forgiveness and many others. There are hundreds of personal life needs that can be addressed from God’s perspective in the written Word.
This kind of Bible study asks, “How can I grow personally and spiritually as a more mature Christian?” This fills a definite need for all of us.
One caution flag for this kind of study is to be aware of and avoid reading a Bible verse or passage and asking, “What does this mean to me?” One can go off the rails by using the Bible arbitrarily to try to find personal application without correctly discerning what a verse or passage actually says and means in its context.
The second kind of teaching is doctrinal. This is more fundamental in respect to substantive truth. So, for example, a systematic survey of the accumulated biblical evidence is important to tell us about who Jesus Christ is or about the doctrine of atonement. Subject matters of the divine inspiration of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the believer’s justification and so forth give critical knowledge on which we base our faith and life. Doctrinal teaching gives us assurance about what is true, correct and certain and a foundation upon which to build our lives. This kind of study is called systematic theology – conclusions of fact based on a collection of statements or proposition in the Bible.
The third kind of teaching is what I call core teaching. This is the most in-depth teaching that goes right to the very core of our existence. It asks and answers the questions
- Why do I exist?
- Why was I created”
- What is the ultimate meaning and significance of my life?
Core teaching sets us on a path to live the life we were meant to live. It is finding life itself and living it.
Personal application of more immediate felt needs is good, doctrinal teaching is better, but core teaching is the best.
Core teaching goes down to the roots – the essence of your life. It provides the reason for a passionate, sacrificial life and a purpose and conviction worth giving up your life for.
I submit to you that the lack of connecting with life itself – what is truly life – is the deepest need of all. Without satisfaction of that driving need to find ultimate meaning and purpose, there is great internal pain. Perhaps not physical pain, but the pain described as despair. Could that be the reason for addictions such as drugs, alcohol, pornography or even addiction to work (workaholics)? Anything to numb the pain and feel some temporary relief from pleasure. Could that be the reason for sky-rocketing suicide rates? It gets to the place where some people just can’t take it anymore. They want out.
The remedy is core teaching. Few teaching ministries provide it or try to do so, but in error. You see the evidence when women are the predominant “essential engines” of local churches and when the majority of men could care less. Bible teaching today is basically meaningless to them. It doesn’t connect and engage men at the core level of their God-given authority. They would much prefer putting on their favorite team outfits and go to battle as spectators on the football field. It feels good – win or lose – because it provides them with some meaningful interaction to get them through to the next Sunday.
The Bible Mastery Boot Camp
Core teaching is the intended outcome of the Bible Mastery Boot Camp and the Covenant Heritage Series. It is designed for God’s Covenant People to discover for themselves what the Bible says and means. It provides a step-by-step systematic teaching and training to enlighten with knowledge and understanding about God’s purpose and plan to engage His People to manifest His Kingdom now.
I have been praying and asking the God of my fathers to send me men in my local area to teach them. My wife and I and another couple have been joining together to do that daily. We expect results because we know this is God’s will.
You can do the same where you live. Let’s start a Kingdom revolution!
by Lawrence Blanchard, ND, M.Div.