Adults would greatly benefit from a regular diet of God’s Word. Yet, if you were to survey your church’s adults, what percentage of people do you think consistently study God’s Word on their own? Sadly, in many churches, that percentage would be quite low. A Barna Research Report, The State of the Bible: 6 Trends for 2014, revealed that just 19% of adult Americans are “Bible engaged – who read the Bible at least four times a week and believe it is the actual or inspired Word of God.”
This should be a great concern to church leaders and Bible teachers who want to disciple people to grow in their relationship with the Lord. What can be done to raise that percentage with your group?
Previously I shared a friend’s story of being a Christian for about forty years before she started regularly spending time in God’s Word. What made the difference? — She finally realized that Bible study was a way to get to know God Himself, not merely a spiritual duty. Read more at: Adults Studying the Bible on Their Own
What Can Adult Teachers Do to Create a Thirst for Knowing the Author of the Bible?
Whether teaching from the pulpit or in a small group or classroom setting, adult Bible teachers can have a role in raising the percentage of people in their group who regularly study the Bible by creating a thirst within them for God Himself. Here are two components of that:
1) Let it begin in your own heart.
This is what God told the Israelites was needed for their children and their children after them to fear the Lord (Deut. 6:2). He said,
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when . . . (Deut. 6:4-8)
If we want to pass on a passion for God and His Word, it needs to be a reality in our own lives. Some things are “caught” more than they are “taught” and this desire to know and love God through His Word is one of them. This kind of zeal is something we can’t fake. It comes out in the illustrations we use, the way we talk about the Bible, how we turn to Scripture as our first response when seeking answers, etc.
2) Keep the focus of your Bible teaching on connecting with God.
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Because they are adults who are supposed to have longer attention spans than children and youth, we might be tempted to think teaching them is about getting as much content in as we can. Head knowledge, however, can’t be the goal if we want to spur students on to study on their own.
We need to help them to connect with the God who empowered Moses, Daniel, David, and the Apostle Paul, who wants to work in and through them as well.
If we don’t make it about getting to know the God behind the stories and truths, we will do little to create a thirst for getting better acquainted with Him on their own.