Bible studies offer people the opportunity to make new friendships and grow in their understanding of God’s character. As the world increasingly turns to online platforms, some Christians have started meeting online to study the Bible. This was especially prevalent last year when many people felt lonely for social interaction.
Although online platforms pose certain challenges, their advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Virtual Bible studies aren’t for everyone, but they can have an incredible impact for those who choose to meet through an online platform. Here are five benefits of participating in a virtual Bible study.
1. It’s accessible
Unlike traditional Bible studies, virtual groups do not require transportation. Members do not have to plan time for a trip or carpool to make sure everyone has a ride. Online studies can also cross national and even international borders. If the leaders choose a strategic moment, people from all over the world can join.
Because of this flexibility, virtual Bible studies are more accessible than traditional in-person studies. They require a working electronic device and reliable internet access. However, these are far more attainable requirements than owning a car or having plenty of free time for a study group.
2. It’s private
A virtual study can provide security for many people. Talking about personal beliefs and internal struggles with others can be difficult. When people meet online, they have more control what they share – up to choosing whether or not to turn on their camera.
Instead of meeting in someone’s home, members of an online Bible study can choose a location where they feel most comfortable. By using headphones, they can keep the conversation private even if they are in a busy place. While there’s a lot of merit in stepping out of your comfort zone, online studies lower the bar so people feel more comfortable joining a new group.
3. It’s inexpensive
In addition to being accessible, virtual Bible studies are also inexpensive. For one thing, members don’t need to use gas to meet. The time they would spend commuting can be used for work, and in some cases members can even continue to work on projects while listening.
Usually the most expensive thing in Bible studies is food. Many Bible studies meet in cafes, where people buy tea or coffee in exchange for using the space. With an online format, people can bring their own snacks and save that money for something else. As long as members have a computer or a phone, they can connect cheaply through an online format.
4. It’s relational
One of the main flaws of any online activity is that you lose the benefit of an in-person connection. There is just something about being in the same room with someone that is necessary for the physical and mental well-being of human beings. Physical touch can also reduce feelings loneliness or anxiety.
There really is no way for an online Bible study to meet this need. However, virtual groups can be a great solution when in-person meetings aren’t an option. When it comes to people’s need to connect mentally and emotionally, online meetings can be just as powerful as in-person Bible study groups.
5. It’s stimulating
Although virtual studies are not the same as in-person meetings, technology provides good options for almost all parts of a typical Bible study. If members meet on a video platform like Zoom or Google Meet, they can share their screens and audio to stream music and worship together.
Praying together online can be as powerful as when done in person. To make prayer time more personal and ensure it doesn’t take too long, leaders can create smaller groups on the virtual platform they use. The flexibility and resources available on different platforms means you have options for the tools you need depending on your group.
Connect with an online study session
Don’t overlook the blessing you can find through an online Bible study. The technology may take some getting used to, but the benefits will far outweigh any learning curve you’ll have to follow. They allow Christians to form meaningful relationships and seek God together, even when members live far apart.
Online meetings may be different from in-person Bible studies, but it’s still Christians coming together in spirit. Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather together in my name, I am with them.” If Jesus is part of your online study, it can be just as fruitful as forming an in-person group.