David Wright tells of his experience.
This weekly Study Group was set up by Deacon Gill Judge and the first meeting took place on Wednesday 27 January 2021. A break was taken during Lent as some members joined Churches Together in Broadstone Lent Study Groups and there was also a break during the main summer holiday period.
I feel a complete cheat writing these reflections, as I have not been a member of this group for very long. However, it is many years since I was last in a Bible Study Group, so hearing the present Zoom one at Broadstone was stimulating.
I was weaned on study groups of one kind or another, both when training to become, (and remain!) an Engineer, and when belonging to a series of Methodist and United churches. Among these groups, for me, were those for Local Preachers’ training. (I was once an active Local Preacher, but, after retirement, I had to give it up for complex family reasons.)
Chatting on Zoom has really taken off since the Covid pandemic got underway. Those who had not heard of it before, like me, are now addicts! It is ideal for a study group, if there are not too many members on it each time. Too many & there are likely to be problems with the sound, echoes and feedback. We usually have about 6 screens each session, some with two people. It also makes it easier for the leader to control our runaway enthusiasm.
Being a lot older now, I felt more relaxed, more at ease, in this Zoom group. There is also something about Zoom itself, which also helps me to let go. The regulars are a good crowd, full of fun, and yet very serious when the occasion demands – sometimes. None of us are young, so lack the latest knowledge on the streets, but we all enjoy talking, especially talking about the Christian faith. Each of us has different personal beliefs and different views about the Bible itself, so we don’t always agree, yet we agree more often than not.
It is called Bible Study, but it has been via other books. The group’s book I first experienced was Questions God Asks Us by Trevor Hudson. The Questions were all the words of Jesus; simple-sounding ones like ‘Where are you?’ and ‘What is your name?’, to flummoxing questions like ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ This book gave us plenty to chew on. The present book does, too. It is a Methodist Church publication Talking to God with others – Sharing your Faith. It was chosen, because three of our regulars had been thinking of suggesting it, as most of us find its subject a very difficult thing to do. The book starts with a reminder of our Methodist calling and continues with chapters including ‘Always be Ready’, ‘Talking about Jesus’ and ‘Talking about Church’. It reminds us to listen before talking, and to remember we don’t know all the answers, very few of them in reality. I personally, find it difficult to talk about any subject to casual acquaintances, but easier to chat with people I know better. Being a dyed-in-the-wool coward, I tend to wait until the other person speaks to me. Before I was virtually house-bound, I used to find the Church’s Coffee Shop a great place for meeting new people.
We Protestants centre our faith on the Word of God, in practice, on the Bible and Jesus Himself, as the living Word. So that is why we want and need to study the Bible and its surroundings. In our Zoom Bible Study Group, a mixed lot, we each use different translations of the Bible. Mine is the Good News version, others use the New International Version, (NIV) or the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Last time we looked something up in the Authorised Version or King James Bible. This can sometimes show us different aspects of the picture. I find that reading the same Bible passage after the study session, as well as during it, can be most illuminating; a totally new slant on the same words.
In conclusion, I feel challenged by the study, yet enlightened. It helps me to bring the Bible’s words to life.
If you would like to join a Bible Study group in the autumn watch out for details in Church notices or contact Broadstone Methodist Church Senior Steward, Joan Jackson.