Recommended Bible Studies
Precepts Bible Studies by Precept Ministries (Kay Arthur) PO Box 182218, Chattanooga, TN 37422, 423/892-6814
The Amazing Collection is a video Bible study for women, taught sequentially book by book. The series contains 66 videos, organized in 11 sets. Each 45-minute program gives an overview of one book in the Bible. The main characters and theme of each book come alive with dynamic teaching, original music videos and personal testimonies. The collection is visually appealing and creatively enhanced with professional graphics, timelines, maps, drama, music and animation. In addition, each set contains a companion workbook to enhance the teaching and to encourage further study. Whether you’re a busy mom, a women’s ministry leader, a senior pastor, or a small-group facilitator, your spiritual walk and Biblical knowledge will be greatly enriched by investing in The Amazing Collection.
Bible Study Fellowship (BSF International) is a VERY thorough, independent, inter-denominational weekly, Bible study group. Classes for men, women, young adults and children are held in many major U.S.A. cities, in prisons, and in some other countries, as well. It’s free and they do not ask for money. They are not a denomination or church, nor are they associated with any. They do not advertise. They only study the Bible.
Click Here to go to BSF Home Page
To find a BSF class near you, click on “Find a Group” Enter your location, review the list.
Select one that fits your needs/schedule and click: “Request to Join”
DATES: In the US, new studies begin mid-September each year and end in May (following the school year calendar).
WHAT IS BIBLE STUDY FELLOWSHIP? (CALLED “BSF”)
BSF is an international, independent study group—not affiliated with any church or denomination or another group. BSF is a VERY thorough in-depth, interdenominational Bible study that studies expository style. Expository teaching or study of the Bible is going verse by verse in chapter order, picking up with the next verse or chapter with the next week’s study until the whole book is completed. There are no collections passed or fees charged, and it is a non-profit corporation. BSF does not advertise publicly—word of mouth only and personal invitations. There is no pressure to join anything—there isn’t anything to join! A person can try it out, stay or leave at any time they choose.
HOW DID IT GET STARTED? By a woman missionary and Bible teacher, A. Wetherell Johnson (deceased) who was approached by some lady friends in California in 1952 about leading them in a Bible study course. She agreed to do so but said she would not spoon-feed them. Rather, she would give them some questions which would help them study each passage. Then met in a home and shared with the group what God had given them; after that Miss Johnson shared what God had given her. She typed and printed lesson notes that she handed out afterwards.
Book: Created for Commitment by A. Wetherell Johnson
(Biography of Founder of Bible Study Fellowship)
Miss Johnson’s first group of five women grew until groups sprang up all across the US, and ultimately around the globe. By 1980, Miss Johnson had been writing BSF lessons and leading a blossoming ministry for more than 25 years. Her decision to retire led to a major move for the organization to San Antonio, Texas. Today, Bible Study Fellowship (aka BSF) — through its Men’s, Women’s, Student, Children’s and Newborn groups, BSF Online and BSF’s WordGo app — serves more than 400,000 class members on 6 continents in more than 120 nations.
WHO CAN ATTEND BSF? Those of any age or race from any or no denominations/churches: women, men, young adults, kids may attend day or evening, zoom or in person. Introduction Classes are occasionally held when the BSF study program is explained and interested parties may register for membership. New members will be notified regarding placement when space is available. Not everyone is placed immediately; often, there is a waiting list. The enrollment is not binding–one is free to drop out at any time. Participation is not mandatory. There is liberty and not force. Some BSF classes held in prisons. The interest is generated solely by word of mouth—they do not advertise.
WHERE ARE THE STUDIES HELD? BSF studies are located in countless cities worldwide. They hold both zoom and in person sessions. Various facilities are offered/used with classrooms and a large hall where all the attendees can be seated for the lecture. Usually, BSF is held at a host church, one that invites BSF to use its facilities and utilities free of charge. Otherwise, they are not associated with the host church.
WHEN ARE CLASSES HELD? There are day and evening classes for men, women and young adults. Check your location for what is available in your area. Many women’s studies are held around 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. one day a week. Class dates are geared to the school year and do not meet when the schools take holidays, breaks, or for the summer months. In the US, new studies begin mid-September each year and end in May.
BSF for CHILDREN: Enrolled Mothers may enroll their pre-school children in the Children’s program, and infants may remain with the mothers. Some areas have classes for school-age to 12 years with the evening classes. They take children and babies as young as 6 weeks may accompany their mothers.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE? Most BSF meetings are conducted in the same manner: The week prior to class, the attendees receive assigned scripture reading and a page of questions, divided over six days. During the week the BSFer studies and answers the questions. Once a week, everyone meets in the main hall for 15 min of introduction, hymn singing, and prayer by the teaching leader. Then they divide into small groups of 15 or so and adjourn to classrooms. Under a trained discussion leader, about 40 min. are spent reviewing members’ answers to questions. All return to the main hall for a lecture about the study by the teaching leader. Each week, a printed hand-out is available (or can be downloaded) about that study and also questions/reading assignment for the next study. The studies each year alternate between New Testament and Old Testament.
WHAT METHOD OF TEACHING DOES BSF USE? n excellent four-fold approach is used. Repeating the study in the four different formats creates a deeper, long-lasting impression. Many have said they are able to remember what they learned for years!
1. Scripture reading assignment and related Questions for personal study
2. Discussion Groups for sharing answers to questions
3. Interesting Lectures with practical applications
4. Written notes reviewing the study
WHAT TYPE OF QUESTIONS ARE ASKED? The questions and scripture reading are divided over six days. Answers are written in the space provided. Members discuss the Q&As in their small groups. No answer is ever declared “wrong.”
DESCRIBE THE LECTURE. The teaching leader gives a 30-40 minute lecture reviewing the assigned scripture. The teaching leader often adds in historical details obtained from outside sources that helps to understand the background, culture and history. The lecturer also provides applications for daily living. When there is more than one interpretation for a passage, both are usually given. No attempt is made to persuade attendees to accept one or the other.
HOW IS BSF SUPPORTED? BSF is a non-profit faith-based operation. They do not ask for funds but do accept donations. None of the leaders or helpers are paid. Volunteers do everything. BSF belongs to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and is audited by an independent firm annually.
BIBLE STUDY FELLOWSHIP
19001 Blanco Road
San Antonio, TX 78258-4019
Hours: 8:30-4:30 daily, CST/CDT
The following was printed in a BSF newsletter and is written to Guests who attended an Introduction Class.
“Dear New Member,
“If you are content and satisfied with your life just the way it is, then you had better leave now—while you still can. Once I sat where you are sitting. Like you, I was told the requirements of BSF, and what would happen if I failed to do my lessons or show up for class. No one told me, however, that if I did do my lessons and show up for class, my whole life would be changed.
“You are told in this introduction session what is expected of you, but not what you can expect to happen TO you–little things like a whole new relationship with God, a hunger to study His Word, and a desire to be among His people. No one mentions the side effects either–incidentals like new priorities, restored relationships, and altered taste in music, books, and leisure activities. There’s even an outside chance you could find yourself listening to Christian radio!
“You are told that the lessons can be difficult, and it is highly recommended that you do them day by day. What you aren’t told is that as you struggle and pray over your lessons day by day, God will lead you to understand and cherish His Word in a way you would never have dreamed possible. It’s not that you won’t encounter frustration and question the things you don’t understand, because of the certainty, deep in your soul, that it is WORTH understanding.
“You will soon be assigned to a particular group with this or that discussion leader and told where your classroom is located. What you aren’t told is that God Himself is waiting for you in that room, that He will use those classmates and that discussion leader to open your eyes to truths you have never seen.
“You are told to meet back in the sanctuary after class for a lecture on the lesson. What you aren’t told is that it’s like no lecture you have ever attended. The teaching leader does a great vanishing act, but doesn’t bother to look for the mirrors. She simply makes God’s words so relevant that she becomes irrelevant. You will listen with your ears, but it is JESUS you hear in your heart.
“You will hear truths that are sometimes common to all, and sometimes uncommonly personal—sometimes warm with laughter, and sometimes tender with tears—sometimes strong with conviction, but always, always rich with His love.
“You will find—well, you will find out for yourself soon enough, that whatever you find in BSF will be wonderful, because His name is wonderful…
God bless and welcome you to BSF
A Former New Member.”
An Ex 2×2 has this to say about BSF:
“I want to throw in my two cents worth regarding the Bible Study Fellowship Bible studies. Having left the “fellowship” and not ready to even consider any other type of church, I knew I was ignorant of what true Christians believed and wondered how could I ever find out without going to church? A friend of mine told me about BSF and encouraged me to go. Time restraints only allowed me to participate for 2.5 years. However, my involvement with BSF was the beginning of my newfound walk with the Lord.
I was able to sit and hear God’s Word explained without any denominational bias. I learned to sing “real” hymns (!) and marveled at the message they contained. I had fellowship with women who I did not know yet we had a common denominator, that of wanting to know more about the Lord and His ways. I would encourage any (men included, as they have a men’s group, as well as young singles groups in some areas) who are fresh from the fellowship and feel like a ship without a rudder to try out these studies. They were a life-saver for me…
By Susan Howard
Olympia, Washington USA”
The ALPHA Course Recommendation
Click Here for the Alpha USA Home Page
What is Alpha? The Alpha course is an opportunity for anyone to explore the Christian perspective, its validity and relevance to your life today. It is a practical introduction to the basics of Christianity centered around a meal, a talk, and small group discussion. Alpha is an opportunity to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed non-threatening setting over thought-provoking, weekly sessions. It’s low-key, friendly and fun and is supported by most mainstream Christian denominations.
Is it for you? Everyone is welcome to attend the Alpha course. It is designed to be comfortable and non-confrontational for Christians, non-Christians, including skeptics. Some people want to investigate whether God exists and if there is any point to life; others are concerned about what happens after death. Still others may have attended church, but feel they have never really understood the basics of the Christian faith. People come from many different backgrounds and hold many different viewpoints, but most come with the same basic objective: to establish whether God and Jesus Christ have any real relevance for their lives today.
What’s involved? It is FREE and usually consists of ten thought-provoking weekly sessions where Alpha guests share meals, listen to a series of talks, and then have small group discussions. Each talk covers a fundamental question, such as: “Who is Jesus?” “Why and How Do I Pray?” and “Does God Heal Today?”
Christian doctrine is explained on a video presentation (DVD) in a simple straightforward manner by an Englishman named Nicky Gumbel. His talk each week is engaging, casual and is peppered with simple, personal anecdotes and self-deprecating humor as he adroitly presents the gospel and Christian doctrine to the audience.
The setting initially is a large group, where a meal is served in a welcoming, congenial atmosphere. After eating, participants watch a 30-minute video before dispersing to small groups, where group volunteers may participate in discussion if they choose. Some groups bond quickly as they share personal experiences. It isn’t long before “Alpha night” is looked forward to with eager anticipation, and the course is finished reluctantly. It’s a great place to make friends, as well.
Participation: Alpha is a place where no question is too simple or too intimidating and all viewpoints are respected. Is there a God? Why am I here? Who is Jesus? What about other religions? Alpha tackles these and other questions each week. Chances are somebody else in your group is wondering the same thing you are.
Alpha isn’t all work. In fact, most of the time it is simply just fun. Sharing a casual meal and hanging out after a long day can be a time to relax and be yourself—no expectations or strings attached.
Some very close and long-lasting friendships have come out of the Alpha Course. Alpha relationships get beyond the standard “What is your name? and What do you do?” so you can connect on a more personal level.
Relaxed, non-threatening low-key, and fun, Alpha is a place to ask anything – no question is considered too simple or too hostile.
Who runs the Alpha course? There are 5,000 Alpha courses being offered at churches of varying denominations across North America. More than 6 million people have completed the Alpha course since it started in London. Today the course is being run worldwide. Groups meet in homes, schools, universities, military posts, and prisons, and is supported by churches of various denominations.
The Alpha Course is a Christian non-profit organization that serves local Churches and other ministries by offering the Alpha Course as a tool for sharing the Good News about Jesus. More than eight million people all over the world have completed the Alpha Course during the last twelve years in churches, homes, schools, universities and prisons. Who is the Teacher?
Nicky Gumbel was a lawyer in England before becoming an ordained minister in the Church of England. He joined the pastoral staff of Holy Trinity Brompton and began running their Alpha course in 1990. In 1996, the Bishop of London appointed him as an Alpha Chaplain. Nicky speaks regularly at national and international Alpha conferences and is the author of several books, including Questions of Life, which has been translated into 36 languages and was voted “Christian Book of the Year” in 1994.
What will it cost? The Alpha course is free. Guests may make a voluntary contribution toward the food.
How do I start? If you’re curious about the worldwide Alpha movement, consider attending the introductory dinner. It isn’t a commitment. It is simply a chance for you to decide if Alpha might be right for you. Bring a friend along, if you’d like. If you like what you hear and would like to return for the rest of the course, they would be glad to have you. There is no pressure to join the church that hosts the course. People come for different reasons, from different backgrounds, and with different opinions—but at Alpha, those differences only add to the conversation and often lead to greater understanding.
An ex-2×2 couple who attended the Alpha Course has this to say about it:
I was thrilled when I heard our church was going to offer Alpha because a friend had highly recommended it to me. At that first kick-off dinner, I wished all the world would listen to Nicky! I also wished my cherished 2x2s would listen, but that’s not likely, since Alpha is invariably held in a church building – horrors! Now, let me point out that our experience with Alpha was about 8 years after exiting the 2x2s – and we were more than ready for it. Prior to that, right after our exit,
I attended six years of BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), which is an extremely conservative Bible study. Depending on how deeply entrenched in the 2×2 mindset a person has been, BSF might be more appropriate for someone ‘fresh out’ from under it. (We were born and raised in it and lived it for over 50 years.)
Both my husband and I, after going through the initial Alpha course, were so enamored of it that we decided to remain involved. For the two following sessions, we were part of the task force which takes care of the food and set-up logistics. For three sessions since that, we have been small-group leaders and are about to lead a 4th. For us and the many other enthusiastic Alpha “graduates” at our church, Alpha further deepened our faith in Christ, taught us how to gently witness to others, enlarged our boundaries yet more, and made us new friends. As leaders, we feel we are serving Him by helping to bring others into either a new or a closer relationship with Him. Obviously, we both highly recommend Alpha!
Sam & Jean Dudley