Why Discipleship Matters

Throughout my teens, twenties, and thirties, I always had several Bibles close at hand—yet I rarely remember picking any of them up unless I was walking out the door to go to church. Even though I always sensed there was something special about the Bible, it wasn’t until God allowed me to reach the end of my self-sufficiency that I began personally looking for help and hope in the Word of God.

Then a friend recommended I check out Kay Arthur’s Precept classes. So when Kay was teaching book by book through the Prophets, I began attending her Bible studies and seminars. It was then that I finally learned to study, understand, and apply God’s Word. Once I was better equipped to actually comprehend what I was reading in Scripture, it completely changed my life and my relationship with the Lord. I finally understood what believers meant when they talked about having a close and personal relationship with God through his Word.

Today, I work with many women and men who’ve had similar experiences: people who had at least one Bible at their disposal, but because nobody proactively discipled them, it took a crisis or significant life experience to motivate them to start seeking comfort in God’s Word.

God makes it clear throughout Scripture that his words have authority and power—and that we as believers are to teach Scripture to others so they will be fully equipped for life (Isaiah 55:11; Ephesians 4:11-14). Too often, though, we don’t do enough to support discipleship or promote Bible engagement. While many of us have personal testimonies of how the Bible has profoundly impacted our lives, there are billions of men, women, and children—both in our country and around the world—who have never tapped into the life-changing power of God’s Word.

So as we think about the importance of Bible engagement and discipleship, a natural question arises: why is it that so many own numerous Bibles, yet so few actually read them?

While there are various reasons people neglect Bible engagement, one excuse I encounter often is that people don’t believe they will understand God’s Word even if they read it.

Having worked for many years with women, men, and youth who are struggling, I regularly come across people who are intimidated by the Word of God, just like I used to be. So many of us don’t believe we can comprehend Scripture, so why pick the Bible up?

In my forties, I finally silenced this self-defeating voice, intentionally opened my Bible, and personally experienced its life-changing power. My soul was invigorated, and I longed for so many others to have this transformative experience. Others who, like me, were missing out because they thought they couldn’t do it. My ears and heart were opened. I realized that God has called all of us as believers to use our professions, talents, resources, and influence to champion biblical literacy. So what was he calling me to do? How could I help others?

Over the past nine years, through a ministry I birthed called Courage For Life, I have had the privilege of championing several important projects to create resources that help make God’s Word less intimidating. We finished the first fully female-voiced New Living Translation audio Bible in both English and Spanish. And we’ve now created a pathway for Bible engagement through the Courage For Life Study Bible for Women and the Courage For Life Study Bible for Men.

Each Courage For Life Study Bible offers a discipleship pathway to transformation that can help us discern God’s truth in a world filled with conflicting voices. These Bibles have 1,464 Bible studies—that’s a study on every page of Bible text. The four-part study equips readers to apply Scripture so that we can all lead courageous, purpose-filled lives. Throughout these Bibles, we also encounter 82 encouraging profiles of courageous believers—82 women in the women’s study Bible, and 82 men in the men’s study Bible.

My greatest prayer is not only that individuals will be inspired to use these Bibles for personal study and growth, but also that they will listen to what God is asking of them. I pray they will use the Courage For Life Study Bibles in small groups, Bible studies, ministry groups, and many other places to break down walls of intimidation and encourage others to find their courage in the amazing power of God’s Word.

Posted on October 19, 2023

Ann is a TV host, an internationally known author, speaker, passionate Bible teacher, founder of Courage For Life, wife, mother, and Grandmother. Ann founded Courage For Life out of her passion to equip and encourage individuals from all walks of life to embrace their God-given courage for life. Ann believes God offers everyone an abundant life, but that it is up to us to take hold of that promise. Therefore, Ann writes, publishes, and provides emotional health, discipleship, and Bible study resources to help people grow in their relationships with God, themselves, and others. The need to have resources available to help people grow both spiritually and emotionally drives Ann and her team to create such things as the first all-female-voiced audio Bible, entering a field that includes thousands of male-voiced versions. The female voice is important to Ann’s mission that has reached behind bars as well as in church pews. Ann's greatest desire is to see everyone experience the life God intended for them!
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