The Johnston County Men’s Bible Study begins its fifth year on September 12, inviting Christian men of all faiths, backgrounds and ages to take a closer look at the scriptures.
The study is not tied to any particular church, and all are welcome.
“We have men from all over the county and as far away as Clinton,” said Clayton Narron, one of the group’s co-leaders.
The hard core has existed for 12 years. At first, they hoped that a Bible scholarship group would find them. Bible Study Fellowship is a para-church offering structured Bible studies worldwide.
But in the end, the organizers changed direction and created their own Bible study environment. Each year the group studies a book of the Bible verse by verse, and this year it will be the book of Romans. A study guide is posted on the group’s website, and each meeting examines the passage in detail and includes time for sharing and developing a prayer list.
“We all learn from each other and it’s amazing,” Narron said. “What the spirit reveals to everyone is different. It depends on what is going on in your life.
Bible study members span many different ages and the small groups within the large group benefit.
“One of the big things is knowing that it all works out in the end,” Narron said. “Even though what you’re going through may seem like a terminal problem, you always end up getting through it with God’s help and older guys can attest to that.”
Narron compares men’s Bible studies to the traditions of his youth that included men gathering together to talk after family meals and holidays. He said it was a great opportunity to learn from other men.
“We all have the same desire to draw closer to God, to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit, but we don’t have many opportunities as men to come together to do so. We are all in the family of God and we come together as men to encourage one another and come together in fellowship as a body,” Narron said.
Each year-long Johnston County Men’s Bible Study session culminates on the last night of May with a meeting in the host church’s sanctuary where members are encouraged to share what the study has meant to them.
“We know that everyone who comes has some burden. They carry guilt, illness or trauma or distress from a family member. We all have a burden. We don’t necessarily have to share it, but we can offer encouragement and find comfort by being there and studying,” Narron said.
Seventy-five men have already signed up for this year’s study, which begins on Monday, September 12. Each session runs from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Centenary United Methodist Church, 140 E. Market Street in Smithfield.
“Our ultimate goal is to help each other have a deeper relationship with our Creator and Savior and the Holy Spirit,” Narron said.