We’re just a week or so away from beginning our new free weekly series How to Study the Bible on this blog and by email delivery. It’s a follow-up to our very popular series How to Understand the Bible that we published.
Bible Gateway interviewed pastor Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz), author of Spiritual Influence: The Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012), on what we can expect from this new series.
What will the new weekly series How to Study the Bible encompass?
Mel Lawrenz: I’m truly looking forward to offering a weekly lesson for anyone who uses Bible Gateway on the ways all of us can go beyond reading the Bible to understanding it as we study it. Largely this is about knowing what questions to ask, and then where to find the answers. But it’s also like exploring an exciting expansive place. Bible study is all about discovery. Whether you’ve been reading the Bible seriously for decades, or just starting out, there are time-honored ways for all of us to dig out the meaning of Scripture and apply that meaning to our daily lives.
You say that “studying” the Bible is for all believers, and not just pastors, teachers, and scholars. What do you mean?
Mel Lawrenz: How to Study the Bible is for everyone because we all need to peer intently into the meaning of Scripture. This ought to be the daily pattern for all believers. Much of this is about training our instincts so that as we’re simply reading along in the Bible, our minds are studying it as we go along.
What might those who teach the Bible get out of this series?
Mel Lawrenz: Having taught the Bible in every conceivable context and in every part of the world (except Antarctica) I have a deep longing to help those who teach the Bible, whether in a small group, in a class, to a congregation, or wherever. What we teach has value if it’s based on the truth of God. Otherwise we’re wasting everybody’s time with mere opinions.
Last year you produced a 30-week series titled How to Understand the Bible which was popular among subscribers. What did you learn from doing that series?
Mel Lawrenz: I was inspired by the tens of thousands of people who read along each week. I was heartened that so many felt encouraged that the Bible, though challenging to understand at times, truly is the mind of God given to us in human words.
We understand that there’s a paperback book version of How to Understand the Bible and that it’s also coming out in numerous languages. Tell us about that, and the “get one, give one campaign.”
Mel Lawrenz: Yes, it’s been exciting to support the translation of How to Understand the Bible into Spanish, Amharic (Ethiopia), and (in process) Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Creole, German, and other languages. When anyone purchases a copy of the paperback How to Understand the Bible, we’ll use the proceeds to get one into the hands of someone overseas. All that someone needs to do is get one or more copies here. Also available is the college edition and the Spanish edition.
Bio: Mel Lawrenz, author of several books, trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years, having succeeded Stuart Briscoe, and now serves as Elmbrooks’s minister-at-large. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought (Marquette University), is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University, and is the director of The Brook Network.