For the record, the Scriptures do not explicitly mandate for a Christian to be regularly attending a mid-week Bible study. I do not intend to guilt-trip anybody who isn’t currently attending a Bible study into doing so. Nor do I intend to nominate those who do regularly attend mid-week studies for the Christian-of-the-year award.
In my own life, my attendance at mid-week Bible studies has varied. There were seasons when I attended up to three Bible studies a week outside of Sunday service. There were periods when I had the privilege of teaching two or more Bible studies a week. And then there were times when I didn’t attend any mid-week Bible studies. It would be hypocritical, therefore, to turn suggestions for Christian growth and fellowship into biblical mandates.
The Scriptures do mandate that believers are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). Believers are exhorted in Scripture to long for the pure milk of the Word (1 Pet 2:2). Scripture does place a unique value in the formal teaching of the Word itself as a means for the growth of Christians individually and corporately. Scripture also commands that believers be vitally connected to fellow members of Christ’s church (see Heb 3:12-15; 10:24-25).
It is nearly impossible to engage in these endeavors with excellence if one’s weekly involvement in the church life is limited to a ninety-minute Sunday worship service and nothing more. Involvement in a mid-week Bible study in one’s local region can serve as a means through which your growth in the Word and in ministry can occur. For many believers, being faithfully involved in a mid-week Bible study can provide a number of benefits.
Benefit #1: Bible Studies Provide the Opportunity for Believers to Receive the Whole Counsel of God
The first benefit we derive from being involved in a mid-week Bible study is that these studies provide us with the opportunity to receive the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). While attending a mid-week Bible study does not replace attending Sunday worship service, it’s a logistical reality that it is virtually impossible for a faithful expositor to preach through the entire Old and New Testament through the sole venue of the Sunday sermon and uncover all of the Bible’s exegetical and theological gems. Attending a mid-week Bible study allows for believers to receive teaching from books of the Bible and topics that are not covered or addressed by the preacher on Sunday sermons, and thus will be further trained by the Scriptures to righteousness.
Benefit #2: Bible Studies Provide a Forum for Less Formal and More Interactive Study of the Bible
A second benefit is that involvement in a mid-week Bible study gives Christians a forum for studying the Bible in a less formal setting. Bible studies provide a smaller setting in which believers can share thoughts and ask questions that they can’t share or ask during Sunday sermons. In Bible studies, the ministry of the Word takes the form of teaching more than preaching. God designed the ministry of the Word to occur primarily—but not exclusively—through preaching. The Word can be ministered through interactive teaching and individual counseling as well. The believer will benefit from receiving the teaching of the Word in its variety of forms.
Benefit #3: Bible Studies Allow for Believers to Stay Grounded in the Word Throughout the Week
The book of James instructs the believers to be quick to hear the Word of God, so that they may be effectual doers of the Word of God. Being involved in a mid-week Bible study allows for the believer to hear teaching of the Word and sound doctrine multiple times a week, which allows him to be grounded in the principles of the Word in the midst of a storm of temptations and worldly philosophy. It provides believers the mid-course nourishment that is much needed in the week’s race of faith. It’s no wonder that the disciples in Acts are described as ones who were continually gathering to receive the teaching of the apostles.
Benefit #4: Bibles Studies Allow for Believers to be Taught by a Multitude of Gifted Teachers
The gift of teaching in the local church is not delegated solely to the pastor-teacher who preaches on Sunday. Although not many should be teachers (James 3:1), God designed for there to be a multitude of gifted men (2 Tim 2:2) and women (Titus 2:3-5) teaching the Bible—both formally and also informally. Regularly attending a mid-week Bible study allows for the Christian to be nourished and edified by the manifold teaching giftedness of the body (1 Pet 4:10-11).
Benefit #5: Bible Studies Provide the Soil Through Which Relationships are Cultivated.
Scripture calls believers to be devoted to one another in brotherly affection (Rom 12:10), to stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:23), and to bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2). In other words, Christians are called to nurture sincere, brotherly relationships with one another (see 1 Pet 1:22). I’ve heard several church members complain of feeling disconnected from the body, only to find out that they aren’t attending any of the church’s mid-week events where those connections can be formed. Mid-week Bible studies can serve as the place in which these relationships and connections can be fostered.
Benefit #6: Bible Studies Allow for Church Leaders to More Effectively Shepherd Christians and their Families
Hebrews 13:17 reminds believers that their souls are under the care of the church’s leaders. The most difficult people to shepherd in the church are those who simply show up for the Sunday sermon and leave immediately following the closing song. Conversely, the easiest people to shepherd and care for are those who are involved in the life of the church both on Sundays and throughout the week. Being regularly involved in a mid-week Bible study gives the leaders of the church an opportunity to spend time with believers and grow more aware of their circumstances that they face.
Benefit #7: Bible Studies Provide Opportunities for Believers to Serve One Another
Christians are called to exercise their gifts for the glory of God and the good of the church (1 Pet 4:10-11, 1 Cor 12:7ff). The more a believer is involved in the life of the church, the more aware he becomes of others’ needs, and the more aware he is of the needs of others, the more effectively he can serve them. It’s that simple.
If you’ve found yourself constantly nourished by the Word, vitally connected to the body, and fervently serving others in your current involvement in the local church, then perhaps attending a mid-week Bible study isn’t necessary. But if you don’t feel vitally connected, then consider the benefits listed above. There may be a better way to spend your Friday evening than working or watching TV!