College students should be familiar with studying, but many – including students at a Christian college – may never have actually been taught how to study the Bible, according to University of Mobile Director of Campus Life Neal Ledbetter.
That’s why the Campus Ministries
team at UMobile held a one-night seminar for students on “How to Study the Bible."
As he has mentored students over the years, Ledbetter has taught many students how to study the Bible.
“I would find myself recommending this book or that book as a resource,” says Ledbetter. “The reality is, most people aren’t going to go read a book.”
Because of this, he began to compose handouts filled with the most important information. Over time, these few handouts became a complete study.
“I also have found that most of the resources available teach you how to study, rather than show you how,” says Ledbetter. “So, I wanted to combine the two.”
When going through this study, the main focus Ledbetter has is getting his students to ask the “right” questions. These questions include, “Who is writing? Who is speaking? Who is the audience? Why did the writer use that word? What does that word mean? Why did they say that? How do you know? What other verses shed light on this verse? What does this tell me about God? What does this reveal about me? What does that say about you and I?”
After having shown students how, he then starts to explain the process they just followed. According to Ledbetter, “It tends to click a little more when they have discovered the truth for themselves.”
Most Christians would probably say that they know how to study the Bible, so why is an event like this actually important?
In his book, “Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God's Word,” George Guthrie says, "Ask one hundred church members if they have read the Bible today, and eighty-four of them will say no. Ask them if they have read the Bible at least once in the past week, and sixty-eight of them will say no. Even more disconcerting, ask those one hundred church members if reading or studying the Bible has made any significant difference in the way they live their lives. Only thirty-seven out of one hundred will say yes."
From his experience, Ledbetter has found that most college students say they have never even been taught how to study the Bible. These students are looking to make sense of the world and their place in it, which is why this study is vitally important.
Ledbetter says, “In order to think critically and Biblically on all of the range of issues that we face today, it is important to know what the Bible says about these issues. However, in order to know what the Bible says, it needs to be studied. “
The “How to Study the Bible” seminar is held on campus every three to four years. This way, every student has the opportunity to go through the material at least once while at UMobile.
“Once a student has been through the material, it’s not necessarily something that they need to sit through again,” says Ledbetter. “It’s just a matter of going and doing it.”
Ledbetter has also had the opportunity to lead this study in churches, not just on campus at UMobile. He has led dozens of students individually through the material, and most say that they have been transformed completely by it.
“The greatest resource I can give them is not my wisdom, but the wisdom of the Word, and, in particular, how they can search the wisdom of the Word on their own,” Ledbetter says.
The University of Mobile is a Christian university located in Mobile, Ala., on an 880-acre campus near Gulf Coast beaches. Approximately 1,800 students are enrolled in more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Christian Leadership, School of Business, School of Christian Ministries, School of Education, School of Nursing, School of Worship Leadership, Center for Performing Arts/School of Music and Center for Adult Programs.
For more information about the University of Mobile, visit the website at www.umobile.edu
or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.
By Ashley Holmes, media relations intern