Raising the standard: Bible study alone isn’t enough in life of believers
By Kathi Holcomb
Special to The Baptist Paper
It hurt my feelings when I came to the conclusion that studying the Bible and teaching others was not enough in my Christian life. My whole adult life as a believer has been defined and touched by Bible study — and as many as I have attended, I have now possibly taught.
My delight has been to teach God’s word to women with the sincere hope that they, in turn, would delight in it themselves.
So, I have continued for years to lead video-based studies and teach through various books of the Bible in every church where my husband has served as pastor.
The goal was to get women into Bible study so they could understand more of the Bible and be transformed by the reading of the Word and the renewing of their minds. The goal was worthy but incomplete.
It was only through a more careful study of the final words of Jesus to His disciples that I came to understand the role Bible study plays in the life of a believer.
Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19–20, NASB).
The Commission of Jesus for His followers involves more than just getting them into a Bible study.
Bible study alone can never be the end goal. The Great Commission calls every believer based on Christ’s authority to go and make disciples.
In my experience, the making of disciples has often been relegated to providing Bible study opportunities alone.
In this mentality, one could choose to participate in a Bible study yet also choose not to participate in any evangelistic opportunity offered by the church.
One could consistently be involved in a Bible study but not impact the community through missions opportunities.
One could choose to be engaged in one Bible study after another and never become a disciple-maker.
All these things are part and parcel of being a disciple.
Matthew 28:19 is very clear about the task we have before us. We are all to make disciples, and being a disciple means we are all students of the Word, sharers of the gospel and ministers to the community.
The clarity of this commission was sobering when I finally saw the simple plan of God.
I had missed the total picture of what the Lord had in mind when He commissioned His disciples. A disciple is to be a disciple-maker; there is no way around this truth.
I am so grateful for the privilege of teaching the word of God to women, and it is still my delight.
But now I ask women to imitate me (1 Cor. 11:1) as I follow Him in the study of the Word, its application to my life and its memorization in my heart.
I challenge women to do the costly work of a disciple, and I hold them accountable to a high standard set by Christ. I disciple women to become disciple-makers who will then make more disciple-makers.
This way of living is the more costly path because it involves accountability to and for others.
Discipleship demands a standard that has unwittingly been lowered in the past.
My encouragement to churches would be to rally around becoming what Christ called her and equipped her to become — makers of disciple-makers.
Editor’s Note — Kathi Holcomb serves in ministry alongside her husband, Barry, who is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Belmont, Mississippi.
The One and only One
“The world has gone crazy,” some are saying today. In truth, the world has long been spinning off its axis and the crazies have always been among us. Serial killers and mass murderers are not a recent thing. Anyone who thinks everyone is beautiful and humanity is naturally good has not been paying attention. Your theology must deal with this dark side of humanity. Scripture tells us God is under no illusion about these creatures He made. “He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” He knew we needed a Savior in the worst way, and provided the One and only One who could turn monsters into lovers, tyrants into children. There is one Savior, His name is Jesus, and He is our only Hope (Ps. 103:14 and Col. 2).
Sometimes pastors need extra grace
Several years ago, our family needed the support of our church more than ever … and it turned out to be a harsh realization for me.
I was a driven, self-sufficient leader. The church was launching a second campus and expanding our ministries. I was arrogant and proud, thinking I always had to be the strong luminary — giving care but seldom receiving support.
The staff had to push through the wall of pride I built to minister to my family and me. One friend put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Pastors are just people, too.”
October is a month many designate to appreciate pastors and affirm church leaders. By all means, do whatever you can to express your kindness to these anointed servants.
My caution is not to make your October pastor appreciation emphasis a “one and done.” Remind the church family your pastor and staff need others to help carry their burdens during the entire year.
My desire for pastors is that they will experience the kind of love and support I did from my church family during my times of need. Pastors are just people, too.
Pastors … don’t make the same mistakes I did. You are not omnicompetent or omnipotent. Be as vulnerable and authentic with your leadership as possible when going through significant struggles.
Sometimes it’s wise to reach beyond your congregation to a confidential biblical counselor or another experienced pastor.
Reach out for the support you need and allow your church to minister to you.
Chris Crain, executive director
Birmingham Metro Association
“Broken and spilled out, and poured at your feet. In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out and used up for thee.”
Steve Green, Excerpt from ‘Broken and spilled out’
Good morning. Show up. Be humble. Whatever you do, do it in Jesus’ strength, for His glory. Treat people like Jesus died for them. Forgive quickly. Say I’m sorry often. Go to sleep. Repeat.
@DerwinLGray via Twitter
I’ll never get tired of reading this statement because it’s so true. I leave empty every week! “Preachers must leave the study full and preach themselves empty in the pulpit. It is to be likened to the image of pregnancy: the preacher is impregnated with the Word during the week and delivers the offspring in the form of the sermon on Sunday.” —Robert Smith Jr.
Quintell Hill, Multiply Church via Facebook
You do not have to live long before the realization emerges that suffering (in its various forms) is simply part of life. However, suffering tends to be rather meaningless unless one is willing to submit to God and His sovereignty.
Morris Murray Jr.
A more robust understanding of common grace is desperately needed in the church today. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father.
We’ve taken the common grace of God in medicine and pitted it against the gift of faith.
“Faith over fear” theology doesn’t have to contradict grace, common or particular.
God in His goodness and grace has healed myriads through miraculous means and myriads more with gifts of common grace.
Every pill of penicillin, every dose of chemo, every shot of insulin that prolong the lives of the just and the unjust flow from His common grace.
Why many evangelicals have booted this doctrine when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine baffles me. Everyone has liberty to take or not take the vaccine.
However, I do not believe we have the liberty to stand in judgment as being “larger in faith than weaker brethren” or God-forbid insulting others by calling them “sheep” for receiving the vaccine.
Pastor J. Allen Murray
Centerville Baptist Church
Rely on the wisdom of man & you’ll miss the power & presence of God (1 Cor. 1).
@jeffredding @PinelakeChurch via Twitter
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22–23)
From the Twitterverse
Most of us spend our entire lives avoiding the people Jesus spent His whole life engaging.
Pastors are heroes of the faith
Their work is constant
Their efforts can go unnoticed
They serve & give endlessly
And yet it’s all worth it to point people to King Jesus!
I know because I live with one and get to serve many
Thank you, pastors!
Pastor — after 40 years of ministry I continually am reminded that I need to be faithful to — preach, pray, love and stay. Be not weary in well doing. Our joy is not in results but in Jesus.
Sin is so comprehensive that it affects our reasoning. Someone offends us and we think vengeance is the proper response. Someone hurts us and we harden ourselves because pride and not vulnerability is considered “strong.” God, renew our minds. Amen.
Statistically speaking … Gen Z is the least religious generation we’ve ever seen in the U.S. However, they’re incredibly intrigued by spiritual things. Basically, they’re just turned off by institutions. So, primarily focus on winning them to your Jesus, not your organization. … Gen Z is done with “fluff and puff” messages, they’re hungry for “Spirit and Truth.”
Trust in leadership is given to those who are humble and consistent in character. Arrogance however is the biggest turnoff and will deny you the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. Me centered people ultimately tear down everything they build.
Prayer and faith are divinely designed remedies for anxiety. Roll your burdens upon God, for He cares for you and He is able.