Modern life is busy and full of distractions. There are many demands on our time: school, work, friends, parents, and many other commitments; we also like to take some time out for entertainment and maybe even some sleep! When we keep such a frenetic pace it becomes easy to get distracted and spend all of our time on the day-to-day efforts of existence and forget about what makes life really worth living.
We know deep down that life is not about “things.” Life should not be about money, our job, our car, or our status. We know we should not allow life to pass us by while we just wander along with headphones in our ears and our eyes buried in our smartphones. Social media are great, but social media are not real and leave us hungering for more. It is easy to try to find meaning through pleasure, but even the best pleasures in life still leave us lacking.
Relationships and being part of something greater than ourselves make life worth living. That is why we yearn for good and strong connections with our family, friends, and others. The search for relationship is what drives social media. Too many try to find relationship through sex, drinking parties, or shared drug use; such people are looking for the right thing but are trying to find it in all the wrong places.
Our search for relationship and meaning is not surprising. The God who created us is Himself in relationship: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, sharing in love (John 17:20-23, 1 John 4:8). God has made us in His image; therefore, we seek after relationship with Him and our fellow humans made in His image (Acts 17:24-28, Romans 1:18-20). Jesus of Nazareth, God the Son, described this search for connection, relationship, and meaning in a powerful image in John 15:5-9:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
Jesus speaks of a grape vine. As the branches of a grape vine can only bear fruit when connected to the vine, so we can only truly reflect Jesus and God’s intention for us as His creation when we are connected to Him. As the branches all share the connection of being part of the vine, so people can find true connection and true relationship not only with God but also with each other when connected to Jesus!
At The Vine Bible Study we hope to facilitate these connections. We come together weekly to learn more about the Father and the Son through the revelation of the Holy Spirit in Scripture, and we share in this together to foster relationships with one another as well.
We understand that modern life poses a lot of challenges and difficulties. As students you are learning about the world and trying to make sense of what it all means, where you fit in, and how it all can connect with faith and be informed by faith. The Vine Bible Study is a time for you to be able to talk about the challenges you are experiencing. We at The Vine Bible Study are not afraid to dig deeply into Scripture or to grapple with the many difficult questions often brought up in our twenty-first century environment. We want to create a space where you feel comfortable talking about these difficult questions with the assurance that you are not being judged for wondering or even doubting about matters of the faith and where you can feel confident that you will be equipped with the best insights from Scripture as they relate to these important questions.
The Vine Bible Study is your study. Topics for study are chosen by you and your fellow students. Every The Vine Bible Study session is opened and closed with prayers with opportunities for you to make your prayer requests known. After the opening prayer, the floor is open for student questions, comments, difficulties, or concerns; in past sessions we have discussed topics like creation and macro-evolution, homosexuality, and recent world events. If a session of The Vine Bible Study is taken up with student questions and discussions, well and good; if not, we continue to previously decided study topics or books. Subjects have included the basics of Christianity, the book of Ruth, and the book of Revelation. The Vine Bible Study is not designed to be just another class or just another Bible study, but a place of connection and refreshment for you to be able to learn more about the Scriptures, work through the challenges that come at the intersection of the faith and life, and to be encouraged and equipped with applications of the Bible’s message to your life and circumstances.
The Vine Bible Study is a work of the Venice church of Christ; we welcome everyone of any and every faith tradition to join us as we seek to come to a better understanding of what God has revealed in the Bible, discuss how we can properly apply God’s message to our lives, and find greater connection with God and with one another. These connections, after all, are what make life worth living. We look forward to seeing you soon at The Vine Bible Study!