Recommended Bible Studies
Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) – See Details Below
Website: Bible Study Fellowship (BSF International)
Find a BSF class near you
Alpha Course by Niky Gumbel – See Details Below
Website: The Alpha Course
Find the Alpha Course nearest you
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, weekly, expository 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. They do not ask for money and do not charge a fee to attend. They are not a denomination or church, nor are they associated with any. They do not advertise. They study the Bible only.
Click Here to go to BSF Home Page:
BIBLE STUDY FELLOWSHIP
19001 Blanco Road
San Antonio, TX 78258-4019
Hours: 8:30-4:30 daily, CST
To find a BSF class near you, use the search feature on the BSF website or call their toll-free Number: 1-888-273-2527)
Book: Created for Commitment by A. Wetherell Johnson
(Biography of Founder of Bible Study Fellowship)
WHAT IS BIBLE STUDY FELLOWSHIP? (CALLED “BSF”)
BSF is a VERY thorough in-depth, interdenominational, expository Bible study plan. BSF is an international, independent study group—not affiliated with any church or denomination or another group. BSF is not a place to socialize—it is similar to a college class. Expository teaching or study of the Bible is going verse by verse in chapter order, picking up with the next verse or chapter the next week until a whole book is studied. 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. BSF members are to use the Bible only—no outside sources, other than maps in preparing their lessons. There is no pressure to join anything—there isn’t anything to join! .
HOW DID IT GET STARTED? By a woman missionary and Bible teacher, A. Wetherell Johnson who was approached by some 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 and then share with the group what God had given them, after which she would share what God had given her. Mrs. Johnson began typing up lesson notes and handing them out afterward. The ladies invited their friends and they soon outgrew the home they met in. Additional groups formed and discussion leaders were trained, and BSF eventually evolved. Her autobiography is in the book: Created for Commitment by A. Wetherell Johnson, who is no longer living.
WHO CAN ATTEND BSF? Interested people from any denomination. Guest may register for membership at introduction classes, which are held almost every month. In the Introduction Class, the 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. There is usually/often 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.
WHERE ARE THE STUDIES HELD? They require a facility with classrooms and a large hall where all the attendees can be seated. Usually, BSF is held at a host church, one that opens its doors and invites BSF to use its facilities and utilities. They are located in many major cities worldwide.
Their May 1995, newsletter stated that there were over 200,000 attendees overall plus 30,000 children. In 1991-92, there were 825 BSF classes. In Oklahoma City, there are three weekly BSF women’s day-time classes with approximately 350 women enrolled at each, all with waiting lists. The interest is generated solely by word of mouth. Some classes are held in prisons.
WHEN ARE CLASSES HELD? There are day and evening classes for men, women and single young adults (ages 18-35). Check your location for what is available in your area.
BSF for CHILDREN: Mothers may enroll their pre-school children in the Children’s program, and infants may remain with the mothers. The children study the same lesson as their Mothers. Some areas have classes for school-age to 12 years with the evening classes. They take babies from 0-5 years; babies as young as 6 wks can attend with their mothers and can accompany their mothers in the lecture hall if need be.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? Each study meets for two hours per week. The daytime classes usually begin at 9:10 and end at 11:10 a.m. The day classes are geared to the school year and do not meet when the schools take holidays, breaks, or for the summer months. This is helpful to many mothers.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE? Most BSF meetings are conducted in the same manner: The attendees receive a page of questions assigning scripture to read and questions to answer the previous week. Everyone meets in the main hall for 15 min of introduction, hymn singing, and prayer by the teaching leader. Everyone adjourns to individual classrooms where 15 or so meet. (The women’s classes are grouped according to age.) Under a trained discussion leader, 40 min. are spent in discussion groups going over members’ answers to questions. All return to the main hall for a lecture about the study by the teaching leader. On way out, pick up printed notes about the study which are distributed each week, and also questions to answer for the next class.
WHAT STUDIES DOES BSF OFFER? Matthew, Genesis, John, History of Israel and the Minor Prophets, Life of Moses, Romans, Acts of the Apostles (Acts, Paul’s writings, Hebrews, Jude, James, 1 & 2 Peter)
WHAT METHOD OF TEACHING DOES BSF USE?
1. Questions for personal study regarding scripture passage
2. Discussion Groups for sharing answers to questions
3. Interesting Lectures with practical applications
4. Written notes that review the study.
This four-fold approach is an excellent one. By repeating the study in four different formats, it makes a deep impression. Many have said they are able to remember what they learned for years—they don’t forget it.
WHAT TYPE OF QUESTIONS ARE MEMBERS ASKED? The questions are contained on one page, front and back. They are divided into six days. Answers are written in the space provided, using scripture references given for that particular day and noting the chapter and verse where the answer is found. Members are asked NOT to use commentaries or outside resources when doing the questions. All the questions will be answered in the discussion groups as members share their written answers. No answer is ever declared “wrong.”
WHAT IS THE LECTURE LIKE? The teaching leader gives a 40 min. lecture going verse by verse over the assigned scripture. When there is more than one interpretation for a text, both are usually given. You are not encouraged to accept one or the other. The teaching leader often adds in historical details obtained from outside sources, that helps one to understand the background and setting of the scripture. The lecturer also gives an outline of the passage and its applications for daily living.
HOW IS BSF SUPPORTED? BSF is a non-profit faith-based operation. They do not ask for funds but accept donations. None of the leaders or helpers are paid. Volunteers do everything. There are a few salaried positions at headquarters, where the lessons are printed and shipped. BSF belongs to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and as a member is audited by an independent firm annually.
WHAT CAN BSF DO FOR YOU? The following was printed in a BSF newsletter and is written to the Guests who attended an Introduction Class. It answers this question quite well.
“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.
Find the Alpha Course nearest you
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