Mind if we revisit the early 1980s? Big hair, big shoulder pads, big jewelry, and big Bibles in zippered covers made of leatherette or fake fur. They had deep pockets on the outside. A large dove. And handles. Seriously.
Back then I was a freshly minted Christian in my late twenties, eager to study God’s Word, but unsure where or how to begin. Should I take a course at the seminary in town? Flip open the Bible anywhere and dive in? Or start on page one and methodically read straight through?
Then I heard about a women’s Bible study meeting at someone’s house—a novel idea for this Former Bad Girl, who thought the only place people could study the Bible was at church on Sundays. “Do your homework,” the leader cautioned me. Clearly this group meant business.
I arrived that first Tuesday night wearing a dress and pantyhose. Every question in my workbook was dutifully answered—in pencil, in case I got it wrong. I nodded at the roomful of strangers, found an empty seat, then tried not to giggle when a middle-aged woman led us in praise and worship with her ukulele.
Fast forward three decades to Fall 2012.
Women still get together for Bible studies in people’s homes, but they’re more likely to show up with a Starbucks and an iPad. They might pop in a DVD or download a teaching video onto the hostess’s laptop. Or they might cook a meal together and share what they leaned that week by living out their faith.
The dress is casual, the discussion is lively, yet the Bible is still the central point. Everything has changed, yet nothing that truly matters.
Bible studies have also moved online. I recently started a Bible Study Blog with a walk through the book of Ruth, hoping to meet the needs of women who can’t swing a regular study or who are looking for a non-threatening way to get involved.
One participant confessed, “I wasn’t ready to attend a Bible study in person.” Another wrote, “I haven’t been to church lately….” An online study is a safe haven, a good place to begin. Or, to begin again.
Those zippered covers may never make a comeback, but wherever and however women gather, God’s Word is still relevant, still powerful, and still changing lives.
Liz Curtis Higgs is the author of 30 books, including her latest nonfiction release, The Girl’s Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World, and her new Victorian Christmas novella, A Wreath of Snow. As a conference speaker, Liz has presented more than 1,600 inspirational programs in all 50 United States and 14 foreign countries, and is thrilled to share the platform with her Women of Faith sisters this Fall as they Celebrate What Matters. Visit her Bible Study Blog at http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com/blog/