A Bible Study Here, A Bible Study There…

By Craig Higgins, Resident Theologian

Sometimes it seems as if there are Bible studies everywhere at camp. On several occasions, I have been asked to write these studies for the counselors to use in their cabins at Brookwoods, Deer Run, and MRO. I enjoy doing it because I love teaching. I have to admit, though, it can be challenging to find the best way to communicate sometimes complicated theology to campers of different ages and faith backgrounds. Let me tell you what I mean.

What all goes into these studies? These studies are taught by the cabin counselors to their respective campers. We want to both communicate biblical teaching to the campers and show them how to read and study the Bible. I just finished writing two sets of seven studies; the study sets alternate each camp session. Each study begins with a running commentary—written for the counselors—on the biblical passage being studied, followed by some inspirational quotes. After a summary of the “big idea” of the study and a key verse or two, the counselors are given a series of questions that they can use to guide the campers into the text, and a few “wrap up” questions as well. (Sometimes, these questions are divided up into “junior unit” and “senior unit”.) At the end, there’s suggestions for how to close in prayer—sometimes with a hymn or a song.

A lot of effort goes into these Bible studies—not just in writing them, but more importantly, in the preparation, discussion, and teaching time that goes on at camp itself. It should be obvious that we think Bible study is very important! Why?

First, because the Bible tells God’s story. Following biblical scholars, I like to say that the whole Bible teaches one big story in six acts: Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus, the Church, & the End. The story is all about God’s loving redemption of the world, and its center is Jesus—his life, death, and resurrection. The Bible is God’s love letter to the whole world.
Second, because the Bible is God’s written Word. God’s Word is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), and studying Scripture leaves no one unchanged. We want to see campers’ lives transformed as they experience God’s written Word—which always points to God’s Incarnate Word, Jesus (John 1:1-14).

This summer, the first set of Bible studies are on “God’s Welcoming Kingdom,” where we look at Luke’s Gospel and how Jesus is the King who came to welcome everyone into his kingdom, into his family. These studies look carefully at the Good News! The other set is “Men & Women of Faith from the Old Testament,” where we look at people ranging from Abraham to Esther. We see that these men and women are not always perfect, but they all point to Jesus—the true Prophet, Priest, and King.

Many of you may already be praying for camp this summer. That’s a good thing! But will you please pray specifically for the Bible studies? Pray that the counselors will have wisdom and insight into the text and where their campers are spiritually so that they can guide the studies well. Pray also that the campers will be interested and open to learning. And that, through reading and studying God’s Word, we will all be drawn closer to the One of which the Scriptures speak, our Savior Jesus Christ.

From the Book of Common Prayer:

Blessed Lord, who caused all the Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen. (a prayer from the English Reformation)

Dr. Craig Higgins is the founding and senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in the Westchester suburbs of New York City. Whenever possible, however, he is at camp, where his nametag reads “Resident Theologian.” His wife, Ann, serves year-round as camp’s Director of Development. They have three young adult children, all of whom were campers, and all have been either LDPs, on staff, or both. You can email Craig here.