You Just Never Know What Bible Study Can Do

by | May 17, 2013 | 23 comments

Summer is approaching – I hate to say it while still reveling in the fairer temperatures of spring, but if you live in the South I’m afraid spring blinks more than it settles in. In a few weeks children will be set free from school, college students will return home, we’ll go on vacations, long-weekends and mission trips while enjoying the looser rhythms of June, July and August. I can hear my garden crooning from the backyard.

The question is how will we use these summer months for our spiritual enrichment? We plan for getaways and gardens, and we need this same level of intentionality to study God’s Word. But you ask, how can I stay motivated to do this during the summer? (So glad you’re thinking along these lines.) For starters, Beth Moore’s Summer Study this year will be on Priscilla Shirer’s new release: Gideon: Your Weaknesses. God’s Strength. All the info you need to be part of this can be found here.

Beth’s Summer Study is an incredible resource for studying God’s Word through the summer, whether by yourself or within a group. And if you’ve ever watched Priscilla teach you know I’m telling the plain truth when I say she’s one of the best communicators out there. What I’m trying to say is that you can invite your friends into the mix with the utter confidence that they will not. be. bored. And you will not be embarrassed for having encouraged them over. Moreover, Priscilla communicates Christ, so what’s not to love?

Which conveniently leads me to my next thought about YOU possibly leading a group this summer, whether as part of Priscilla’s study or another one God’s put on your heart. There are so many! (A few authors to consider below.) I feel extra spirited about this because of something I experienced this week. So, a little story for your enjoyment…

A few days ago a friend and I drove ninety minutes out of Nashville to a small town in Tennessee where we dropped in on a bible study (pics below). They’d done some of my studies, and through a mutual friend of my late grandfather’s (long and interesting story here) invited me to “surprise” their group. What I didn’t know beforehand was that the host of the study was 92.

I write this unto you another way, ninety-two.

She was wearing sky blue pants, a seabreeze sweater, and aqua marine earrings that tied the whole ensemble together like two berries on a shortcake. She’d assembled 40 plates of chicken salad, fruit and pasta served with homemade cheese straws. You better believe the tea was sweet and the coffee was piping. The deserts were legion. She said she had lots of “help” but you could tell who ran the show: Erline.

Me and Erline photo4

Woman after woman – young, “older” and everyone in between – entered her home with shock and awe at the sight of me plopped in the middle of the living room. (There may have been squealing.) (I kept looking over my shoulder thinking maybe Oprah had dropped in.) I had never quite experienced this kind of admiration, but what they clearly didn’t understand is how far more stunned I was by them than they could have ever been with me. I was inspired by Erline’s gusto at –have I mentioned this? – ninety-two year’s old; the group’s commitment to meet and serve one another week after week; the compassionate way they invited their friends and neighbors into their fold; the humility of the lead woman from the local church.
A few of the women shared about what studying God’s Word together has meant to them. Some described the grief of losing sons and husbands, and how God has comforted them through their pain; Others talked of how God spoke through the pages of Scripture; Still a newly declared U.S. citizen shared about how she hadn’t left her home in years until a woman from the study taught her English and invited her to this gathering. A phenomenal story.

The legacy of this bible study group will have eternal ramifications.

photo 1

My friend and I left emotionally drained and filled at the same time. So humbled by how God uses us, and so moved by how He meets His people when they simply gather, seek Him and encourage one another. I drove away reminded of how POWERFUL studying Scripture and praying together is; How necessary; How vital to our beings, relationships, homes. I was inspirited to be like Erline who opened up her home as well as the other women who brought food and facilitated the study through their local church.

The visit stirred up memories of me sitting in my parents’ sunroom, along with nine other college friends, while my mom slid in a VHS Tape of a “new” Bible Study teacher named Beth. The woman on the videotape was blonde and funny. She knew Jesus. And she changed the course of my life. Beth Moore of course was vital to the process, but equally so was my mom who opened up her home to us college girls. She lured us with baked goods and warm mugs. She gave us a pastel floral couch on which to discuss the difficult years of college. Could you be that person this summer? This fall? (maybe sans the floral couch.) Consider what opening up your home for a summer bible study could do for the lives around you. If (one more time) 92 year-old Erline can do it, perhaps…

***Here are a few LifeWay authors whose studies you might enjoy, a few I know and respect: Angela Thomas, Tammie Head, Jen Hatmaker, Jennie Allen, Lisa Harper, Jennifer Rothschild, Mary Jo Sharp, Vicki Courtney, Kay Arthur, Mary Kassian, Margaret Feiberg, and I hope I haven’t left anyone out. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list, but these are a few LifeWay friends to get you started if you’re looking for a place to begin.





  1. Dawn Russell

    We are doing Ann Voskamp's study on One Thousand Gifts followed by…ahem…Nehemiah by Kelly Minter on Wednesday nights this summer. Cannot wait!

    • Barb R.

      My group did the Nehemiah study last fall. It was wonderful. Enjoy!

  2. SKay Fires

    Thanks for sharing this and confirming the commitment God is wanting me to make.

  3. amy

    Kelly- so true! I can't wait to do PS's Gideon, but I literally just started your Ruth study (on day 3 of the first week)! It's just gonna be me & you & Jesus this summer because our group just broke for the summer. But we already have plans to start back up on Monday, September 30th – Lisa Harper's Malachi. So thankful for you. Happy summer! Love, Amy 🙂 xo!

  4. Marian Nelson

    So true and so heartwarming and inspirational. You are so funny and down to earth! A small group of us in Dripping Springs, TX did your Nehemiah study recently and it was amazing! We all loved it. Yes, we love Beth as well and some of the others you mentioned. You are like a breath of fresh air. Thank you for all you do! Love you, Marian

  5. Dora

    I've just started your "No Other Gods" study this week. I got "hooked" on you when I did Beth Moore's summer study of Nehemiah. Did Ruth over the winter and plan to also do Beth's "Stepping Up" study this summer. Wish you'd come to Birmingham, AL this summer and drop in — I'd feed you chicken 'n dumplings and fried okra.

    I have one more week to work and then I'll be taking a leave of absence to take care of my husband who was recently diagnosed with ALS. All prayers appreciated.

  6. Melissa

    How wonderful! I truly enjoy all the Bible Study groups that I have been involved in. These are important relationships as we learn more about God and His love for us and how we can show our love for Him. Thank you for the information about Beth's new study. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. 🙂

  7. Gigi

    You hit the nail on the head Kelly. What an honor to see what God does with the ladies we choose to study His Word with!

  8. Angela S.

    What a great story! Thanks Erline for your inspiration. I love to study Scripture with other ladies. It's exciting to come together from different backgrounds and at different stages of life to encourage each other. We need to be in fellowship with others to do the Christian life – it's so crucial for our spiritual growth. Kelly, after you came to speak at our event in Maryland, I purchased your book Hannah's Wish to do with my teen daughter. After praying about this, I felt God saying to open my home to other teens, so this summer I'll be leading a teen girls bible study. Can't wait to see what God will do!

  9. Monica

    What an encouragement. Can't wait to do Gideon this summer!!

  10. Kathy Skalabrin

    God must be speaking. I just emailed a friend the other dsy to see if she new some other women who’d like to get together and do the Gideon study! Thanks for sharing that. I may actually be brave enough to host it!

  11. Cheryl Shipley

    Great story, Kelly! Thanks for sharing. I have two Bible study groups right now and I am always amazed by the women in them.

  12. Marg Flynn

    Hi! Our Biker Babes Bible Study group has just started Lisa’s study of Malachi. We do look forward to Gideon sometime in the future.

  13. Heidi Duffield

    An awesome and encouraging message! I have completed Nehemiah, about to finish Ruth and ……this is the good part, I'm starting a college age girls Bible Study this summer using No Other Gods! I was in Lifeway Saturday and sent out a group text to several young ladies I know asking if they'd like to do a summer Bible Study. So far four are committed to coming and of course I threw in supper! I'm excited about spending time with these sweeties. Reading your blog tonight was confirmation to me that God is amazingly leading and directing my path! God is soooo good….all the time!

  14. Sharon Moffett

    I want to be an Erline…. And maybe I’ll even get to meet her one day as we are considering moving to the Nashville area! Are you able to tell me which town in TN you’re referring to… ? So many great areas to consider. Right now we are looking in Franklin.

    Thanks for the encouragement to open up our homes and serve Jesus in this way.

  15. Teri

    I host a bible study at my house every other Monday. We are finishing up Nehemiah right now and plan on doing "The Fitting Room". We figure it will be great for the returning college students and us regulars alike!!!!

  16. Darlene Montgomery

    Kelly, what an inspirational story. I have felt the Lord leading me to do something, but it hasn't been clear to me yet. I think He may just have showed it to me through this story of Erline and her friends. Our Wednesday night Bible study at church is beginning your Ruth study next Wednesday night. I am very excited for it! Thank you.

  17. Karen Thrasher

    My wonderful aunt, Erline, has been telling me about you and regrettably I could not be at her house last week to meet you in person. But, I am thrilled to see the pictures and hear about this special evening. My Daddy's baby sister, Erline, has been a mentor, inspiration, friend and teacher to me since I was very young and I am additionally blessed by her continuing witness to God's love. She is indeed a special lady and means so much to all the nieces and nephews who look up to her. I look forward to reading your books and seeing what God has in store for my life through your ministry. May God bless you.

  18. Marie Miller

    Kelly, I am pleased to tell you that we just started a brand new online Bible study group for Ruth: Loss, Love & Legacy. One of our ladies asked if I could find the lyrics to "Anyone Out There". Is there someplace where I can find lyrics to the songs that are on the album but not in the book? All the songs touch a chord in us, making us want to sing with you.

    Here is the link to our new blog: https://theabidingbranch.wordpress.com/

  19. Gwen Schroeder

    Huge encouragement reading this today! I just offered to host a women's group in my home, never having done it before and feeling like I am stepping WAY outside of my skill set. I saw you speak in Rochester, MN in April and felt compelled to work through "No Other Gods". I thought a few women might sign up – at last count there are 18!!! Can't wait to have you spend your summer with us as we study God's word!

  20. Rhonda Haley

    We just finished the Bible Study Ruth: loss, love, legacy. We had 10 ladies, young and old and every week we talked about how it was THE BEST study we have ever done. Thank you so much for helping us to make a "new friend" in Ruth. The journey with her was phenomenal. We laughed, cried, shared our joys and concerns. We can't wait to plan our next adventure.

  21. Marie Miller

    Kelly, I'm excited to tell you that our online group just completed RUTH: Love, Loss & Legacy. It was a wonderful study. Thank you for your research and your transparency in personal anecdotes. You made Ruth real to us, and made us feel real in the sight of God and one another. God bless you!

    Because I want to use online Bible studies as a method of outreach, I set up a blog site, which will remain open for anyone to use in the future.

    Take a look at our site. I hope others will use it to further the Gospel and to Make Disciples of All Nation.


  22. Mary Ann

    Kelly, I love the method of your Bible studies. I'm just getting ready to start Nehemiah. Can't wait!

    Your study on Ruth touched my heart so. Getting to learn about Ruth's strengths was very uplifting!