How to Handle a Bible Study Critic

387081 05: An inmate studies his bible at the minimum-security facility known as the Carol Vance Unit, March 24, 2001, near Houston, Texas. The prison launched a Christian program in 1997, the first to offer prisoners religion around the clock. Known as the InnerChange Freedom Initiative, it is a Bible-based program supporting inmates through their spiritual and moral transformation while incarcerated and continuing after release. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)

What do you do when the same person in your Bible study fellowship continually dismisses friendly debate and discussion among the participants? In this YouTube video clip from the July 22, 2010, interactive webcast, Jewish Voice’s Messianic Rabbi Jack Zimmerman, along with guest Messianic Rabbis Crystal Lutton and Eric Raider, provide sound advice on dealing with this wet-blanket critic.

JACK ZIMMERMAN: This is more common than you think. The enemy loves to wedge his way into anything we do to glorify God—that includes Bible studies. If your husband hasn’t already done this, it would be a good idea for him to set ground rules of the Bible study. You can say, “If you have any peripheral or tangential opinions, save them until the end of the Bible study.” Regarding each of us having different opinions, in any Bible study, what you will want to do is to look at what the original language says. This may be a revelation to some, but, no, the Bible wasn’t originally written in the King James version. It would behoove us all to go back to the original Hebrew so that we know that what we are studying is right from the sources and has not been compounded by man.

CRYSTAL LUTTON: I wonder what kind of background this gentleman has. Maybe he was in a legalistic church setting and forced to believe one man’s opinion, usually the pastor or whoever the pastor admires. It doesn’t improve conversation or open up dialogue to simply dismiss someone else’s opinion. If you have nothing to contribute, sometimes silence is the best option.

ERIC RAIDER: I wonder what  his role is or his purpose is in asking these questions. Is he attending the Bible study to learn, to have a relationship with the Lord, to get to know the Messiah, or is he there for some other reason? Maybe the leader of the Bible study should have a conversation with him about his questions and about his purpose in being there.

Jack Zimmerman is Staff Evangelist at Jewish Voice and Sr. Rabbi at Congregation Beth Simcha in Phoenix, Ariz. You can book him to speak at your church or congregation by going to our Church Relations page. Crystal Lutton is Rabbi/Pastor at Shema Congregation in Buckeye, Ariz. Eric Raider is Assistant Rabbi for Congregation Beth Simcha in Phoenix, Ariz.

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