Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) was introduced to me a couple of years ago by a friend of mine at church. I really did not know much about it except that it met on Monday nights, so I politely declined since I did not want to take another night away from my family. Eventually, though, I began wanting to be a part of some good Bible lessons for adults, and my friend continued to harp on me about how good BSF lessons are. I finally gave in and went to one of BSF's "Intro" nights and was introduced to the organization. I began to attend the next year, and I have been happy with my decision ever since. If you are looking for great group Bible studies and free Bible study lessons, BSF is worth a try.
What Is Bible Study Fellowship
I had heard people discussing Bible Study Fellowship, but I never was quite sure what it was. Basically, it is a group Bible study in which a group of men or women have self Bible study during the week and then get together once a week to discuss the study and hear what other had to say about it. The self study consists of daily Bible reading and questions about the Scripture for that day.
BSF has separate men's and women's meetings, which is a plus since there are several personal questions on the weekly lessons that men might not be comfortable talking about in front of women, and vice versa. Men struggle with different things in life than women, and splitting the classes helps out the discussion.
On the night of the BSF meeting, small groups meet to discuss the BSF lesson for the week. The groups go one by one through the questions on the lesson, and several group members will give their answers.
After the group study, there is a time of about 30 minutes in which a speaker will give a lecture (mini-sermon) about the week's lesson. When that time is over, you get your lesson for next week and off you go to start the weekly cycle all over again.
The lesson for the next week includes notes over the previous week's lesson to help you understand and possibly get a different viewpoint on the text.
So what are the benefits of BSF and the BSF lessons?
BSF Lessons Provide Daily Bible Study
Many Christians want to have a daily personal quiet time and Bible study. However, a couple of problems usually arise. First, it can be hard to have a consistent study if you are not able to find a theme or series of Bible lessons that draw you in. If you are just shooting in the dark about what to study and meditate on, it is hard to get in the right frame of mind.
Second, staying consistent with personal Bible study is difficult if there is no accountability to actually read and study the Bible. Once you skip a day or two it is easy to get out of the habit.
BSF helps out in both of these areas. Each year, the BSF lessons focus on one book or theme of the Bible, whether it be Genesis, Acts, etc. All year long, the BSF group Bible studies go over various parts of Scripture that speak to similar themes.
Also, because BSF is group based, you will feel compelled to do your lesson. If you blow it off for the week, it is easy to feel like you let down the group for not holding up your end of the bargain. Accountability is important in a Christian's walk with God, and BSF provides the accountability that many people need.
Group Bible Studies
The group Bible studies of BSF do more than just provide accountability. They also allow for sharing of ideas about the week's lesson and about the Bible or religion in general. Many times during a BSF lesson there are questions and statements that you do not understand or simply do not agree with. It helps to be able to take these questions to a group to see what others have to say. As a rule, members of the group do not share their denomination so there are no preconceived ideas about where someone is coming from theologically. You are able to take and chew on their ideas at face value.
The BSF group Bible study time also allows believers to share things in their life that needs prayer. It is very comforting to know that there are people outside of your usual circle of family and friends that are taking your needs up in prayer. The groups do not spend much time, if any at all, in prayer during the meeting, but instead people use the prayer requests during their daily study.
And of course, it is just good to get to know other people, especially other people of faith. Many times we find ourselves only speaking to the same people every day. It is good to be able to meet other brothers and sisters in Christ.
The BSF lecture time is a time for you to wrap up what you have learned through your self study and the group Bible study, and compare it to what the lecture leader has to say. He or she will usually have new and different insight into the BSF lessons that you were not familiar with or did not understand.
The lecture is also a time of hearing about application of the week's study. Is there a way you can take the ideas from the BSF lessons and use them to better your life and the lives of those you come in contact with? The BSF lecturer will challenge you on that front.
BSF Lessons Include Comprehensive Notes
Before you leave BSF to head home, you are given the lesson for the following week. Included are comprehensive notes from the lesson you just completed. These notes give you insight into the Scripture you just finished studying from the viewpoint of the authors that compiled the questions. You get an idea of what they were going for and what they wanted you to learn.
Sometimes, you'll find that you disagree with the notes' author, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. In any event, you will take a new look on a part of the Bible that you spent a week studying on your own.
BSF Lessons Are Free And Are A Great Way To Study God's Word
Besides being a tremendous way to get to know other Christians and study God's word, the BSF lessons are free Bible study lessons. There is no charge to attend. All that you need is a committment to study the Bible, do your lesson, and attend the group Bible studies.
It can be difficult to find good Bible lessons for adults. BSF has changed that for me. The BSF lessons provide a great way for me to learn more about God and his word.