Saturday, February 05, 2011

A Map, But Not the Journey

I'm periodically asked if I can provide/recommend Bible study guides, or would publish the lessons I create so others could use them.

It's not what I'm called to do, so I don't. The world is swimming in published Bible study guides (at bookstores and online, some for fee and some for free). The lessons I create are for the people that God calls me to teach, not a generic audience.

I'm not anti- study guide. There are many good guides available. I treasure commentaries and writings preserved for us over the centuries.

I am anti-shortcutting.

Let me explain with an analogy.

I've made a couple of trips now in the Boundary Waters area on the Minnesota/Canada border. To prepare for those trips I pour over topo maps, check out trip reports from others, look at the Google satellite maps, and even the interactive "rate the portage route" online maps that are available. I love maps! I love thinking about the trip and planning it, and reading about the trips others have made.

A map is not the same as a journey.

Our actual trips are so rich, so detailed, so much that can only be experienced by being there. Even the short video I made of our trip last summer gives you only hints of the actual experience, and none of the satisfaction.

Bible study guides are like the topo maps and trip guides -- valuable, but no substitute for going on the journey with God through His Word. And if you never tackle Bible study without getting off the "trip planner guide" someone else prepared, you're shortcutting yourself out of experience with God.

Don't shortcut. Dive deep and experience God's Word. Put in that effort, and you'll never worry about what to teach again, because your experience with God will be so deep and alive! That's the key to teaching to change lives.


Dale Hill said...

Good word. Good advice. Good insight. Thanks.

Glenn said...

Thanks, Dale! Keep on teaching to change lives.