Every Tuesday morning, I gather with residents of Ashby Ponds apartment homes for Bible study. We meet in a banquet room in one of the community’s club houses, so it’s big and bright and there is plenty of seating. I’ve got a livestream camera going, so in addition to three dozen men and women in front of me, I’ll have an equal number of views on YouTube.
For me, there is nothing that has changed my life more consistently, and more permanently, than the careful study of God‘s word. The Word is transformative, in that studying it, I learn God‘s will for my life—the way I should live in today’s context. The way that we should live together.
Now, I’m a pastor. I’ve been doing this for some time, and it’s not breaking news to declare that I have an affinity for the Bible. I mean, well duh. But I do find it surprising (and I hope I always do) that so many people in every community share this affinity.
People are hungry to study the Bible and they like to do it together. I always feel appreciated by the love they show me in welcoming a pastor come to teach. I’m kept on my toes by their frequent questions. Good questions. Difficult questions! I do regular research and preparation and it is always rewarded. My classes are eager to learn details that they may not have received in their church upbringing: they want insights into Biblical language, context and connection with extra-Biblical history, archaeology and the like.
It’s not just academic, of course. In this class, we encourage one another. We learn from each other‘s insights and experiences. As believers studying the Word together, we’re creating a connection. God created life with his Word. In our study together, God is re-creating our lives in the same manner. Making us new, deepening our understanding, building vibrant, life-loving community.
In addition to Exodus, over the last six years I have taught on the Gospels, Acts, Romans and Genesis. Genesis was particularly interesting because, as we learned during our study, Genesis serves as a sort of prequel to Exodus, which is the major story of the Old Testament and an archetype of the meaning of Christ in the New Testament and in our world today.
Studying Exodus, I myself have learned about God’s heart for inclusion, freedom, equality, and justice. God works through diverse people who are alll too human and thus imperfect. Yet the perfecting impulse is there: God lifts up women, even three to four thousand years ago. God takes an enslaved people who were of no particular account and creates a unique community of faith to be a light to the world.
We are—through Christ—on our own Exodus journey. We are moving from the slavery of selfishness and pride to the freedom of being Christ’s people. We can be less entangled with ourselves among the things of this world and more aligned with the will of God.
The amazing thing about the Bible is not just that it happened, but also that it is happening! God continues to set people free today.
Pastor Jason @ Ashby Ponds
Joe and Terry Haugh attend Pastor Jason’s Exodus class. Here’s what they say:
“The most interesting thing we have learned in this class is to read the Exodus through the eyes and ears of the ancient Hebrew people. Jason has added so much to its meaning through the knowledge he has gained not just in Seminary, but also through his personal association with a local Rabbi and Hebrew scholar. Jason is an excellent teacher and the regular attendees, who represent many different Christian denominations, all look forward to Tuesday mornings with Jason!”