Tag Archives: bible study

3 Things Essential to In-Home Church Groups

“. . . Teaching you in public and from house to house” (Acts 20:20)

Let’s imagine for a moment that, since the birth of Christianity as recorded in the book of Acts, no one ever built a church building. Never. No one took into consideration that a large number of believers could meet in a large building for worship. But believers still need to meet for worship because it’s biblical . . . So where would they meet? The most convenient place would be in homes. That’s the next best thing to gathering for worship in a church building, isn’t it? Bible study and worship in your own home. Well, that’s exactly where the early church met for worship before there was ever one brick laid in construction of a church building (Acts 2:46; 20:20; Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philemon 2).

Many churches are still following this model for “doing church” even today, and they should be because it is both biblical and strategic for reaching people for Jesus Christ with the gospel. First it is biblical. It is biblical because it is usually only a smaller version of our regular corporate worship gatherings at our own local church. The Bible commands and exhorts us to meet together with other believers (Psalm 150:1-6; Matt. 18:20; Heb. 10:25; 1 John 1:7). You cannot be a growing, thriving believer if you’re not attending and participating in a local church somewhere. So meeting in a home for worship and Bible study, or meeting in a community center or restaurant is only a condensed version of what you would normally do with more believers in a larger setting and building. Second it is strategic for reaching people for Christ. Most people today, especially today, have their preconceived assumptions about the church. With this in mind, people are far easier to reach with the gospel in your home or out in public, than they are in the church. When you think about it, that is actually essential to the way evangelism is supposed to be done. People will respond more positively to an invitation to your home than they will an invitation to a church they know nothing about. You can reach them with the gospel in your home, and then they are far more likely to attend your church and continue attending your church. We need to be reaching people with the gospel and bringing them into our churches in non-threatening ways. We’re not changing the message of the gospel, only the means through which we present it. We can have a bonfire at the house, a cookout, we can meet for lunch with a couple of friends, and the list goes on and on – there are several available options for meeting places, which makes it that much more strategic for reaching people for Christ.

So you want to start doing this. You want to get this thing going. You want to be biblical and you want to reach people for Christ through our own home and community. Well, there are at least three things essential to these “in-home” church groups. Three things that you need to keep in mind in order to start and sustain groups in your community or home:

1. Focus. You need a missions-focused church that is on board and ready to do smaller churches in homes. I believe we should excite our church members by sharing with them this model of doing church, and encouraging them to participate in and support it. If no one else in your church is concerned about outreach, you should be concerned about your church – they are destined to close their doors. Your entire church needs to be focused on reaching people with the gospel in this way. It might take some time to get members informed about this, and excited to participate, but your time will be well spent if you do so. This is something that should be consistently promoted in your local church. Both you and your church should have a continual focus on meeting in homes, so that members can participate and do the same thing you’re doing.

2. Training. You need people who are trained, at least in some way, to teach the Bible – leading those Bible studies, able to answer tough questions, able to lead others to Christ, and things of that nature. Someone in your church may have an earnest desire to be involved in small groups that meet in homes, but if they haven’t ever taught a Bible study, they need some type of training where they can learn how to do so. It doesn’t need to be formal Bible college training per se, but they need to know the basics because one day they will teach someone else to be a teacher of the word. You and your church should have people who are fully prepared.

3. Resources. Anytime something like this is done, you need resources. You need financial resources, literary resources, and a place to meet. Your home should be a place where you can meet for Bible studies. If it’s a one bedroom apartment, it’s probably not the best place to meet. Perhaps you can meet in your local park or in a restaurant or coffee shop. You also need literary resources: Bibles, Bible study booklets, books on the Bible, gospel tracts, etc. Those things will contribute to your overall outreach. Many people you will have in your home or meeting place do not have resources like this. All of this will require some type of financial support. Are you financially able to carry out a continuous small group Bible study? Are you financially able to have cookouts or snacks around the table when you meet for fellowship?

Those are a few things to keep in mind as you have “in-home” church groups. Is there anything else would you add?

Exciting Bible Study Series in 2015

One of my favorite things to do as a minister is to plan future Bible studies and sermon series. The anticipation is more intense than a three-year-old waiting for Christmas morning. I cannot wait to teach the Bible. Jeremiah’s words burn in my heart (no pun intended): “There is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot” (Jer. 20:9). I am privileged at a local church to teach regularly, and with this privilege I get to plan for upcoming Bible studies. I will share with you some of God’s stirrings in me for upcoming Bible studies in 2015:

1. A Gospel-Shaped Community

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If the gospel doesn’t shape you, you’ve never experienced the gospel. One of the most unique things about the gospel is that it doesn’t just transform individuals, but it transforms individuals into a community of people shaped by the gospel. That’s what Titus is all about. Often times, people overlook this letter because it is a pastoral letter from Paul to his “true child in the faith,” Titus (1:4). But in reality, it’s not just a personal pastor letter from a concerned Paul to a young Titus. It’s a rich, theological letter, full of implications for what it means to be shaped by the gospel. Paul describes various people that make up this new community, and how they should be shaped by the gospel: Elders (1:5-16); Older men (2:2); Older women and younger women (2:3-5); Young men (2:6); Servants (2:9); and all of God’s people (2:11-14). We will study through Paul’s letter to Titus to see how people shaped by the gospel are called to live. I am excited about the spiritual growth and discussion that this sermon series will bring about.

2. 7 Churches of Revelation

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Revelation. Some people study this daunting book of the Bible with unreasonable skepticism, others stay completely away from it because of its unusual literary type. But even amid Revelation’s difficult symbolic language, and despite all the scholarly skepticism that surrounds it, Revelation is highly practical (as all of the Bible is). One of the most practical sections of Revelation is an outstanding section on the 7 Churches of Revelation. Now if you’ve read Revelation before, you easily recognize that there are seven-fold series (seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, etc.), and the first seven-fold series consists of the seven churches. In this section, Jesus Himself gives a diagnosis of each church, with both positive and negative elements. These were churches that were existent at the time when Revelation was written, and we must reflect on what characteristics we should have as Jesus’ church, and what characteristics we shouldn’t have as Jesus’ church. This is going to be an expositional study of Revelation 1:1-3:22.

3. Who Am I?

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Who are you? The answer to that question says everything about you. In our culture today, we allow so many things to define who we are. But what about who God says we are? Isn’t that infinitely more important? This study examines Ephesians 1:3-14 and looks at what God says about us as His people. No one can define who you are but God alone through what He’s accomplished through Christ.

4. In The Beginning

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We need to know about our origins. . . period. Everything else in the world is dependent on answering the question, “Where did we come from?” Looking at the first chapters of Genesis, we will learn how to defend the Genesis account of creation, looking at Genesis literally and expositionally. We will learn about the creation of the world, the creation of man, and the origin of sin. Your knowledge of origins will far exceed what it was before. I had tried to do this Bible study earlier this year, but couldn’t find a spot to slot it in, so I am going to aim for it again this year.

You can keep up with these upcoming Bible studies right here on Brandon’s Desk. I look forward to what God is going to do during these expositions of His Word.

Websites Useful for Bible Study

“Visit many good books but live in the Bible”—Charles H. Spurgeon.

There are millions of books available today that help us understand the Bible and its Author: paperback books, eBooks, Kindle books, etc. But with our ever-advancing culture, it is also important to remember that there are also a great deal of helps via internet. I would like to share with you three of the websites that I have found most useful for Bible study:

1. Bible Gateway

For years, one of the most helpful Bible study websites has been www.biblegateway.com, and I know that it will continue to benefit me spiritually in the future as well. On the left hand side of the page, you will find a directory of helpful information ranging from a “passage lookup” all the way to daily devotionals. You can search for any Scripture and read it in different translations using the “passage lookup.” You can hear the Bible read aloud using their various audio Bibles. Searching for Scriptures by topic, for example click on Topical Index and search for “salvation” and all of the Scriptures pertaining to it will appear in their contexts. You can also search Bible Gateway for any particular Bible word you are looking for. There aren’t any commentary helps on this website, which is a downside, but on the Additional Resources page, there are listed helpful commentaries that you can purchase or read elsewhere.

2. Bible Hub

Bible Hub (www.biblehub.com) was the first Bible study resource website that I was introduced to. It is one of the best and most helpful Bible study websites available. Like with other Bible study websites, you can read the different translations of the Bible. What is unique about this feature, however, is the Parallel reader. With it, you can read all the English translations of a verse on one page. Below the different renderings of verses are helpful commentaries by Matthew Henry, Barnes, and many others. Sermons is also a helpful feature in that it searches for sermons on the Scripture for which you are searching. The evangelists and preachers listed are endless. Another distinctive feature of Bible Hub is the helpful Greek and Hebrew tools. You need to be well-versed in using Greek, however, to really get the best use out of the Greek and Hebrew tools available. There are also Bible book summaries available, chapter outlines, Bible pictures, and even more helps available at Bible Hub.

3. ESVBIBLE.ORG by Crossway

Finally, the most helpful Bible study website that I believe is available is www.esvbible.org. You can easily create a free account with them, but in order to use the best helps, you will have to get out your pocket book. There are many features you can use without purchase: first of all, the English Standard Version of the Bible. In my opinion, this is the most accurate, literal translation of the Bible into English that we have available today. This version of the Scriptures really speaks for itself. Second, searching the Bible according to specific texts, passages, and key words is as easy as 1, 2, 3. You can also take exhaustive notes on any text or passage at any time. Another free feature is the John Piper Sermons app. You can read or hear any sermon by John Piper if it is related to the text that you are studying. However, the features you can use available for purchase are much greater. You can access the ESV Study Bible by using esvbible.org. This is one of the best study Bibles available today. The book introductions, the Christian doctrine, the precise explanations of texts are all things you will find in the ESV Study Bible. Most of the features of esvbible.org are apps that you simply add to your free account. The apps are endless—they range from different study Bibles by Crossway to Greek tools and sermon helps. This website has been a great help to me for years and will continue to be my favorite Bible study website. May we continue in our love for the Word, and more importantly—our love for the Author.