In Love Does-this month's Women of Faith Book Club selection-author Bob Goff says he goes to a Bible "doing." In a recent conversation, we asked Bob to tell us more.
WOF: Why did you trade in "Bible study" for "Bible doing" and what's the difference?
Bob: I love reading Scripture and find tremendous comfort and perspective in exploring God's Word. But I stopped going to Bible studies a while ago. Instead, I go to a "Bible doing." The difference is huge to me.
I spent the first couple decades of my faith in Bible studies. I'd get together with a couple folks, we'd read the Bible and talk about what words meant in Greek and Latin. We'd talk about the customs and the culture and the surroundings at the time. We'd talk about the origins of certain words and even how certain words and numbers add up to mean still different things. My problem was this: I'm a trial lawyer by training, so I'm a guy who memorizes facts well. I memorize things too well, in fact. So when I went to Bible studies, what I'd do is just memorize more and more facts about Jesus.
I knew all about Jesus' mom, where He grew up, what He had for dinner, every wedding or event He showed up at and how many boats were on the Sea of Galilee-but honestly, I didn't know Him. I think it was because we never actually did anything together. I was too busy memorizing Him. What I realized is that I had becoming a lot like a stalker-you know, someone who just collects facts and information about people they're too scared to meet. Stalkers are creepy in that way, right? What I realized is that by just memorizing Jesus, I had actually turned into kind of a stalker and was creeping me (and probably Jesus) out, too. What I concluded is that Jesus doesn't want us to just memorize Him. He wants us to experience life with and through Him.
When I realized that I was just memorizing Jesus, I decided I'd stop going to any more Bible studies. I still get together with the same guys I've been meeting with every Friday morning for 15 years. But we don't call what we do a Bible study anymore, we call it a "Bible doing." The difference between the two is more than just a turn on a phrase. What we do now is read Scripture and ask ourselves what we're actually going to do about it. The thing is-Jesus never asked His disciples to just agree with Him. Instead, He told them to take all of the faith they had, all of the Scripture they knew and go do something about it. We want to do the same.
Most of us place a high value on forming opinions. We each have hundreds of them-probably thousands. Jesus seemed to place a high value on what people did about what they believed, more than what they merely believed to be true or agreed with.
Don't stop meeting together around Scripture. Read it. Soak it in. Have a discussion. But don't just stop there. Decide in advance you're taking just agreeing with Jesus off the table. Have what you meet about translate into what you do about it. Let it change what you do, not just what you think. Have a Bible doing!