The 2017 Bible Challenge

What Bible Study Means at St. Andrew’s

By Sophie Smal, Communications Coordinator

But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7.

Although it was a sunny, pleasant day outside, on March 8, 15 or so men and women gathered in a small dark room in the parish hall of St. Andrew’s, Antelope, determined to carry on with their weekly Bible study, even though their electricity was out.

The day before, a moving van bringing in a donated display case had snapped the church’s electric cable.

The Bible study group remained in good spirits as jokes circled the small room, including the witty remark that the church didn’t need light to read the Word, because God was all the light they needed.

Hoping to let in a much light as possible, St. Andrew’s vicar, the Rev. Peter Rodgers, propped the door open with a Bible and jested, “Finally, we have a use for this thing!”

But it wasn’t the only use for the Bible, as the group, led by Anny Genato, discussed Matthew 4:1-11, the passage that depicts Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness.

See portraits of some of the group members and their thoughts about what Bible study means in their lives:

Anny Genato

“For a long time, the Bible didn’t really speak to me, and it wasn’t until I really started studying it deeply that I got something from it. Now it really builds my faith and feeds me, and it allows me to live a more Christian life because of it. I feel like I have been formed by reading the Scripture, and I think it comes through in all my daily interactions. It comes through at my work and at the grocery store, just in interacting with people. I think I’m more caring for people, and I’m more generous in the world.”

Rev. Peter Rodgers

The Rev. Peter Rodgers

“It’s very important to study the Scripture with other people and have an interchange of ideas. We all sharpen each other and help each other to understand. It keeps me honest; I’m their priest, so I suppose I can say anything I want but that I can do on Sunday. Come Bible study, they’ll let me know if, ‘I don’t think you got that Scripture right,’ and we all grow in this way. These people really want to dig into the Scripture and make it part of their lives.”

Mary Edwards

Mary Edwards

“It’s fascinating to me to learn the Bible, because I can read it by myself but that doesn’t raise all the questions that can arise in a class. It makes me more thoughtful with what I do, in relation what I have just learned in the Bible class. Reading the Bible alone, I never would have raised the questions that were raised in the Bible study, so it’s very rewarding.”

Eva Sady

Eva Sady

“I need to learn more. I’ve gone to Bible study for several years, and I’m almost 85. And I haven’t learned half, I’m sure, of what I need to learn. It’s wonderful to be around a so closely-knitted group that all have the same goal in mind – to learn more. I even have a couple of friends that came from Bethlehem, and to walk where he has walked must be terribly exciting. But to learn what he has to say is also exciting.”

Rich Ferrick

Rich Ferrick

“To me, [Bible study] is almost as important as church because it deepens my faith, and I also am a lifelong student of the Bible. I was a philosophy and religion major, and I just carry that on through my life. I think it gives me more patience with more people. I have a brother who’s a Buddhist and another brother who is sort of agnostic, and that basically mirrors the rest of the world, too. I’m able to talk to them with more insight.”

To view the Rev. Anne Clarke's explanation behind this year's Bible Challenge, click here.

To view a story on Camp Living Waters and how they read the Bible during camp, click here.

© 2013 The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.

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