sharing the joy

Your average day looks like this.

You get up and say “good morning” to your spouse or child or roommate. You read the news and check the weather. You scan the latest on social media, be it good, bad, life-altering, or pathetically unimportant, sent with love from your family, your friends, your enemies, and people you’ve never met. You spend the larger part of the day speaking, or listening, or both, using five different devices. At evening, you have a conversation with your spouse, or play with your kids, or hang out with friends or neighbors, or go to a noisy coffee shop so you can concentrate on your studies.

Before you go to bed, you sit in a corner of a dark room with your Bible and your ear buds and attempt to shut out all leftover noises while you “spend time with God.”

You don’t eat alone. Or work alone. Or shop alone. Or study alone. You don’t even work out alone.

So why do you study the Bible alone?

sharing the joy

Have you ever considered how many times the Scripture talks about being alone with God? There is one clear example of Jesus doing so.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

Otherwise, the idea doesn’t exist much in the Bible, especially regarding believers spending “quiet time” in the Word.

But there’s this thing you might call “community,” where you share in the joy of knowing God. It’s the principle of “one another.” Almost like you’re part of a body or something.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Eph 4:15-16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Col 3:16

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Heb 3:13

And let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Heb 10:24-25

Digging into the treasure of the Word in community might look something like this:

Studying the Bible. It seems obvious, but a lot of “Bible study” groups do anything but. And in comparison, I’d rather study the Bible for a couple of hours than get into a debate, or talk about life issues, or make small talk, or play a game, or eat a meal. The Word brings life.

Digging Deep. Get some friends together. Choose a small book of the Bible {or a few chapters from a larger book}, and study it for three months. Read the entire passage weekly as individuals on your own time {the “private time” in the Word you were worried I was leaving out}. Get together once a week and talk about it. And there you have a recipe for some amazing times. Been there and done that and working on a lifetime plan.

Continuing the Conversation. Let “Bible study” go beyond the “Bible study.” Don’t simply shift back into “real life” when the meeting is over. Keep reading it. Keep thinking about it. Keep talking about it. Keep living it. And don’t stop there. Share it now. You don’t have to save your questions and comments until next week’s gathering.

Thinking Outside the Box. Consider just how many ways you can share what you’re learning. The possibilities are endless. Call someone and tell them about it. Text it. Tweet it. Write about it. Sing songs about it. Keep an eye out for how else it’s going to show up in your life. Have fun. Simply allow the joy to overflow.

Fair warning. It might just change your “devotional life.” That “quiet time” that you are so obligated to fulfill.

Because this is when you no longer have to motivate yourself to study Scripture. This is when you start running to your Bible for answers. This is when you find yourself pouring over the Word for hours on end. This is when you just can’t get enough.

This is when you abandon the dark corner of your room.

This is when you can’t help but share the joy.

[image credit: wikipedia commons, journeyoftheword.com]


5 thoughts on “sharing the joy

  1. Yep, you did have me worried for a minute there, but I get what you mean. Quiet time isn’t supposed to be an obligation but a joy, a communing with God. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be scheduled, depending on the person. And a lot of people do learn better in community and are motivated to study the word by being in community. I totally agree. Plus, a lot of people don’t have their own copy of the scriptures or can’t read.
    I do humbly beg to differ, though, about what you seem to be saying about the idea not existing much in the Bible. It seems clear to me that Moses’ conversations with God were alone (Ex. 33:10, 11,12-23). Daniel daily spoke alone with God. David the shepherd boy communed with God alone while he watched the sheep and wrote a bunch of the Psalms and spoke often of meditating on the word. Joshua in 1:1-9. Samuel, Elijah and the other prophets who spoke from God. (Rom. 15:4; 4:23; 1 Cor. 10:6,11) The apostle John in the Revelation, the apostle Paul in various places (Acts 9; 2 Cor. 12; Gal. 1:15,16; Eph. 1:15-18; Phil. 1:3,4; 2 Tim. 1:3; Philemon 1:4; 2 Cor. 10:5b). And this list is not exhaustive.

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    1. You make a great point! I really was referring to the New Testament’s lack of reference to this idea of a personal, separated-from-community “quiet time.” I think personal conversations with God are certainly crucially important and biblical. And in order to contribute to the discussions I have with others about the Word, I have to be in the Word on my own for sure! But my main point here was to say, “Don’t simply have personal time with God and stop there. Bring the community of believers in to join you!” In reference to the New Testament church and New Testament Christians (I don’t mean to negate the Old Testament at all!), there is much encouragement to be in the Word together. We shouldn’t be loners in this thing!
      Hope that helps to clarify, but, yes, you make a great point that there are certainly examples in Scripture where men and women of God spoke with God one-on-one. Thanks for sharing!

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      1. Oh, okay. That’s true that we shouldn’t just stop there. God made us for His good pleasure. He wants personal and private relationship with us, but not so we can grow fat and satisfied with the ingestion of His Word. Rather, it is so that we can glorify Him by sharing what we gain in those sweet, personal moments with Him, to encourage others in the church and to attract those who do not yet know Him with the honey of the Word and the sweetness of Christ so that they, too, may come to know Him.

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  2. Several of my friends and I hold community Bible studies each day – and we’re spread all over the globe! We all read and reflect on the day’s passage, then share our thoughts on a private message board, so that we can all read the thoughts and take part in the discussion. I’ve always felt it made such a difference to study this way! Thanks for joining us at #FridayFrivolity!

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    1. How awesome! I would love to be a part of something like this! I keep three Bible studies going at a time, and I’ve always considered doing an online study like you’re describing. It sounds like a blast!

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