I bet some of you are surprised to see that adjective being used to describe Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). You might have been less surprised with the words like “traditional” and “fundamental” — am I right?
A quick visit to Merriam-Webster online:
Definition of RADICAL
a: very different from the usual or traditional :extreme
b : favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions
c: associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme change
d: advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs <the radical right>
BSF as I have experienced it is one of the most radical things in my life. While so many other voices I encounter tell me to embrace myself and be true to me just as I am, the study of God’s Word promises me that there is something better.
God’s Word is (refreshingly) honest with me about my egocentricism and addictions while the messages I hear in the public square feed those cancers in me. God’s Word calls me to do right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God while the ways of the world tell me to fight for my rights, to love money, and to walk alone if I have to in order to be true to myself.
BSF–week after week–guides me through a systematic, disciplined study of God’s Word and asks time and again “how will you apply this truth to your daily living?”
BSF–in practice and by design–pushes me to increasingly rely on the Word of God and the Spirit of God for direction and definition.
BSF–through daily guided study, through weekly group discussion, through a well-prepared and thoroughly prayed for lecture, and through notes which are essentially Bible commentary delivered one chapter at a time–serves as a training ground for followers of Christ, preparing them for leadership within their local church and community.
favoring extreme changes in existing views,
Through the study of God’s Word, my heart and mind are being transformed. My values, my priorities are all being refocused and brought into light. My world-view is aligning more and more with God’s view — God, the Creator and Sustainer of life, the only Holy One.
Simply studying the Word every day has become a habit and this is a habit that is transformational in and of itself. Beyond that, though, as I apply God’s Word to my life, other habits fall away as new ones take their place — like habits of gratitude and service replacing old habits of grouchiness and superiority.
As God’s Word–which is alive–grows in me, I change. I am not simply influenced to do good things, I am becoming good. I am not merely producing holy actions, I am pursuing holiness.
The community, the family, the church are all institutions which have been a part of my life for all of my life. Through the study of God’s Word I am seeing those institutions transformed as I am changed and as others around me are changed.
Honestly, I know of nothing more radical than the transformation in my life and the lives of others as God’s Word is engaged daily. BSF is one way God is working in me to engage His Word well and regularly.