Bible study is always important. As we study, we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we study, the Holy Spirit strengthens our faith. But because our thinking still is influenced by sin, we are easily distracted by other issues and even allow those issues to take precedence in our lives. That can happen to those of us who handle God’s Word every day. It also can happen to those who come to study with us in our Bible classes.
As we continue our discussion of one of the principles of adult learning—that adults need to be motivated to learn—we are going to focus on the application. Putting effort into crafting application questions will pay dividends by helping the students recognize why the truth that was studied in God’s Word is important to their lives.
How does a pastor help people see why the lesson is valuable for their lives? His first option is to tell them. For example, after studying Romans 5:1-5 the pastor could say, “Paul’s words apply to us too. When we face troubles in our lives, we may become discouraged and be tempted to believe that God doesn’t care for us. But Paul assures us that our suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope.” That’s all true, and wonderful! But, has the student grasped it? Perhaps the student might hear the statement without really thinking of how Paul’s response offers solid comfort to him or her.
Adult students might see more clearly how the passages apply to their challenging life situations if you guide them to think of specific situations that Satan could capitalize on to try to get people to conclude that God must not care for them. Consider the following examples:
- Pick one of the groups of people listed below, and give an example of the kinds of challenges they might face that could lead them to question whether God cares about them.
– Young adults
– Aging Christians
- Take two minutes. Think of a situation you’re aware of in which suffering has led to perseverance, to building character, or even to hope. (If you don’t know of a real life example, feel free to describe a situation in which those things could happen.) Share your thoughts with the person next to you.
When you develop applications in this way, the class members learn to grapple with the important scriptural truths for themselves and recognize how those truths apply to their own lives. That not only helps the learners see, in a concrete way, how important Bible study is, but it helps them develop the skill of applying Biblical truths to their lives as they read God’s Word privately.