One of the key influences on a student coming to faith in Jesus today is reading the bible.*
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so... and it still introduces students to the love of Jesus today. This isn't just any book.
It's an encouraging revelation from my research to discover that the Bible really is an incredibly transformative and powerful tool that God uses to change lives. We know it in theory, we say we value it, we say it is God's word not just man's weird ideas... and yet if you're anything like me I still forget that this holy book of ours literally can change the lives of people who don't even know God, as they read it.
Look around you right now. Where's your Bible? How near to the word of God are you? Is it on your phone? Do you carry a physical copy of this absolute power tool for the voice and presence of God? And how often do you share it with others, especially those who have never read it before?
One of the amazing effects of encountering the presence of God that many of the students I interviewed spoke about, was their new found supernatural hunger to read the Bible. And even more encouraging, the stories of transformation that came out of actually taking on board what they were reading.
Here's some things the students said:
“I read the entirety of Matthew in one night”
“I was getting up 2 hours early to read about who this Jesus was.”
“You need to look back in the bible and find that God does love you and is with you.”
“I kept hearing the phrase around the cost of following Jesus… I learnt about it in bible study and that’s when I decided it was worth it.”
“I would read Job with a blog and just be amazed”
“It showed me how good God is and how this is someone worth following.”
“I used to lie all the time, constantly, non-stop… I read the bible and realised lying’s not so great!”
Ok, some people are more wired to be interested in books and reading than others. But university students can read and so the chances of a book being way out of their comfort zone is less likely. The difference of course is the Bible is not your average textbook to be analysed for a research project. It is alive. It detoxes the mind and performs surgery on the heart and heals and brings peace and wakes you up to real life and calls you forward into truth. But students don't know this unless someone tells them and puts the Bible in their hands.
How much confidence do you have in the Bible to change hearts? Would you know where to start if a friend wanted to read it with you?
How much space do our mid-week meet-ups and communities give for people to wrestle with the bible together? How much is it an after-thought to a social, or like a comprehension exercise?
Just another heads-up about our Small Groups Big Mission resource, as we really emphasise the need for Scripture in our communities but it seeks to shake up our understanding of why and how we open the word of God.
There are plenty more resources out there to get you reading Scripture and inviting others to read it with you, but don't let your inexperience of introducing someone to the Bible stop you having a go. Students are meeting Jesus through the pages of this holy book. As they read about him in the gospels they are meeting him in their hearts. You might need to go order a Bible right now to give as a gift to your housemate... let's not forget the word of God is alive and available to us, it is not just a book and it is making a vital difference.
*These statements are taken from research completed for my Masters degree in which I explored commonalities of students coming to faith in Jesus in England today. I gathered data from a spread of institutions, geographical locations, church expressions and interviewed an equal number of male and female students, with some diversity in background and ethnicity as well. Although my findings have limitations and my scope of data had to be small, I believe what I have discovered is still very useful for local churches seeking to share Jesus with students and so this blog series explores the top 12 commonalities discovered. Enjoy!