Giving Bible studies is a simple, heaven-born method of spreading the three angels’ messages and leading souls to Christ—so why are many people reluctant to engage in this important ministry? One of the most common responses to this question has been expressed in the words, “Giving Bible studies just isn’t my gift.” Some people are shy, or lack formal education, or don’t feel equipped to answer many questions about the Bible—but do these traits necessarily preclude them from giving Bible studies?
The Bible does teach that the church is one body consisting of many different members, and that the Spirit distributes gifts “to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11). There are also differences in background, education, personality, and temperament that influence the way we witness to others. Yet with all our differences, we have this in common—we are all called to bear witness to the truth! Witnessing is not in any of the biblical lists of spiritual gifts (see Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:11), because it’s the job of everydisciple of Christ. Ellen White writes, “The dissemination of the truth of God is not confined to a few ordained ministers. The truth is to be scattered by all who claim to be disciples of Christ” (Christian Service, p. 68).
At its core, witnessing is simply sharing what we have “seen and heard” (see Acts 4:20; 22:15; 1 John 1:3). Though we have not physically seen or heard Jesus teaching in the streets of Jerusalem, we have seen and heard Him by faith—in the pages of God’s Word! We don’t have to be eloquent, outgoing, or brilliant to share our love for Jesus and Bible truth with others. We’re not called to share what we don’t know, but what we do know. We don’t need to be able to answer every question, explain every nuance, or have every supporting text memorized. Still, we are Christians for a reason. Something about what we saw and heard from the Bible persuaded us to become Seventh-day Adventists. Giving Bible studies is simply bearing witness to those things. On the other hand, when Christians do not share the truth that they have “seen and heard” in the Bible, their faith in God experiences a steady decline:
“Unbelief, like the pall of death, is surrounding our churches, because they do not exercise the talents God has given them, by imparting the light to those who know not the precious truth. The Lord calls for the pardoned souls, those who rejoice in the light, to make known the truth to others” (Christian Service, p. 37).
“Satan is now seeking to hold God’s people in a state of inactivity, to keep them from acting their part in spreading the truth, that they may at last be weighed in the balance and found wanting” (Christian Service, p. 37).
Sharing our faith is not only for the benefit of those outside the church—it has a direct bearing on our spiritual preparation. That’s why the devil wants us to buy into the notion that sharing the truth is not our gift. He’s not only trying to prevent others from finding eternity, but he wants to prevent church members from being ready, too!
Ellen White gives the key to ongoing Christian growth when she writes, “Let ministers teach church members that in order to grow in spirituality, they must carry the burden that the Lord has laid upon them, – the burden of leading souls into the truth” (Christian Service, p. 69). In order to grow, we must not only scatter or spread the truth, but we are also admonished to lead souls into the truth. While we can and should scatter the truth through media or literature distribution, leading someone into the truth requires coming close and investing ongoing personal effort. The consistent contact this requires is wonderfully accomplished by giving weekly Bible studies—and by bearing witness to what you have “seen and heard.”
If you’re looking for a way to grow in spirituality and witness more effectively, why not start this New Year with a commitment to not merely share the truth with others, but to lead someone into the truth through personal Bible study as the Lord gives you opportunity?