There are many different ways to study the Bible, such as through personal reading and meditation, listening to sermons and lectures, discussion groups, or on a "one-to-one" basis. All are good. But our ministry is uniquely committed to one-to-one Bible study. God saved the ancient world through one man, Noah. God gave his covenant to one man, Abraham; Jesus taught Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman one at a time. Through one-to-one Bible study, each person is a student, and each person is a teacher. This gives the opportunity for each person to study at his or her own pace, ask questions freely, and seek answers with the prayer support of a friend.
We encourage those who want to engage in serious Bible study to prepare by answering study questions in advance and afterward to write a summary of what he or she has learned, including personal, practical application (testimony). In addition, at least once a quarter, we hold a Student Bible Symposium for those who would like to share their study with others.
Our one-to-one Bible studies are evangelistic in purpose, that is, we seek to lead people---one at a time---to meet the God of the Bible personally, and to come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
The Bible is the word of God, written by Holy men of old who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. We must not approach it critically but prayerfully---to learn what God is saying to us and to obey Him. There are three steps:
• Observation: What does it say? Pay close attention to the passage, noticing contrast, repetition and progression, as well as the facts.
• Interpretation: What does it mean? Prayerfully meditate on the contents, seeking to find its meaning, particularly from the author's point of view.
• Application: What does it mean to me? Are there promises to be claimed, commands to be obeyed, sins to be repented of? Look for prayer topics for yourself, for others, for your family, for the country and the world.
Our approach in Bible study is the question and answer session followed by personal reflection and testimony-writing; written lectures are also helpful. And we should avoid trying to force the Bible into theological systems such as fundamentalism or dispensationalism---for the best interpreter of the Bible is the Bible itself.
The Bible contains 66 books and was written over a period of more than 1600 years. Yet it is one book with a consistent theme: God's love and salvation for fallen mankind. Thus it is the source book of Judaism (Old Testament) and of Christianity. It has stood the test of time and the attacks of critics for the last 2000 years because it is the inspired word of God.
The Bible is, first, the history of Israel. Yet it is the history of us all, and Western culture has its roots in the Bible. We study the Bible so we may know who God is, who we are and why this world was created; then we can know the purpose and meaning of our lives. Bible study leads us to God, so it leads to Truth. Jesus said in John's gospel that if we hold to his teachings, then we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. [John 8:31,32]
AT CARLETON UNIVERSITY