One of the most encouraging activities in my spiritual life is bible study. In my early walk with God I was lead to a remarkable bible study in Holywood, Northern Ireland. Roy and Rosemary Millar graciously facilitated it over the decades from their beautiful red brick Victorian home, on the shores of Belfast Lough. As we renewed our friendship recently, and I joined them again on their journey I had a revelation that this place was my Irish Sea of Galilee.
By meeting regularly with a community of bible based believers, I encouraged myself to engage with the wonderful life-giving word of God. Group study is fun. And, it’s interesting when the bible scholars come and share. I enjoy the variety of interaction and how Roy used biblical people, places and things to stir my curiousity and search for truth. Curiosity and asking questions was welcomed and assumptions and judgments were challenged. Roy always asked great questions. Jesus was the ultimate master at asking questions and used them to reveal underlying motives and intentions of the heart. He needed this skill when dealing with the argumentative and confrontational Pharisees and Scribes of his day.
I discovered that rigorous study or meditation on the bible is not a strictly intellectual exercise. My mind was often quieted, and my heart opened up to the presence of God. Quiet the mind, open the heart describes how I drop down from the intellect into the heart to hear what Father God is saying to me. This is divine heart revelation that bypasses the intellect and more predictable information highways.
In a decreasingly communal society and a 24/7 media saturated world (including the production of fake news) we need more revelation not information.
Roy and Rosemary were amazing bible study leaders because they walk in the Father’s ways and are obedient to his word. Their ministry and leadership are marked with humility, love and goodness. Great leaders possess these qualities. In Psalm 23 David reminds us “surely goodness and mercy (love) shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” when we obey the Lord and walk in his ways.
Our social breaks, at the middle of the study were filled with all kinds of baked goods (love and goodness, Rosemary style). Sometimes we would have so much fun during the break, Roy would have a hard time re-establishing our focus and attention. Sometimes through the studies I would receive revelation, or guidance, or wisdom about a particular area of my life. Sometimes I would be convicted of personal sin. Sometimes I’d develop great friendships outside of the group that lasted for years and still continue today. Sometimes the group would take a trip to Israel or Uganda or host a celebration in someone’s honor. Sometimes Roy and Rosemary would invite a person to live in their home and join the bible study, so we got to meet people from around the world.
The world’s wisest man, King Solomon, created the world’s most dangerous book – Proverbs. He taught us through this wisdom literature how to use God’s wisdom to steady us, balance us, connect us, guide us, protect us and bless us.
Maybe you know of other benefits to living with God’s wisdom? Or maybe you know of other good bible studies in your area. Please share them with me in the comments section below.
Even though my favorite bible study has officially ended, Roy in his wisdom and incredible generosity has created a treasure chest of wisdom for us through his “Wisdom is a Tree of Life” website. The site has a single purpose – to assist you to engage with the wonderful, life-giving wisdom contained in the Bible. Check it out here;