One of the best ways of connecting the life-giving word of the Bible to the events of life is through One 2 One Bible study. They can be short-term (e.g. 6 studies); they can be targeted at a particular struggle (e.g. purity/parenting); they can simply be about learning to read and engage with the Bible together. As we speak the truth in love to one another, we will grow up to become the mature body of Christ (Eph 4:15).
Surrounded by a sea of unfamiliar faces at prayer meeting, I tentatively sipped my tea and hovered round the snacks table waiting for the announcement that the service was about to start. Out of the blue, a friendly woman from the all-so-foreign 4pm service sparked up a conversation with me and we realised we had more in common than we thought. She was a fellow Spanish-speaking enthusiast with 3 children who also lived in Morden. Boldly diverting away from British bashfulness, she made the suggestion that we should read together and I agreed that it would be a good idea (while inwardly thinking we would both be too busy to ever make it materialise). The very next day, I got an email from Emily asking me to come round on Tuesday for dinner with the family and our first study together. I was genuinely touched she had remembered the request and wondered how I would fit in with the family….
Emily explained the routine that the kids would play for an hour/read and get ready for bed, while we would eat and spend time with them before the study. Having not grown up in a Christian home myself, this was the perfect insight into how a woman of God runs her home. Emily’s children were warm and fun and were actively being exposed to the word of God from the get-go. It’s been such a privilege to be involved in their lives, we even went to the pantomime together as a ‘family’ at Christmas!
We’ve completed two 6 week studies now and are currently on our third. I can honestly say the experience of reading 1:1 with a Christian woman in a different phase of life has been invaluable. I have had an insight into what’s going on at the different services and it’s much easier to ask deep personal questions which I wouldn’t explore at KG. As we know each other so well now, I can confide in Emily about life choices and decisions and we can pray for each other during the week. Not only is it the highlight of my week, I have gained the confidence to one day approach another new Christian to read with and return the favour.
I highly recommend a bible-reading buddy, as we get far further by walking together.
Having been drilled from a young age to always make a good first impression, I’d had very good intentions of tidying up the first time Louise came round…..
As so often happens in our family of 5, the afternoon didn’t quite go according to plan. When she arrived at 7pm, Louise took our chaos in her stride – she chatted to my older kids as I put the younger one to bed. I never dreamed for a minute she’d accept my invitation to arrive at the same time each week, I was convinced she’d prefer to arrive at the ‘safer’ 8:15pm, by which the little treasures would be tucked up in bed. But, to my utter amazement, Louise has come at 7pm every week. My children are visibly disappointed on the weeks we’re not meeting (e.g. in school holidays when our family routine is even more haphazard than usual) and were thrilled when she offered to come round to look after them so Tom & I could go out together. They count her as one of their friends rather than seeing her as one of mine. As they approach their teens, when they’re likely to pull away from parental influence, I’m so grateful to God for bringing another Christian role model into their lives.
I’ve found that rather than weakening my relationship with Louise, opening up my home at the most vulnerable time of day has meant that she has a deeper understanding of my role as wife & mother. As a result, her support & prayers are much more meaningful. And because she’s not at the same stage of life, she often has a refreshingly different perspective on things. That’s been invaluable during our Bible studies too. Reading 1:1 is much more conversational than group Bible study; we’re able to discuss particular situations in the light of Scripture in greater depth than I can in my Growth Group. It means our 1:1 is wonderful for helping me apply God’s word to my life and the accountability of seeing Louise each week also means I’m much more likely to persevere with the application.
When I started reading the Bible with Louise, I hadn’t expected to gain more than increased Biblical insight – obviously no small thing – but I’ve gained a precious sister in Christ. I’d encourage everyone to read the Bible with someone outside of their normal circle. Relationships built on the sure foundation of God’s word are to be treasured.
If you’d like to find out more about reading with someone One 2 One, or you want help finding a reading partner, speak with Victoria Robinson (at The 4), Jemima Kettle/Matt Bridges (at The 7), Gen Johnston or Andrew Nicholls. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org