I love to travel across the country meeting leaders and students. It’s so much fun when I listen in on a Bible study class, or when I lead a training workshop on the cross-Canada tour. One of the constant questions I receive is, “Where are all the men—why aren’t they studying this way?” It’s a solid question. And one I prefer to the question I heard for the first few years of my travel. Many of the men I would meet would ask why I serve with a women’s ministry.
As I reflected this week on the lack of men being involved, I took to social media to ask the top reasons why men don’t study the Bible or use the inductive Bible study method. Here are a few of the reasons that came in:
- I’m too tired,
- The marking is overwhelming,
- I don’t have time—I work too much,
- you are like kids using crayons,
- marking breaks my concentration,
…and one person commented that it’s prideful to mark up your Bible for others to see.
I must confess that the majority of people who responded were women. One man responded and said he was too Obsessive Compulsive to do the marking, but did say he really loved working through a 40-Minute Bible Study with a group of guys until the group stopped meeting.
I have to be honest that, when I first started serving with Precept Ministries, the marking of the text was overwhelming. At one point I was handed a sheet of paper with hundreds of suggested symbols or ways to mark the words in the text. At that point in my involvement, the keyword bookmark was too much to handle, so I marked with different-sized boxes, circles, and triangles.
So it seems in most cases time, marking, and understanding the value of the method are the greatest hindrances to getting men in to God’s Word through the inductive method. The question is, what are we going to do about it?
Let’s start with addressing the men who are reading:
- Lead by example. Your family and your spouse are counting on you to be a godly man who leads by example. Be a man who loves the Lord and whose love for the Lord reflects back to your marriage and the lives of your children. God’s Word is the foundation for a solid relationship with the Lord, and we must be at least reading it daily. I remember that when I first met my wife Jessica I wanted to know everything about her. I wanted to know her likes and dislikes, and I wanted to know if the lifestyle I led would lead her into falling in love with me and eventually to marriage. The same is true with God. We’ve got to dig deeply into His Word to understand His character and His desire for us. And when we do, that knowledge leads to transformation as we grow closer to God.
- Don’t get hung up on the marking. One of the most profound moments in my understanding of the inductive method occurred when reading Psalm 5 and simply putting a triangle over God. I then wrote a list on what came after every triangle. Try it for yourself.
- Don’t let time and exhaustion draw you away from God’s Word. In the end, brothers, all we do on this earth will count for nothing if it doesn’t bring glory to God. We are His workmanship created for His good works. Yes, we have to fulfill our duties as men to provide the resources to run our homes and much more. But one day we’ll stand before God and will give an account for how we spent our time. Do we want God to look at us and say that He doesn’t know us?
- Go deeper than bacon and eggs. Think about it guys: did you know that the church body is not 100% sure how to minister to us? We use bacon, eggs and a sermon to bring us together for a morning. Or a DVD with a preacher and we gather together in front of a TV for 30 minutes, pray, and leave. Men’s ministry is all over the map. Nehemiah 8 teaches us that Ezra read the book of the law before a large gathering and lives were changed. The next day the fathers of the households went back to Ezra, and sat at his feet for more study. Don’t misread this, guys. I love bacon, eggs, and coming together to talk about sports and the church and to pray for each other. But we are inching closer to the return of Jesus Christ and the sacred institution of the family is falling apart. Divorce is rampant, and immorality is all around us: men are addicted to pornography, commit adultery, and make their way to the judgment seat of Christ without professing Jesus as Saviour and Lord. It’s time to reclaim our role as godly leaders and lead with the Word of God in our hands and on our lips as God told Joshua to do.
- Continue to study and lead your groups and be actively praying that the Holy Spirit will move more men to have a hunger for God’s Word.
- Study with your spouse. Do a 40-Minute Bible Study together. As you study, pray that God grips both of your hearts and creates a mutual hunger for God’s Word.
- Share what God is teaching you. Spark up conversation on what you’re learning in God’s Word. There have been many occasions where men have seen and heard how lives are being changed through Bible study, compelling them to get in to the Word for themselves.
For more information on the Precept Inductive Bible Study Method or studies that work great for busy men, such as the 40-Minute (No Homework) Bible Study series, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.preceptministries.ca/estore.