the weblog of Alan Knox

Systematic or Casual

Posted by on Sep 25, 2010 in blog links, discipleship | 4 comments

Systematic or Casual

My friend Dan at “The Ekklesia in Southern Maine” has written an excellent post called “Official.” In the post, Dan is asking about (or actually offering examples of) both the systematic study of Scripture and more casual usage of Scripture.

A systematic study of Scripture would be a planned study (like most Bible studies). It could be study through a book of the Bible or it could be topical. But, the plan for study would be decided before-hand.

A more casual use of Scripture would depend on what is happening in people’s lives. Scripture would not be studied as much as used as examples or to encourage, convict, admonish, etc. But, which Scripture to use would not depend on a predetermined plan, but on what is happening the lives of the people involved.

In his post, Dan talks about how conversation about life situations (using Scripture along the way) has proved more beneficial to him recently than more systematic studies of Scripture. In response to Dan’s post, I said the following:

I find that improptu teaching/encouraging based on what’s going on in each person’s lives can be very beneficial. These times can include scriptural teaching and study as well.

I think there is also a benefit to systematic study, because that study will round out our understanding. It will fill in gaps and prepare us for struggles that we will eventually go through, or that others are going through.

So, I say, do both!

Yes, do both. Have planned systematic studies of Scripture, but don’t stop there. Have conversations with people about what’s going on in their lives, but don’t stop there either. We need both.

What do you think?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 9-25-2010

    we must remember that the body of Christ has many members, while each can teach one another by the Spirit’s moving, some members God gifts with teaching. This doesn’t mean they give a preplanned exposition of a text of Scripture, it does mean that from the overflow of reading Scripture and experience of living by Christ’s life together and in personal life they give teaching of how to live by His indwelling life based on what the Scriptures provide as examples. Teaching is always in context of life in the body and is not meant to be an end all and to take over the functioning of the body of Christ. Too often teaching is overly functioning gift in the church to the loss of the face to face participation of all of Christ’s gifts in the body. Teaching is one gift among many to help build up the body of Christ.

  2. 9-25-2010

    Last Sunday, I was responsible for the teaching in our gathering. We started off sharing what God had been teaching us the past week, and that conversation ended up taking up most of our time together. The cool thing is that, towards the end, we spent time on the Scripture I had for us to look at, and it very naturally tied in to what we had been talking about as we shared.

    So, yes you can do both. Sometimes in the same gathering. :)

  3. 9-25-2010

    I am starting a “systematic” study of the Kingdom of Heaven/God in our Thursday night gathering. It will be a focused time of bible study.

    This time compliments our gatherings at the park on Sunday afternoons, breakfast with the men, and any other times we gather. All of gatherings include discussion and encouragement in the Word.

    As I commented on FB, I don’t like systematic study when that is all you do. And it seems to me that, that is what the majority of churches do.

  4. 9-26-2010

    I totally agree. One of the problems I’ve had with many modern versions of house church is that anything prepared is often seen as wrong. I agree that it should be centered around conversation, sharing, and a certain amount of spontaneity, but certainly there is room for prepared thoughts, lessons, poems, or prayers.