A Bradenton, Florida, Sunday School class is challenging its members’ understanding of Scripture.
For several years now, Bayshore Church of the Nazarene has offered an elective class focusing on rediscovering the Bible. The content is collected from Continuing Lay Training, found on Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International's The Discipleship Place website, and focuses on bringing Scripture to life in a way that people may or may not have heard before. The group is led by retired minister and longtime Bayshore member Larry Brown.
When Brown started teaching the Sunday School class, they began with a book series. It wasn’t until some time passed that the group evolved into what it is today when John Comstock of The Discipleship Place recommended this curriculum to Brown. Now, the class has moved through the entire New Testament and has started diving into some Old Testament reading, including Genesis, Exodus, and some of the minor prophets.
What seems to make these lessons so powerful is how they approach studying the Word. Focusing on questions and answers as well personal study, the best part of the lessons are not what they teach the members, but what the members discover on their own.
“It gives you enough information to intrigue you enough to dive into it some more,” Brown said. “The study needs cross-referencing, and that is what enables us to dive into it on our own.”
Group members Danny and Rosalie Moore say that “the lessons have been helpful in understanding Bible passages, [and] God's Spirit is always there.”
Another member, Barbara Martin, says “I enjoy the Bible studies because they help bring out points we may not have completely understood previously and each time we read a passage, God may open our hearts to a new understanding of His Word.”
This hasn’t been an overnight endeavor, either. Bayshore has been building this small group for well over a decade, and for these group members, it has been a slow, intentional process.
"I have really enjoyed the classes as we have studied the lessons together and then did our questions," Brown's wife, Linda, said. "Not only during the studies but also the questions and answer time brought out such good discussions. I have learned a lot from the lessons, and they make you want to learn more. It has been so interesting hearing what others think and share."
“[These lessons] still bring life back to Scripture, and makes me say 'I have never heard it that way before,'” Larry Brown said. "These lessons present the importance of teaching holiness and all the biblical truths. It's exciting to realize the truths that come back to you, and new truths and teachings you encounter as you go through the lessons. It helps me to sense His drawing me closer to Himself and to desire a closer walk with Him. Every lesson continues to bring forth new truths and understanding.”