Imagine a conversation in which one person shares their heart and mind without getting a reaction from the other person. That would be very strange. Yet, this is sometimes how we treat God.
If the Bible is God’s Word to us, then what is our answer? If this is what God says, then what do we say back to him? Scripture engagement involves hearing and responding to God’s Word. Sometimes our Bible studies seem to be primarily about collecting information. Each time, we add a bit more to our knowledge pool. That’s good, but it’s not an adequate response to the voice of the living God.
What is the response a certain passage of Scripture calls for?
This question is worth asking in every Bible study. It might be a deed of mercy, seeking reconciliation with someone or some other step of obedience and faith. Yet, not every passage of Scripture calls us to go and do something. The most appropriate response might be to worship and praise God for who he is or to receive his love and grace anew.
How can we help students respond to the Word of God with their lives?
Including a time of response in our Bible studies could be a first step. This goes beyond talking about possible applications of a Bible passage. Depending on the passage, a time of response might consist of worshipping God together, silent reflection, communal prayer, going and doing something as a group, etc. At the end of Bible studies, I’ve often experienced that prayer requests were shared which were all completely unrelated to the passage just studied. A strange conversation. This can be changed by introducing a time of prayer with the question: How can we pray for you in light of this Bible passage? As we pray God’s Word back to him, we are giving it room to shape us. God’s word will unfold its power in our lives as we give an answer – in word and deed. We are called to be not only hearers, but doers of the Word. As James says: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). Scripture engagement is not complete until God’s Word is translated into life.