The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. According to the General Social Survey, nearly eight in ten Americans regard the Bible as either the literal word of God or as inspired by God. Fifty percent of those who have not read the Bible still believe it to be the “divinely inspired Word of God,” which is even higher — by 4 percentage points — than those who do read the Bible. When asked why they read the Bible, respondents named the number one reason as being personal prayer and devotion. But for pastors like Randy Frazee similar research shows that there is a disconnect between reading the Bible and actually understanding it. Frazee the author of The Heart of the Story: God’s Masterful Design to Restore His People shared with us in 2012 how he became passionate for helping others understand the Bible and why he believes it is important to study the Bible with others.
Frazee shares how he became passionate for helping others understand the Bible.
“When I was a kid, my only experience to the Bible was a black-zippered, leather Bible that sat on a bookshelf between my sister’s and my bedroom. I was drawn to it and would occasionally take it off the shelf, lay down on the floor, with legs crossed in the air behind me and search its contents. I’d read it but it didn’t make sense. I’d rumble around the pages, look them over and then simply close and zip shut the book until the next time, hoping that someday it would all make sense. My family had no faith, it was generations of unbelief. When I was 14 years old, a neighbor invited me to attend Vacation Bible School. I went for the week and listened…I felt a tugging in my heart and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. That’s when I became part of the story in a different way. God pursued me—he’s preparing me to live, to spend time with him, and he wants me to play a part… In 2005, I was the senior pastor at a Bible church in Ft. Worth, noticing that [even in a Bible church] people really didn’t get it [the Bible], capturing the heart of the story. I tried several things—reading through the Bible in a year—which didn’t work because [it went back and forth between the Old and New Testament] people never really understand the story; they were just reading the stuff and trying to pull something out. But there is so much more to the power of the story. I [also] tried doing Griggs Bible chronologies and that worked for like three people, [laughter]. I came across ‘The Story,’ and I was really captured by it. It offered a possibility for people to not only go through a Bible survey class, which is an alternative for this where you get the facts, but to be able to experience it, and thought it might be a good idea. Although it wasn’t the entire Bible in text, it was all scripture.”
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Frazee explains why he believes it is important to study the Bible with others.
“Studying the Bible with others is a key element to understanding. I like to give the analogy of someone trying to quit smoking. You desire to quit on your own. The percentage rate for success is very low. If you add a tool, such as a nicotine patch or gum, etc., you increase your success rate by about five percent. If you add another tool such as that of doing with in a community (with others) you increase your success rate by 40 percent. It’s the same with studying the Bible. If you read the story you will get it but you need someone to come alongside of you and show you the clues along the way…reminders of how it all links together, and that’s what The Heart of the Story and a group setting can do.”
Find a small group. Whether your church is large or small, you have been a believer for a long time or just became one recently, it is important to find a group that you can study the Bible with. Small groups not only provide a place where you can study the Bible, but you can ask questions on things you don’t understand, get encouragement from other believers, pray with others and develop friendships. If you are having trouble finding a small group that fits your schedule at your church, look at other local churches or start one with your friends. You don’t have to all go to the same church to have a small group together. It could be with co-workers or other classmates during lunch, your teammates after practice, or a group of moms while the kids play.
Study the story. It can be difficult to read and understand the Bible on our own. There are lots of great devotionals and Bible studies out there that can help you in your relationship with God. Ask your small group leader or pastor for some suggestions on where to start. Commit to studying the Bible for ten minutes each day. As you become faithful in this, allow that time to grow.
Live the story. God wants us to be a living reflection of the Bible to others through our love and grace. Take time this week to pray and ask God how you can be witness to those around you. It might be doing an act of service, asking forgiveness to someone you may have hurt, or sharing your testimony with someone. Be obedient as the Holy Spirit guides you.
To read our entire interview with Randy Frazee, click here.