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I’m not sure what made me buy the Ruth Bible Study years ago – probably the cute cover. I had never heard of Kelly Minter at the time, even though it was her second Bible study. I completed it on my own and devoured every word. Then a few years ago, I picked up her Nehemiah Bible Study and as the Lord would have it, it came at the absolute perfect time that I needed it for some crazy happenings in my life. In fact, the Lord amazed me almost every single day of that study by speaking directly to what was going on that very day. I love when He does that!
One of these days I’m going to go back and do her first study No Other Gods. Because I don’t want to miss any!
Ready to be impressed? I have had the privilege of hearing Kelly speak in Nashville when I was at Lifeway Headquarters for a Women’s Ministry training (which was fantastic, btw) a couple of years ago. I found her as wonderful in person as I had imagined from getting to know her through her Bible studies! I acted like a groupie and got a selfie with her while I gushed over how much her Bible studies had helped me! Terrible picture of me, but Kelly is the cutest.
This week my Bible study small group finishes up Kelly’s latest Bible study, All Things New. This was the first time most of our group had done a study by Kelly Minter, but I personally was really excited to dig into another one of her studies.
So first, the facts:
The All Things New study covers the entire book of 2 Corinthians. It has nine accompanying videos to the eight weeks of study. Each week has 5 days of homework. One interesting thing that we found different from other Bible studies we’d done, is that in the videos, she speaks about the previous week’s homework – rather than the upcoming homework. I’ll be honest – that took some getting used to. Probably just because we are creatures of habit!
This was the first time I had used her videos and I was pleasantly surprised that she sang at the end of each one. I have her Hymns and Hallelujahs CD and she has been blessed with such a sweet and innocent voice. We all agreed that little addition was a treat – as well as pure worship!
Another cool thing about all of her Bible study workbooks is that she shares her favorite recipes! She is a much fancier cook than I am – judging from the number of ingredients – but I can vouch that her hummingbird cake (page 97) is scrumptious because one of my amazing small group sisters actually surprised us and made it and brought it to share! Worth. Every. Calorie.
Ok, let’s get to the meat!
Kelly reveals in the introduction, “Perhaps more than anything it is this weakness and honesty with which Paul writes that has so moved me. Scholars have often described 2 Corinthians as Paul’s most personal letter, and this may be one of the reasons I never tire of returning to its pages.”
Well, I am here to tell you that Kelly has followed suit and this is her most personal study as well. She shares much of her life and struggles. For those who fight anxiety, I think you will resonate with what Kelly shares on the personal front.
Even though a good bit of the subject matter in 2 Corinthians is not exactly happy-go-lucky, it is much needed instruction on how to live this Christian life well. I say much needed because it covers so many things that are bound to come up in life – like it or not.
Kelly seems to get Paul, who suffered more than most. For example, in Session 2, Day 2 she says, “I’ve yet to meet a person who enjoys suffering, but I’ve met many who found intimacy with Jesus in the midst of their suffering. There are certain parts of Jesus you just can’t know on a path of ease, and once you’ve tasted that closeness with Him you wouldn’t trade it for the smooth course.”
Are we there yet?
I will admit to you that a few women in my small group said they thought All Things New was the hardest study they had every done. As I delved into that comment a little more, I think they meant that Kelly made them think – quite a bit.
For example, in Session 4, Day 1 Kelly says, “I think one of the reasons we’re afraid to think too deeply about eternal life is because we’re not intimate enough with the Lord now for thoughts of heaven to really be a comfort to us. We prefer to find our comfort in what’s cozy and familiar here on earth. But Paul says [in 2 Corinthians 5:6-9] home is all about where Jesus is.”
Then she asks (here comes the “hard” part my friends were talking about), “When you think of all that the word home means to you, how much does the presence of Jesus factor into that? In other words, is He your ultimate sense of security? Is He your hope in trials? Is He the one you can’t wait to thank in blessing? Do you run to Him first in times of anxiety? Journal your thoughts.”
See what I mean? Hard thinking – if you truly put the time into it.
But in this study there is also good news! (Isn’t that always the way with Jesus?)
We can choose to live in the promises of 2 Corinthians 12:9!
In Session 7, Day 5 Kelly says, “Regardless of the type of thorns we’ve been given or hardships we’re enduring I’m a big believer in pleading with the Lord. I encourage you to beg the Lord for healing, deliverance, and relief. Scripture backs up our persistent appeal to God for help in times of trouble. However, there are times when the Lord tells us to move forward with our thorns. If He chooses to keep the difficulty in place, we must choose to live in the promises of verses 9-10. It’s a willful decision we must make. I’ve spent way too much time sidelined by certain pain, trying to dissect it and figure it out, instead of experiencing Christ’s sufficient grace and perfect power in the midst of it.”
“The Lord has used today’s passage [2 Corinthians 11:21-30] to convict me. Honestly, I like to stay out of the fray. I’m not one to jump into controversy. I fear people twisting my words, I hate being misunderstood, and I generally dislike being disliked. (Did you notice my fears are all about me?) Pretty much all the controversy that swirls around taking a stand is everything I try to avoid. In other words, no one has to worry about me ever running for president. We are in a battle, though, and the Lord has not called us to live our lives shirking from uncomfortable situations.”
Whoa. Did you catch what she said: my fears are all about me?
More hard thinking.
My final conclusion? I recommend All Things New. There is SO much to learn from Paul in 2 Corinthians. Lots to think about! Some of it hard. All of it life-changing and life-giving! Freedom, here we come!
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