We all get tired of showing up—showing up to do ministry, showing up as a member of church or Bible study, carrying out our role as a parent or spouse, or simply being a Christian. We grow weary of doing it all again, even though we know in our hearts that it is the good and right and only thing to do—the thing, in fact, we want to do.
This is why I’ve always loved the words of the Apostle in Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up”.
I remember David Jackman once saying something very similar when I asked him what new challenges and directions The Proclamation Trust in the UK was facing. In his quiet, wise way, David said, “Oh, I think the biggest challenge for us in the next few years is to keep doing what we’ve been doing for the past 15 years. It’s so hard to keep doing the same thing.”
All of which brings me with a renewed sense of determination to the subject of this post: Matthias Media’s tried and true Interactive Bible Studies (IBS) series.
For the past 31 years, we’ve been steadily turning out these Bible studies, which are mainly for small group use (although can be used for personal or one-to-one study too). There are now 47 in the series, with one or two new ones added each year (most years, anyway). That includes:
The need that launched the IBS series over three decades ago was simple and obvious, and really hasn’t changed. Small group Bible studies often fail in two ways: they can be rambling, directionless discussions in which multiple opinions are shared, but no satisfying conclusion reached; or they can be thinly disguised sermons in which the group leader effectively tells everybody what the passage is about.
Wouldn’t it be great, we thought, if we could produce a resource for small groups that offered some direction and ‘through line’ based on the passage, and that provided some helpful background and context, but which then set groups free within that framework to explore, discover and arrive at the conclusion the text itself led them to? (Hence the name Interactive Bible Studies—they’re designed to get us interacting: with the experienced author/Bible teacher giving us some input; with the text of Scripture itself; with others in our group; and of course with God in prayer.)
We haven’t (yet!) grown weary of the good work of publishing the Interactive Bible Study series. In fact, having published our first IBS back in 1988 on Genesis 1-11 (Beyond Eden), we’re delighted to say that we’ve finally—31 years later—released an IBS on Genesis 12-50 (Salvation Revealed).