Everyday Christian: Bible study was great this week. It was just me

After the school holiday break, my Bible Study group met again on Thursday night. And I was all ready to go, go, go – kids in bed, Bible by my side, chocolate at hand.

However, my group was unable to connect with me due to technical difficulties beyond my control. I was hoping to video conference with them, as I needed to stay home and look after my sleeping children. My wife Amy and I take it in turns, each week, to either attend the group in person or virtually.

Being the only group member participating remotely isn’t ideal but, even when sound drops out or someone’s foot blocks my view of the group, it’s great to be part of our little community.

On Thursday, as I was finishing my dinner and checking my laptop camera worked (it’s temperamental), Amy messaged to say sorry, you are going to have to sit this one out. The combination of a new TV, extra video elements in the study and time constraints had conspired against me.

So, there I was. At the dining room table, Bible and separate study with me – and no group.

Fighting off my initial urge to go stream a show, I embarked upon Bible study. Solo.

Turns out there are a lot less tangents and rabbit holes to run down when it’s just you at Bible study. I was able to watch the video material that accompanied the study itself, read and reflect on the written content, mull over passages from God’s Word AND also answer questions.

I managed to finish ahead of our usual 9:30pm wrap-up, without feeling as if I had cut corners or dodged deep thinking. Why, I even prayed for a considerable time without interruption.

One of the other benefits of my impromptu alone time at Bible study was that I was always right. No-one voiced up to challenge or dispute what I gleaned from the Bible. My answers were always on the money … or, at least, that’s what I was tempted to tell myself as I had no external input at all.

As much as I enjoyed my solitary study, I missed my friends, their insights and opinions. I also missed how even the most random topic of conversation can end up at an edifying place, as we together attempt to grow in our love and understanding of God and Jesus through scripture and the Spirit.

As I think about it, I love Bible study with other people because it is about all of us, not just me. I’m a big fan of how the Christian life is corporate, not individual, and a weekly exploration of scripture stuff with others is just one of way of living out the call to grow in faith together.

Still, the level of conversation and discerning last Thursday night really was exceptional.