So I led bible study and it went well. I enjoyed it and was enthused by the topic; I don't know if my audience was!
Before the start a young man asked me if he could read me the prayer he had written. It was lovely, heart-felt and honest. He had to leave early so i asked him if he'd read it to everyone at the start of the study. He agreed and did.
Turned out he was a bit of a showman so it was quite an entertaining few minutes but very worthwhile. He's had his problems and has been in jail and rehab. At the moment he's on the up so let's hope/pray he can maintain that.
For the study I was looking at Joseph and Nicodemus, the two members of the Jewish ruling council who buried Jesus. They'd both visited Jesus in secret previously: to show affiliation with him would have meant big trouble for them in the Sanhedrin. But at the end they made a decision; they believed what Jesus said. Although their action would have put them at odds with the rest of the ruling council they didn't care.
One of the points I was trying to make was that it was good to challenge long-held views, 'party lines' etc. Just because you've always been taught to think in one way it doesn't mean it's the right way. Biblical scholars can use and misuse the scriptures to suit themselves. The best way to check stuff out is to do the Jesus test: does this tie in with what you know about Jesus? Is this the way he would have acted/spoken?
I quoted some words from, Jeff, a preacher and fellow blogger:
We have to be careful how we discern what is right and noble and what is wrong and bad, lest we be misled.
We may end up coming back to our original belief but we should still have enquiring minds and not take everything that is said to us as 'gospel'. I've written on here before about the dangers of believing everything we read on the internet but the advice applies to many facets of life.