I used to think they really helped. But after realizing how the “knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom” has been given to us [Matthew 13] and how the Holy Spirit teaches us “all things” [John 14.26], I saw no need for them. In fact, they’re just unnecessary expense that cost churches a lot.
We spend lots of money for bible study and Sunday school materials because we have relied on them too much. Worse, many church people cannot teach anymore without them, and many more cannot understand the bible without resorting to them. They have become idols in our hearts and we have forgotten how to rely on the Holy Spirit for wisdom.
Holy Spirit is More than Enough
It doesn’t say, “bible study materials will teach you all things.” It says the Holy Spirit will. Bible studies and discipleship sessions should all depend on the enlightenment the Holy Spirit gives. We should all be able to feed directly from the “mouth” of God. We can all avail of this freely.
Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. [Matthew 4.4]
Life from God can only be had if we “eat” every word from God’s own mouth. The experience should be that, as we meditate or study the bible, we “eat” or thoroughly ponder on what God reveals to us and digest it to become part of us, until we’re utterly changed in ever-increasing glory, conformed to the image of his Son. This will never happen with bible study materials. Yes, we will know a lot of things, even become intellectual Christians good at handling doctrines and theologies, but never radically change in ever-increasing glory.
In short, relying on these man-made materials only draws us farther away from God. They forfeit us of the opportunity to sharpen our spiritual ability to be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God and be familiarized with his ways and voice. Relying on materials makes us lazy spiritually and too dependent on man and what he provides and remain babes spiritually.
And anyway, no one in the gospel or Acts used bible study materials. Jesus and the apostles never used them. They all relied on the raw power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Nothing from Man
Knowing a lot of things about God is nothing. Even demons know and believe them, but they’re never changed. What’s important is feeding directly from God—from his mouth to our mouths. That changes us from glory to glory. Only the seed that fell on good soil bore good fruit. This happens if we get fresh revelations direct from God, if we learn direct from the Lord.
“You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.” [Matthew 16.17]
“It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.” [John 6.45]
Those who learn directly from God draw closer to Jesus, not those who learn from man. If you get used to man’s ways, you get alienated from God. All you know is your human theology and denominational doctrine.
How It Works
In a bible study group, for instance, the leader should rely on the Holy Spirit for wisdom as he discusses and explains bible passages. Others around him should likewise rely on the Holy Spirit for understanding as they listen to him. The same thing with discipleship and Sunday school. It’s all solely by faith. Faith alone pleases God. As they all do this, a supernatural process of growing and maturing happens. The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of God are revealed to their spirits. And the more they come closer to Jesus.
Then the seed falls to the ground and dies and become many seeds. That’s Kingdom process of evangelism and discipleship.
Even without studying in bible schools or seminaries or attending conferences, you become powerful in the Word. The Word is powerfully seen in you—because you are deeper in Christ, closer to Jesus and ever with him.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. [Acts 4.13]
A lot of churches today will require you seminary degrees or attendance in certain seminars or conferences before they accept you as pastor or ordain you. They do not understand, even a hint, of how God works in the spirit realms. They rely on what they see in the physical realms. That’s the result of relying on what man provides—study materials.
Seminary and Conferences
Bible school, seminary, seminars and conferences. They all entail lots of unnecessary expenses, and pastors plunge headlong to them, believing they could get something new. But all they get is encouragement to go back to their traditions, do again what they have been doing all along that led them nowhere. It’s why they felt drying up and burned out in the first place that’s why they attended the seminar or conference, only to find themselves on square one again. Back to the source of their defeat.
It’s a vicious cycle.
To get out of the cycle, you need to realize that all you and your church need is God. Learn to approach the throne of grace again with confidence so you’d get all the spiritual goodies and supplies you need direct from HIM—and these supplies become a spring of water in you welling up to eternal life. It will never run out or run dry. It’s a pity so few in church discover this. They hunger for what man provides, not what God provides.
Listen to how God has given us “everything” in Christ:
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. [2 Peter 1]
We are complete in Christ. What God gives us in Christ is abundant life.