Helping New Members Transition from Bible Information Class to Personal Bible Study
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For many adult confirmation students, in-depth study of the Bible ends when they complete the final pages of their Bible Information Class. During multiple weeks and months these new members are instructed in the truths and teachings of the Bible. Each week they get into the Word personally, see its meaning in their lives, and grow in faith and knowledge. But at the end of the course personal growth in the Word stagnates and all the momentum of consistent study of the Word is lost. What can pastors and new members do to keep the momentum going? How can pastors help new members transition from directed study to personal Bible study? How can they help new members, who turned the pages of Scripture throughout many weeks of study at church, keep the pages turning at home? This paper is a study of how to help new members read the Bible on their own. Current thought and countless pages of research provide practical tips on how to begin personal Bible study. The challenge is found in the lack of specific guidance and instruction for new members on this topic. There is a one size fits all approach to personal Bible study. Therefore, this paper seeks to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of current thought and research, highlight which tools and methods are best for new members and identify gaps that need to be filled. Upon discovery of these gaps, this paper then attempts to offer solutions which address those needs. It further explores areas in which pastors can better educate, equip and encourage new members in their personal reading. This study is a tool for helping to meet the personal needs of new members that will set them up for successful study of the Word.