Input on Changes Bible Study Fellowship is Making…

Hey all!

I know some of you were like me when you showed up to Bible Study Fellowship this year:  we’re doing what?

Changes made to my group:

No opening worship time.  We now go straight to our groups.

Flex Questions.  We are picking 6 questions to focus on instead of doing the whole lesson.  This is an effort to encourage those who don’t finish their lessons.

BSF is now only 1 1/2 hours instead of 2 hours long.

There are no hymns at all.

I would love to hear all of your initial impressions on these changes to the traditional BSF format.  These are the most changes BSF has ever done at once and they are major.  Please comment below with your thoughts.

255 thoughts on “Input on Changes Bible Study Fellowship is Making…

  1. From my experience I work everyday. So when I go to BSF it is a very long day. I love praying in our groups instead. I truly appreciate the change. I start getting sleepy because a lot of times we would not get out on time generally we always went over. some have to drive very far so I appreciate it the 30 minute change

    1. I’ve been keeping up with my study and following this blog. I haven’t physically attended with my group yet. I’m visiting my family in Maine and BSF isn’t available in my area. I live in SC and I attend a group in GA. I’m surprised to learn about all these changes and disappointed. BSF is my “me” time. I enjoyed everything about the whole program and how well it’s managed. I contacted my group leader and asked whether GA has implemented any changes. I will post again when I hear from her. Please don’t change anything with this group! Your setup is very helpful and informative. Thanks for all your insight. God bless you.

    2. Arkansas–we understood this was being piloted in some areas this year and not decided as a complete change just yet. We still have hymns before the lecture. I know this is helping those who bring children especially on a Tuesday evening. My heart aches for the moms, grandmother, and others who are bringing children to learn about a God. So very needed in today’s culture to plant seeds early. Especially the children who are being brought because of broken, dysfunctional, or other issue with family unit. Anything we can do to help continue to ease burden of working caregivers and these children, not to mention single moms who are thirsty for Gods word and you some said “my time with the Lord and other believers for support” then so be it.. for BSF to give it a try.

  2. We don’t have all of those changes, no flex questions, but I like all the other changes. BSF is trying to attract and keep a younger audience.

    1. And risks losing some older audience. I sought and found a place where the study of God’s word was paramount. Everyone, even Seniors, have demands on their time. As someone else said, BSF is my “me” time. The singular part of my day with my Lord. I find Him in prayer and scripture, where BSF leads me. Study requires that I pay attention. It demands engagement, time, commitment. Rare commodities today. It is here that i understand God wants all of my attention. You who field children AND BSF have all my respect and admiration. You are the energy and the witness that fuels the program. I am notorious for finding the separation of age groups in this program to be a limitation. But that discussion will keep for another day.

      1. Barbara, I couldn’t agree with you more. I came back to BSF after many years’ absence, and I’m disappointed in what I see: dumbed-down questions, 9 out of 14 questions this week that were personal, and only 14 questions period!! Used to be 20 or so, weren’t there? I also don’t like the separation of ages – why not mix it up and have a range of ages? Sad to say, I’m going to quit BSF and go back to Community Bible Study. My husband was going as well to the men’s study, and tonight at our dinner before our classes, we both realized we’re not getting what we had hoped, and so we just came back home…we’ll let our discussion leaders know of our decisions.

      2. Annette, it appears to me, and the tone from BSF indicates it, that BSF has chosen the group it wants to grow, at the expense of the very age group that has,supported it’s solid program for decades. Quite familiar to me because my church did exactly this. Snubbed their loyals who then stopped contributing to the plate and chose others to support. The millenials did not pick up the slack and thought the senior membership should man the nursery full of millenial members who happily brought their children, but didn’t take nursery duty. When they were pressed to pitch in…would have averaged twice a year, they balked and left! And returned when they saw this was standard at every church. Your kids? Take your turn. BSF needs to recognize they have more than one obligation to take on the training of youngsters if they are going to prioritize that age group. They are the future of BSF. In EVERY aspect. Not my job to educate BSF. THEY WILL GET IT when membership drops. And they apparently place the numbers game squarely on the shoulders of the lecturer. We are seeing how the sausage is made. Pretty ugly. I feel like I am quite naive. Because BSF has been so much better than this. See, I believe with all my heart we owe those millenials real food. Prime nourishment. That is what is driving me. And what really disappoints me. You and I expect what is promised and what we used to have. BSF IS SHORTCHANGING young women rather than trusting God to continue calling them. Beneath all this emotion there is deep sadness. Not sure I can continue, myself. I am glad you have an alternate place where you and your husband will find God’s banquet. How sad to lose two true seekers hungry for true teaching. I will be interested to hear how your departure is received. Go with God, your hands inHis. and with my prayers.

      3. Just wondering if anyone has a copy of the original Romans lessons/questions. I have moved, and I think all my old notes are gone, but I’d like to compare the old with the new. If so, could you email me one or two (maybe lessons 1, 2 or 3)? Thanks so much.

      4. I have been thinking about this too. I wish we had access to the original questions for all the studies, so we could do our own real study on the side.

        It was because of the challenging questions that I delved deeper into my bible and discovered a great love for studying God’s word. My first study, and really my first time really reading the Bible, was The Life of Moses, and it seems that was the last year they still had a decent study. Like many, Revelation was a huge disappointment for me and I found myself doing my own study. But I was really missing the challenging questions BSF gave my first year to help my journey.

        I am their target audience. I am in my 20’s and my son is 6, and it’s his first year attending. I am completely baffled by what they have done. I never heard hymns until BSF, and they are crucial for me. Now we do one right before lecture and it feels rushed since our TL needs to maximize the very small amount of time she has. Why couldn’t we cut group time down? Honestly there is no need for such a long group meeting with how repetitive and straightforward the questions are. Not that I don’t like connecting with the other women, but the primary goal for me was to know God’s word and store it away in my heart and mind, and be able to have my son learning God’s word right along side me. And hour for group but only half an hour for lecture is just unacceptable for me.

        I feel like the women who were serious about going to study God’s word were thrown to the side, and the women that go to BSF for the social aspect and fluff lessons were made the target. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I’m tired of going to BSF and being put in groups where some of the women seem offended by the word of God. If He is your God then what could possibly be so offensive!? I’m tired of acting like God’s wrath is taboo because some are too delicate to handle a real discussion on ALL the aspects of God. Do they not realize if God didn’t pour out his wrath and if he lets everyone into heaven then he sent His son Jesus to die for nothing!? Honestly I wish BSF and these women would get a grip and stop being babies and step up to the plate, be in God’s word and keep their eyes open.

        What BSF is doing is exactly why I don’t have a church at the moment. I take God’s word seriously, and it’s hard to find a church in Orange County, California that actually sticks to God’s word. I don’t want their pop culture messages and their all inclusive social club that has homosexual adults leading some of the children ministries. Sadly, as I have been finding out it’s difficult to find a church or bible study that takes God seriously and remembers what He says about staying awake and not catering to the world.

      5. Thank you for your post. I am a past group leader. I have watched the changes over the years. This year we go to lecture first. Once in the group, we are spending 15 minutes listening to the leader talk about logistics (fellowships etc). After that the new trend is to be put in prayer pods — you pray for 15- 20 minutes with a person you do not know. Then when you finally get to the lesson, there are 10- 15 minutes left to go over the lesson. I have been so disappointed not being able to go over the lesson. Be prepared because the new thing this year is the “prayer pod” concept. What I am going to do is show up occasionally for group just to keep in BSF and be eligible to go online and find the lessons. I am sad that BSF is devaluing the Bible study part of the lessons. A lot of changes have been made in the past several years and as a past leader we were told repeatedly this was to attract more millennials. I am concerned they are going to lose more and more of the older generation and honestly, I think that is what BSF wants to happen.

      6. This change is not occuring in my BSF and I pray that it doesn’t. If it does I’ll probably go to lecture and skip the class. I’m sure that we can find others online to share our comments with and learn different takes on the scripture from one another.

  3. Works for me,1/2 of the questions, which you have mentioned before, repeat Them selves over time. So why discuss it over and over again. We sound so bad during the men’s worship it is a good Idea to skip it. It all works for me. Peace.

    Al Lietz

    1. I definitely LIKE Al’s reply.. I happen to be very
      old and believe we should also shorten the Lecture time.

      1. Barbarann I so agree with your thoughts. this is my 21st year of BSF and the way it was when I began meant we were all COMMITTED to the study.. very disappointed

    1. I don’t think so. We can’t phone our participation in, can we? Need to get up early, get it together and show up prepared to share our week of study, worship with two songs…how is that a Weight?…listen to the lecture, drive home or to whatever is your next obligation. Less than two hours with other Christians mid week. Effort? You bet. For some it is THE ONLY time you can find for Him in your super busy lives. I encourage you to NOT Forfeit this holy bread for your souls. That song: I miss my time with you. Those moments together, I need to be with you each day and it hurts me when you say you’re too busy. Busy trying to serve Me, but how can you serve Me when your spirit’s empty? There’s a longing in My heart, wanting more and more of you…it’s true: I miss My time with you. My special time with You.

      1. I read your exchange with Annette about prior Romans lessons. After my husband passed away I saved his completed lessons and will dig them out. I am technology challenged and couldnt figure out how to contact Annette.

    2. Some of these changes I have not heard about, but it would make since if they are only trying it in selected classes. But, I’ve wondered myself, how is BSF going to appeal to the millennials because they have an extra 10-20 min in their day to do what? If God isn’t a priority to them – these changes won’t make a difference. It was this study’s intensity and challenges that transformed my life. I read Miss Johnson’s “Created for Commitment” and was so deeply honored to know that when I was just 3 years old she was creating something I would benefit from 62 years later. I am amazed and grateful to God for the work He continues to do in my life through BSF (which proves you’re never too old). I’ve been in BSF 22 years and I have seen some positive changes, but this year seems to be going a little beyond.

      1. This is a study of the Word of God…to stretch us, teach us, challenge us and lead to repentance and some to Salvation. The most important part of any study is Reading , meditating , studying and chewing on the word of God , as we meet with Him face to face.
        the BSF questions have been dumbed down , with poor sentence structure that leave one scratching their head saying “what in the world” ( key word world).
        98% of thequestins have ” you” ” your” “i” “share with?..
        Our group breaks down into pairs every other Share question to begin a Share with your neighbor – questions you would not normally share…
        This break down into pairs is uncomfortable , strange and wasting time because this causes Chatter other then study or deepening the passage.
        After pairing with your neighbor ( whom you do not know personally) to get order back it’s like nailing jello to a tree. Re-Focus takes time ….
        It is a good thing that this is only a Pilot Program. I pray/ We pray that BSF International hears our cry….and hires a few mature persons to write the questions and deepen then study and our time in Study in the Word.
        These are observations not anger….having been involved with BSF in the 1980’s and 1990’s the difference is blinding.

  4. This is not the case where I attend BSF. Everything was exactly the same. The biggest change I noticed was with the study of Revelation. The questions changed. There were no challenge questions and the questions were “dumbed down” and didn’t require nearly as much thought or effort as previously. I can now do my entire BSF lesson in about an hour where it used to take about 45 minutes per day. When I questioned that, I was told BSF was now focusing on “feelings” which is why every question has a “how has this affected you?” or “what have you experienced?”. If I wanted to spend that much time talking about my feelings I would do it on a psychiatrist’s couch. I don’t know about you, but I wanted to learn about the Bible, not constantly discuss my feelings. The only reason I go to BSF now is for the notes. They are still exceptional.

    1. I agree with MF Holt. Too many of the questions center on what I feel instead of what God is saying. I do appreciate the structure of the study because I personally get a lot out of it. I generally ignore the duplicate questions and the ones that as me how I feel about this or that and focus on what God is telling me..

      1. I fill up the blanks of a feelings question with a continuation of Scripture. I want God’s word pressed on my heart so that I will not sin against Him. How can I reflect Christ if the very Word of God is not deeply planted in my heart, soul, mind, and strength? The new focus on transformation over information seems illogically reasoned. I know the board prays but humans make mistakes. Eliminating praise with our voices, forcing more “chatter” instead of hymn time, and repetitive questions lead to more pick and choose belief systems because of ignorance of God’s Holy Word. If people don’t have time to sing, don’t have time to answer questions, don’t have time to stay for lecture, why in the world would substituting 10 or 15 minutes of “warm chatter” contribute “new friends” to people too busy for God? Young people under the staggering burden of $40,000 in student loans aren’t going to be donating to parachurch groups like Bible Study Fellowship. I have friends. What I don’t have is an intellectually, spiritually challenging study at my church. I serve. I teach. I always felt and believed that BSF was to intellectually and spiritually train and prepare and sustain LEADERS to go out and serve in the homes, churches, and communities taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we aren’t training deeply in God’s Word and we aren’t intellectually preparing to engage antheists, agnostics and the fallen away and we’re not helping spiritually sustain and fill the wells of LEADERS, then what are we doing? Replicating dozens of other pablum programs that colleges and churches are already full of where weak, ignorant rotating teams take a turn leading a few times a year and programs shut down in the summer? I could go on in negativity but the days where pews were full to the back row of dedicated Bible scholars capable of teaching and leading the young and old and willing to commit every Sunday for years are over. Bible Study Fellowship filled that gap. Its high standards assured a pastor that a man or woman educated by BSF was ready to assume church responsibilities with humble maturity and full of God’s grace. I’m sad. I’m not quitting because I’m not a quitter. But the dumbing down of group time with feel good, forced fellowship and the elimination of praising God from hymnals because too many TLs discouraged musicians from stepping up to lead with joy and enthusiasm led to comments like those above self-deprecating their praise time to a Holy God. King David weeps. I want to enter into sacred space and with the chorus of God’s people raise our voices in praise. I want to decompress from the world, not listen to an endless litany of work and health woes being shared third and fourth hand that could be sent via Messenger, text, or email. I want to praise the name of Jesus, share and HEAR how God spoke through His Scripture from others who studied His Word all week, and hear a lecture on the Scripture that challenges me in my service and shares deeper historical and spiritual insights with me. Christianity didn’t just start with the Great Awakening or the Reformation or Counter Reformation! Wake up, Church.

      1. I agree with MF Holt, Marty and Risa concerning “Feelings”. Feeling can lead you astray. I want the nugget of gold in the scripture that leads to a deeper understanding of God’s Word. BSF does not bring me closer to the Lord because He is already closer than a brother but the study makes me understand the awesome responsibility we have as Christians in sharing the Gospel. If we are not careful, pride can enter into our FEELINGS. If the Lord tells me to share with someone, I tell them that God wants me to share with them. For instance, while having breakfast at McDonalds a few weeks ago, I needed to use the men’s room and on my way back to the mens room, I passed a man who was kinda unkept and the Lord told me in my spirit to give him some money. As I returned to my seat, I told him that God told me to give you this and handed him $5. The way that man looked at me with tears in his eyes, not saying a word but we connected. Now, here for me is where the feelings amount to something. I do not know what was going on in this man’s life but God knows and I am just thankful that the Lord was able to use me in this manner. ——– I can share many more times that God has spoken to me in like manner but not here. I can say, when you have taught your spirit to hear the voice of God, it simply makes your FAITH grow and not feelings.
        God Bless you all and God Bless President Trump!!!!!

    2. I agree with the dumbing down of questions. With more churches doing away with Sunday School, this was one of the few studies you could dig into the word and really learn through the Holy Spirit. Not much meat left in BFS lessons.

    3. I agree. If I wanted to know feelings, I would do it some other time. I go to Bible Study and not Chit Chat study.

    4. I’m not following what you are saying. If “This is not the case where I attend BSF. Everything is exactly the same” – then the questions should continue to have “challenge” and “personal” (as opposed to opinionated) questions sprinkled throughout the lesson as they once did. You seem to be describing what everyone else is finding true. So, I am wondering what do you mean – exactly the same as what? (And please know I’m not asking this to be critical – I am just wondering what class is possibly staying the same as we all once were.). I totally agree feeling should have nothing to do with this study. If we went off our feelings we wouldn’t be depending on God at all…

      1. I think that he was saying that the schedule of his meetings had not changed for him as they had for some of us – reduced times for classes, worship time eliminated, etc. He was referring to the questions on the lessons – instead of discussing the meat of the scriptures they are asking us about our feelings. Many of us think that our feeling don’t matter, it’s what God says that matter. Just my thoughts …

    5. I would disagree respectfully that BSF is now focusing on feelings. BSF’s focus is on Application of the material you are learning to your own life, which is one purpose of scripture: to change us/transform us internally. It is not about “feelings” but about maturing in Christ. I have seen these changes to be mostly very positive ones in the Satellite group I am a part of. I am thankful for them, the lessons actually can drive you deeper into God’s word and the work the Holy Spirit is doing in your life…if you are willing. I have been involved in BSF since 2003 and yes, seen many changes. I have looked over my old Romans questions from 11 years ago (or close) and I have to see, I don’t see the questions as less challenging, but more so. They are less “academic” in nature, but that is good, sometimes my lessons felt more like an academic exercise than a life changing encounter with God. Change is hard, I agree. But these changes are for the better in my view and I appreciate them. It is easy to be critical, harder to pray for that situation and be willing and flexible to learn new ways of doing things. I say all of this with the utmost of respect for all of you.

    6. Yes! Than you ! I long for the more challenging format . I talked my husband into doing the questions with me this year only to be disappointed and kind of embarrassed at the dumbed down questions .

  5. If it gets the younger guys to come I’m all for it plus being in a men’s night BSF class it gets the kids home 30 minutes sooner

  6. I personally love it. We never had but a handful at opening and most of the time our ladies didn’t stay for lecture because it’s too long of a day. I really believe this will help moms with kids maybe can get to class on time and not feel so rushed. I’m excited about the changes.

  7. We had our first class for Romans this week. I did not hear about any of these changes. 🤷‍♀️The only change they mentioned was how the questions have changed to make them more applicable to the individual instead of reading content. Personally this is more difficult for me. I felt I learned more when I could answer questions about what I had read. Our admin team is very organized and structured and classes go smoothly and on time. Ours is a ladies only morning class.

  8. I think the changes is great so many ladies have a hard time getting to BSF because their children’s school time. Also, there is so many that needs to leave early. Hopeful this will enable more ladies to come to BSF.

    Have a Wonderful Blessed Day. Moe Ms. Moszella Bishop

  9. Very pleased with the changes. Songs – singing many that most do not know and why do we have to sing all verses….many 4-6 in length.

    1. Amen to you reply. Why all of the verses to the hymns. I go to MORNING bsf and it’s usually pretty empty. I believe this new format will work.

  10. We had no changes at all in Virginia. We had opening fellowship with hymns, followed by class and all questions and lasted 2 hours…same as always.

    1. We were told in Boulder, CO that the new changes take effect in the next couple of weeks. We had the same schedule the first week also.

  11. I’m disappointed with the change… I look forward to the time I have in the class, so cutting it by 1/2 hour feels rushed. I also enjoy doing the entire lesson. It’s my time to share with the Lord and how He’s working in my life. BSF has been a critical part of my growth through these lessons! I also love the hymns, especially since we sing contemporary style worship in my church. It helped me to learn and appreciate the music. I have to admit though, I don’t always make the opening worship since it’s early in the morning, after dropping my son off at school. I was saved in 2012, so BSF has been instrumental in my life. These changes seem to alter what I looked forward to each year since I began.

  12. This is very discouraging. I always look forward to the song worship. Thank you for what you do. I enjoy reading your insights.



    1. I’m a single dad with two daughters and it was going to be questionable to if my girls were going to be able to even go because of the original schedule, but because of the changes we are all going to get to attend.

    2. I really am surprised. The Bible holds an entire book on singing to the Lord, singing about the Lord, assembling choirs, for same,, many written by God’s declared favorite, King David. Many songs sung in Christian churches across the whole world are scripture set to music. It is the prime form of worship, purposed to express joy, a platform for prayer, an instrument for comfort, solace, lament, and a commonality with others in that worship. Great talent is not the goal. Command of breath, great pipes, and desire to join together in song has nothing to do with having a great singing voice for hymns. It is only about worship in a specific form. I think it safe to say with conviction: God does not care if you sing flat.

  13. I am very happy not to sing the opening songs. As others have commented, many of us did not know them and singing all the verses seemed unduly lengthy. There really didn’t seem much purpose to the opening except for administrative issues which can be handled in the closing.

  14. I personally miss the opening because it gave me time to settle from the rush and refocus (and I love hymns as well praise songs.) I wish more would have realized that purpose of the opening rather than seeing it as a time consuming routine. HOWEVER, I support BSF in their changes. I know they carefully consider, pray about everything and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in accomplishing their mission and vision. AND it’s not about me – it’s about God and His Kingdom.The shorter format is super for the evening classes for reasons others have mentioned. Can’t answer about the flex questions; it’s the first I heard about it and haven’t experienced it.

  15. Those of us in Florida have not had our first class yet. However, we are shortening our class to 1 hour and 35 minutes. Skipping the opening after September, but will still sing a hymn before the lecture. Instead of the opening, there is connection time in the group. I am praying that women will love it and more will come–especially those with little children. Our class is a day class.

  16. Will continue to do all the questions–no flex in our class. Flex is for other classes–especially like those geared toward the college age, etc.

    1. Good Morning Paulletta , I, too, am in Fl …we are part of the pilot test with Flex, no singing, skipping questions and ending early. Very sad. 🙁

  17. I think you will have more staying for the lecture now as working folks would leave. I like the Praying with your group and think the whole thing will be better in the long run.Not sure about the flex question as I truly enjoy talking about each question and hearing others ideas. Thanks for your insights, I love reading them. God be with you.

  18. Since our BSF meets in the evening, the shorter session makes it easier for those who bring children with them. I think we still sing 1 hymn before the lecture, but I did like starting with hymns.

  19. I don’t see the rationale behind the changes. Too many accommodations are being made for those who are irresponsible. It’s thread all though our society. Where are our stands? I think the devil is behind this. Why only do just six questions. Are the others not as important. We are studying God’s word. There are no shortcuts.

    1. I agree with Fran. The singing at the Intro is WORSHIP and that is what we are to do. Worship God. Too many accommodations result in a weak lesson overall. God doesn’t have shortcuts and neither should we.

    2. I agree with Fran Rouse. I have attended numerous Bible studies and have found BSF to be the most in-depth….the best by far. If you do your lesson as intended, you read, study, dig through your Bible for answers, learn and draw closer to God. I have attended as a class member for many years and also as a leader. Miss Johnson (founder) would be stunned by these accommodations. She originally agreed to begin this Bible study only if the participants agreed to receive biblical meat NOT milk. We all get out of this what we put in. I say leave it alone. I’ve had seasons (illness) where getting everything done was a real challenge. I attended anyway when my lesson wasn’t quite “up to par”. I still benefited greatly by being there for the lecture and hearing what God had shown the the other women in my class. I would venture a guess that the folks complaining about the night class might not fuss if they were attending a sports event and it took the same or more of their time. God deserves our best, our most…..with praise and thanksgiving, not whining.

      1. I agree with the other ladies, why are we always cutting God short? He deserves our best and our all, not just what little we choose to give Him.

      2. I read through this whole thread with dismay at the all too common theme: could you hurry this up? I’m too busy. Shorten the lecture. Skip the songs. Really?? BSF is not your cliff notes. Not a quick bite of God’s Word for nourishment. It is intentionally demanding. And no, don’t do just 6 questions. Do them all. Making time with God deepens your relationship with Him. No. You can’t just phone it in. He waits for You. He never offers half a loaf. He wants you full time. He knows your treadmill. His message does not change: CHOOSE ME. Folks, that is where your rest is. Every day you get 24 hours. Take one for just you and God. Do that and the other 23 will go better.

      3. Just to play devil’s advocate (cause I agree with you), God would rather have half of you than none of you. He’d rather have 1 1/2 hr with Him than nothing. And if that’s what it takes for people to come to Jesus, then so be it! 6 questions is better than no questions. For new believers, BSF is hard! I remember being overwhelmed in the beginning.

        Remember, small seeds grow great oaks. Small steps lead to great leaps. You have to start somewhere. And I think that’s what BSF is after. The “somewhere”. The hook that reels you in so you will be in the Whole Way!

      4. I appreciate that point of view, but I think God wants more than half hearted commitment. I think He is a pursuing God who searches high and low for His lost lambs nonstop.

        I think you can deny Him, but you can’t escape Him. He wants you for His own, for eternity. He never gives up, even when you flee from Him. He keeps coming. He is the God of second chances. He loves you to distraction. He is the God of your Beginning, and the God of your ending. He is the God who waits for your return, Who will meet you in the road with arms wide open, your pardon on His lips, to bring you home.

      5. I completely agree!! Meat not milk. It is so sad what has happened to this once wonderful study. I have been in BSF for 15 years and don’t know if I can continue with this study. I have already started doing Community Bible Study and feel I may leave BSF. It breaks my heart because it has been a part of my life for so long. I don’t understand all the changes. Why not have split groups? Groups for those who want meat and groups for those who want feelings but attend the same lecture.

    3. If I failed to say it before, and I might have, I am in full agreement with you. I’m way too old for pablum and doubt I will complete this year’s study. As a youngster, eons ago, I taught all of Paul’s letters,, using Barclay. So I suppose I have reason for expecting more than it seems BSF is prepared to provide. Very sad. It used to set a higher standard.

    4. I agree. Too much accommodation in an effort to draw the younger ones in. Sad, it’s the older women who give their time and money. The younger ones just grab a lesson and go.

      1. Not all of us young ones I am a mom of 6 and loved the life of Moses and the challenge and depth and the hymns. I am considering giving up this year because of the feelings focus and lack of depth. I am 33

  20. I’m all for the new changes. We’re still doing all the questions in Boulder, CO. I pray this helps bring some of the younger guys to BSF. Also our kids program hardly has any kids in it. Getting the kids home earlier on a school night could help grow the attendance with them also.

  21. In Oklahoma, day class, there are two class sessions with the first starting at 9:15, followed by lecture including singing one song. The second session starts immediately after lecture. This
    schedule allows 200 more women to attend Bible study.

  22. Our Leader always chooses hymns that relate to the lesson. They are, of course, the old hymns. It is the only time I get to sing the old hymns. Churches now want to sing “modern” songs. I started paying more attention to the verses of the old hymns since BSF. PLEASE, BSF, don’t try to become politically correct or lazy. It will be the downfall of BSF. All we want is to learn about Jesus and our salvation.

  23. Never enjoyed the morning worship… we all sounded so pitiful…I always skipped this part and went straight to my classroom. and we sing one as we begin the lecture time. Its ALL good to me!

  24. I agree with 2star24. my men’s group still starts at the same time, but no large group assembly and no 2 hymns. we spend longer in the men’s group and like most mens’ groups, we don’t share like the ladies, so i would rather have kept the two hymns. lecture is now 5 minutes shorter, and i am old school (really old school), but i think the teaching of the gospel should not be shoe horned into schedules. either you are serious about studying or not. while i, too, pray on getting more people into Bible study, 30 minutes a week isn’t really going to make a difference. i am afraid that we are becoming IN the world and a little too much OF it.

    1. Jim, I so agree. If BSF becomes like other available studies, i’ll choose one closer to home and skip the long drive. I believe the Founder would be very disappointed with the push to accommodate the time schedules and the focus on feelings. How about focus on Scripture?

  25. I don’t want to seem completely negative, but I don’t like the changes at all!

    This is my son’s first year going with me and he won’t get to have intergenerational opening or hear any hymns. I will really miss the hymns. Some were so perfect and just what I needed to hear. We were told its to help condense BSF for young children like my son, but honestly how late we get out (9pm prior to changes)wasn’t really a concern.

    Another thing I am really disappointed about is how short lecture will be. I love lecture. I am a student at heart and love learning every tidbit about the passages we are studying. I can’t even imagine how our teaching leader is going to pull off going over entire lessons in 30 minutes. I almost wish group was shortened slightly to give more time to lecture.

    And as to focusing on a select few questions, well that is just rubbish! The point of BSF is to do your lesson and commit or don’t go! I though it was for women who were serious, and needed or loved the structure. I thought we did our lessons so we could contribute and have genuine discussion. But, I guess this kind of ties in with a lot of the lessons becoming fluff. I’m so tired of so many questions about my feelings on everything! Sometimes your feelings don’t matter, and why is everything always about feelings? I noticed lessons becoming more fluff and a million feeling questions when the Revelation study rolled around. That one was a big dissappointment, and I felt we were too worried about feelings and offending people, but if you are a Christian then what is so offensive about God’s word?

    I guess I’m tired of everything becoming wishy washy to accommodate people who aren’t willing or dedicated to work or are too delicate to handle what the Bible says. Why do we have to cater to everyone and make it easier? I loved the time I got at BSF, the structure and how it weeded out the people who weren’t serious about it. I don’t want a social club, I want a seriously study of the Bible with other women.

    Whew got that off my chest!

    1. I agree, We need the worship to get our hearts and minds on the lesson and lecture. I also feel the questions are not in depth as they should be. I miss the challenge questions.

    2. Thank you for summing up just what I think about these changes. I am desperate for depth in a Bible Study. BSF has met that need in the past. I am so sad that it is going the way of the world. Feelings, fluff and shallow.

    3. I agree with every point you made. BSF requires serious commitment to study. Not a duty, but a Study. It is demanding.if finding time to study is too difficult, perhaps you miss the benefit. It must be a priority. I marvel at young moms with infants and toddlers who week after week get there on time, their study prepared and ready to share. I marvel at the well seasoned white hair women who show up every week with their deep wisdom and hearts for God’s Word, their eyes sparkling with joy in Jesus willingly shared. And for some, all their bones aching. Most of us are way too busy, often weighted down with huge responsibility, barely fitting in this special time to come together for worship. Please don’t water down BSF. Prioritize it. God calls us to Him. Bring your heart and your time to Jesus’ feet.

    4. If I failed to say it before, and I might have, I am in full agreement with you. I’m way too old for pablum and doubt I will complete this year’s study. As a youngster, eons ago, I taught all of Paul’s letters,, using Barclay. So I suppose I have reason for expecting more than it seems BSF is prepared to provide. Very sad. It used to set a higher standard.

  26. i would not learn as I do now if you didn’t give me ALL the questions to answer. You learn by looking them up.

    No hymns? That is almost sacreligious. Most mornings singing those hymns opens my heart to hear the Word.

    Just put the notes on for people who missed it.

  27. I am surprised to hear this, as this didn’t happen in my class at all. Everything was the same, except because of it being the first day of class, we only sang one hymn instead of two. I wouldn’t like these changes at all. ☹️

  28. I truly miss the hymns and hearing all of the beautiful voices God gave us. This was a time for me to praise God and meditate. I have made a lot of new friends attending BSF, but with no opening, I no longer get to visit with them. Needless to say, I like the old way better.

  29. Ours hasn’t started yet, since we are in Florida and all had msjor impact with hurricane. What uou are saying, if that is what we all are doing, I will not like that at all. The singing of the hymns was my favorite part. 😟

  30. OMG! I’m in the Houston area and our BSF classes has been delayed due to Hurricane Harvey. I’m going to miss the praise time before class for me it sets the tone for class. I also love hearing everyone’s answer to all the questions, this will be a big change. I’m not sure I understand why cut the time down that we are spending in His Word.

    1. Would be laughable except for how serious and I am dead positive God is not laughing.
      Let me be clear about what is loud and clear:
      Shorten praise time. Do just 6 questions of the study notes. Forget about 12, for some are repetetive. You who think that might think about why. Shorten the lecture time. Increase the social time.
      Let me assure you. Adopt that scenario and virtually ALL available Bible studies everywhere will be more attractive than the gutted BSF.
      BSF is not a social gathering of Christian women. It is a STUDY by definition. My group understands that. We do our study, answer ALL the questions and share right up to the last minute before lecture. That is our fellowship. Personally I have lost nothing. But reducing BSF to pap will guarantee it’s demise. Then i, too, will have lost something of great value, an intimacy with other Christian women fervently seeking God together in what has been a fabulous instrument for building faith. I am truly blessed, for there are towering women of phenomenal faith walking hand in hand with Jesus on this journey we take together. They teach me, touch me with their faith histories. They sought me out when cancer was my assailant to tell me about God alive and walking along side when it was them. They prayed with me, showing me their sustaining faith.

      I think I have little else to say on this…heh..I think I hear sighs of relief. You have indulged me gently, and I am so appreciative. Pray without ceasing, for this treasure we have is in some jeopardy.

      1. We are on the same page here..I took all 4 of my grandsons to BSF one year 2 and I was always on time for the opening…what a gift to me! A commitment that I gladly made so not sure why it’s necessary for the next generation..

  31. One of the Fort Worth BSF groups did away with the opening a few years ago. I like it. A lot of the ladies only show up in time for the small group classes anyway and then go on to the lecture so it doesn’t bother me at all. My group does, however, have one hymn right before the lecture begins.

  32. I am for the changes, although we will be singing praise songs when we return from our group studies. Seems to me they are reaching out to the young folks and we need them to be a part of the Body for they will be carrying on when we finish our work on this earth.

  33. Hello, I am an AL in the DFW area. I think the ideas are good. Some of the change was geared around the children as they were getting home too late on school days. Sometimes we wouldn’t get out of the building until after 9:00PM. In the men’s group I attend, we don’t do the Flex questions but feel that is a great idea.
    I believe BSF leadership can now see the focus needs to be on the millennials, gen x and gen y. Most of the GL’s in my class are 55 and over. This year we picked up a couple of under 40 GL’s.
    BSF is more widely using social media as well. While we had about 483 men enrolled coming into the first night, the welcome brought an additional 65 men making it 551 enrolled. I attribute some of this to social media. We are also piloting the virtual class which is also another avenue for those in distant places. While we only had a few the first time, one man was virtual from Mongolia. God is awesome and any opportunity to share the gospel should be considered. Be Blessed!

  34. It is a change. We still have hymns. We were given two weeks at the old schedule before we jumped into the new schedule. I understand the reason and like the approach. I do not agree since the men in my group liked the opening with a song ——

  35. We have started our group in South Carolina and it is as always. We have opening as usual and hymns also. That is what makes a wonderful beginning. Sorry to hear yours has changed.

  36. A newcomer arrived at BSF the same time I did. I showed her where the sanctuary was. She looked in saw all those women and couldn’t believe her eyes…all those women there to learn about the Lord. I had the same experience 7 years ago. It was such an encouragement to me.
    For working people and kids the shorter time and earlier start should be better. Answering fewer questions along with deleting the pre-worship part to me is going in the direction of watering down the study. If the questions aren’t important to our learning, understanding and application maybe they shouldn’t be included.
    I pray that through the study of Romans the Lord works in and through bringing me into His will and service.

  37. I was volunteering in children’s so I wasn’t aware of these changes until I listened to the lecture. WOW!. I have been attending BSF for 20+ years and these changes are BIG.
    Do I like them? Mixed feelings. I don’t like singing hymns ad nauseam, but I like some of the old standards. I like a mix of songs. Church services have already made this change. This is just adapting to familiar worship trends.
    No opening? I liked that time to meet with my friends that are not in my group. I bring grand-kids so after classI have to scoot. Our opening was sparsely attended though. It did give you an opportunity to be a little *late* and still get the full discussion. I remember when we met for the opening in a pew designated with our groups. As a group leader during that time, I had time to connect outside the discussion with some of our members.
    We are going to have one *Flex Group* that has less questions. Can’t you just answer the ones you want to in your regular group? What will the rest of the time be used for? What if you just don’t connect with those questions? I think some of the questions have been repetitive in the last few years. They have taken away the Personal and Challenge questions which were options to skip or not answer. i thought that was a safety net for some. I don’t know if it has been my recent leaders or a formal change, but ours tell us we don’t have to have a written answer to respond.
    This is probably the main thing that attracted me to BSF so many years ago… the accountability and responsibility. I’ve been in so many studies that people were too busy to complete. It makes such a difference in the group discussion.
    Now.. our lecture can be mind numbing. I was delighted to hear that was shorter. I’ve had 3 leaders in my BSF years and the lecture can be tiring.
    A shorter time is certainly a plus for the night class. I’ve never attended at night, but cannot imagine doing that after a day at work.
    My main motivation for attending now is to take the grand-kids. It does keep me connected to a daily walk with God.

  38. I attend a morning group in the San Francisco Bay Area. Like you, we’ll no longer have the first 20 minutes that had included announcements, 2 hymns and a prayer. We’ll start with our small groups. However, we did have one hymn before the lecture.

    No one mentioned flex questions. That would be disappointing because hearing everyone’s answers has always been my favorite part–the Lord teaches in more than one way.

  39. I love the changes because there will be more fellowship in Bible Study Fellowship. There is a song sung before our lecture.

  40. I’m a millennial so I’m their target audience for these changes. My response? Nope! I am not a fan, and not just because I dislike change. I think as a whole churches have gotten to seeker sensitive and worried about making it flashy and interesting and convenient to fit within the world’s lifestyle. Isn’t that the opposite of how the Bible tells us to be? God directs us to be set apart. I liked that BSF was set apart. It was meaty, focused, and uncompromising in it’s purpose of studying the word. I’m a mom of 2 young children whom I homeschool, my husband is gone more often than not and I have still be able to get my lessons done. It’s about prioritizing them! I think these changes are taking BSF down a very, very slippery slope of compromising it’s primary goal. I understand the importance of not clinging to tradition for tradition’s sake, however I think we’re starting to see the pendulum swinging too far the other way. I’m disappointed.

    1. WOW. Spot on! I sure hope the upper echelons read your post. Trying to please everyone, to meet the needs of everyone is a recipe for failure. It is impossible. Serve God. The rest will take care of itself.

      1. I hope they read this as well because here we can all be honest and provide honest feedback without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings. Thanks for your heartfelt comments!!!

      2. Yes if BSF changes to fit the culture then it will have to keep changing as the culture will continue to change. I truly appreciate a millennial sharing her thoughts. We are to be set apart, committed to our Lord who is our number one priority.

      3. Thank you. A big part of the BSF program is its consistancy of focus. Until Revelation when I assessed the reluctance of leadership to declare. To decipher. To interpret like they would for any other book. I was so disappointed. It was a preamble for this year’s
        Approach. I just think Ms. Johnson never had watering down the study to comply with everyone’s time constraints to increase attendance her purpose. Digging is what she required. Numbers, not so much.

      4. I agree with you 100%, but I’m guessing BSF has no choice, but to bend to the ways of this society. If BSF doesn’t figure out how to draw in a younger crowd, BSF will cease to exist. Find a young neighbor or friend and bring them!!

      5. Thanks for your very astute response, Karrie. I have had numerous years of BSF challenge to dig deep into scripture. Christ called me as a child of four, in a Christian orphanage, to listen carefully as my matrons read His Word. Blessed were the days I could read scripture for myself, to seek and to find Him. Never was I prodigal. I understand my blessing and my privilege. So I would grieve for my sisters in Christ to be given BSF lite on the premise that they will have less time for God. I pray I have this wrong.

      6. Dumbing down the material will leave BSF equivalent to most other offerings. Then I will no longer have need to drive a distance. I can get pablum anywhere.

    2. Well said, E. spoon feeding has never been the style of BSF. It really is true: the more effort you put in, the more you get out. Ms. Johnson would surely be unhappy with watering down the need to dig through that guidebook for finding Him in the blessed work of the anointed writers.

  41. I attend BSF in Daphne, AL, and our meeting format has changed. Previously, I enjoyed the songs to begin the evening as it prepares our minds and hearts for the evening. I will miss the hymns!

  42. I am amazed to read this. I attend BSF in Phoenix, AZ and our meetings have not changed! I would like to add, I so value atozmom. Thank you so much!

  43. You’re right about the end of opening worship time being eliminated, but we will still be having a hymn before the lecture.

  44. The only thing I didn’t like about the old format was the old hymns. Surely they could have used some updated music. They were always sung in such a high octave that I couldn’t reach and soooo slow. If the new format brings more people in, I’m game to try it. I just don’t want it to become bible study lite. I want a deeper study.

  45. The only change we talked about was no opening session. We’re spending that extra 15 minutes with our group socializing (breakfast, snacks, etc). We still had our one hymn and then lecture like always. Same 2 hours. Maybe the 1.5 hrs is for evening classes.

  46. I was very disappointed when I heard they were shortening our time in BSF. I think that by not having the opening prayer and hymns to sing you are spiting yourself. The opening helps to put you in a worshipping mood, now just going to your classes are going to turn into more of a social interaction. I am willing to try it, but I do have some reservations. I don’t like the idea of shortened questions because that makes me delve more into the word.

    1. I live in Atlanta – BSF was cancelled due to hurricane –Haven’t heard of any changes.coming?? Love BSF as it was last year. Let you know next Wed……

    2. I totally agree, Kathy. I am very disappointed. We need that time of worship and preparing our hearts for the lesson. It won’t be the same.

  47. We are only doing 1.5 hrs but are still answering all questions & still have 40 min for discussion group.

  48. Yes,  I agree, no singing hymns!!!   Hymns bring worship and the right frame of mind in addition It is the only chance  I get.  Our church only plays modern worship songs.Also really no fellowship in the beginning.  Lord forgive me for complaining.   

  49. In Lexington, KY we opened the same way we did last year. Met in the fellowship for hymns and prayer, then went to group, then came back to Fellowship Hall for lecture.

  50. Our group has some of your changes. No fellowship before class and a shortened sermon. But we are still answering all the questions and including them in our group discussion . Are you still going to answer all the question in each lesson? You blog has changed my life and relationship with GOD.

  51. I attend an evening class. We had no changes this past Monday except we only sang one song. No changes have been mentioned. We attend for an hour and 50 minutes. I love the old hymns. I love singing something I know 😄. If any changes develop, I will let you know. I know the day class here will be going straight to their small groups after the first 2 weeks.

  52. I did not learn to appreciate hymns until I began BSF 10 years ago. Listening to and singing hymns calms my mind and heart and prepares me to learn in our small group. I can focus on God more when the rich words of the hymns enter my heart and soul. I don’t sing well but I still lift my voice in praise to Jesus Christ anyway. I don’t think BSF should have dropped the hymns. I also dislike the fact that we might not answer all the questions. Once in a while I’m stuck and leave an answer blank. Other’s answers help me to understand and learn. I do nit agree with any of the changes. We should not sacrifice quality for quantity. It’s only two hours. What will you really be gaining by sacrificing 30 extra minutes with God.

    1. I think Risa has it exactly. When the goal is purposed to save time what gets sacrificed? Time with God. We are at BSF TO BE with Him. In the place where we can put the world aside for our time with Him and our brothers/.sisters in Christ. To prioritize our Lord. There is a song called I Miss My Time With You. “Those moments together, and it hurts Me when you say you’re too busy.. busy trying to serve Me, but how can you serve Me when your spirit’s empty and the longing in your heart wanting more and more of you,” … see, don’t you, that trying to fit BSF in to your world leaves you with half a loaf. You deserve more, but to have it you must choose it. I read through all of these heart cries. Jesus said Choose Me. And you did. Don’t compromise. Pray fervently to make a way with Him. See,because He is the prize.

    2. Exactly, what is “two hours” of our lives? I agree with Risa. Out of the mere couple hours (literally 2 hours) we give to God at BSF, are we now diluting our praise time to Him in order for us to “rush off”? What is so important that we cannot spare 2 hours out of 7 days x 24 hours?

      1. Oh, AMEN and AMEN!
        If we’re not careful, BSF will go the way of M Tv…There is no more M (Music, if you’ve forgotten 😉 ) in M Tv and there may be no more B, S, or F in BSF if they keep on this trajectory. B & F are already waining.

      2. Too busy for BSF? Too busy for God? There are very few really good Bible studies available. They are very demanding, require a lot of study time and they hold high reward for the dilligent seeker. No excuses are accepted for not showing, not doing assignnents, not contributing. Study is the purpose. For BSF to lower it’s own standard, ie Ms. JOHNSON BASIC, will destroy the study. The very thing it set about to do successfully will gut it and it will go the way of other strivers. Bottom line: YOU GOTTA WANNA.

      3. Is management that out of touch with its own anointed work? We can now effectively call BSF “too busy for God.” And justifying it besides. For numbers? That is,surely, the work of the devil I have avoided exactly this kind of sop to the Savior for years. I don’t see myself submitting to that now.

  53. I love love the changes.. If makes more sense .. It’s not such a hardship At night classes it’s too dark to come home after 9 o’clock .. they streamlined it it’s more fit now .. I was always hoping they would do that and God answered prayer.. Thank you . I sure am happy about the change..

  54. Regarding the changes: I was aware of shortened time but not that we won’t be singing hymns any longer. I know people live in an ever increasing busy world, but when we need to take time away from worshiping and learning more about God I have some real concerns. And if people don’t complete their lessons that is their issue with time management. Again, to take time away from studying God’s Word seems to me to be shorting God on the time commitment we extend to Him. Shame on us. Nancy Ericson


  55. We had the same changes except for picking 6 questions. I have mixed feelings about the no hymn. Love getting out early and I’m like everyone else more on my plate than I can handle. However, BSF was and will continue to be a time of growing in the word, the hymns added a special time of worship. Have a great year and may we all grow in serving and bringing others to know Him.

  56. I am not happy with the changes. I feel that the worship with hymns is vital to my own experience. It is as if we have decided to leave off the prayer time. That is how important music is to my worship. Our churches have eliminated the Hymnal and have huge screens without the music score….a sad situation. This generation are not learning hymns and the four verses tell of the love of Jesus, just as a story would….usually straight from the scripture.

    1. When what we’re doing seems like skimming, it is because we’re skimming. When we arrive at BSF already calculating how soon we can leave, why did we bother to come? Singing hymns is an integral part of worship. Even a casual reading of Psalms shows you the purpose. Who gets cheated? We do. At BSF we sit at Jesus’ feet. Immerse yourself in what BSF has for you. It’s not half a loaf, but a full, sustaining meal. Here is the catch: the spoon is given to you. Dig in and eat. BSF has prepared your meal. Your work is to consume it. Feed on His Bread for your spiritual growth. Yes, and sing the glory of His Name at work in you.

      1. Think it sounds bad to the Lord, do you? Please define that admonition from scripture that says “MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO THE LORD”.

  57. We have no opening hymm.
    Straight from the street to the class.
    We answer all the questions. Class length still the same so far. Half hour lecture.
    Reason for change was “We want to reach the younger generation”.

    1. Require that younger generation to man up! Don’t shortchange them! You want the great reward? Do the great work. Our God is demanding and jealous. Scripture says put on the armor of God. Armor is for battle, not for picnics. Does anyone remember David? God’s poet warrior? When did BSF come to cheesy softness to claim numbers? Where is the abandoned challenge to digging deeper? You get out what you put in. BSF helps develop spiritual muscle.

  58. It appears that most of the remarks favoring the changes come from men that meet at night. I do miss the more scripture-related questions but not so much the music. It’s nice to be home by 830 instead of 930. Perhaps if I met during the day I wouldn’t mind the extra time, but since I’m a guy and the only option for me is at night, I like the changes.

  59. I came to BSF years ago knowing nothing about the Bible, not knowing the songs, but understanding that it would require time and serious commitment. Now thank God I am saved through Jesus Christ. Learning the beautiful hymns was an unexpected gift, and our monthly fellowships in homes are some of my cherished memories. I am sorry that BSF feels the need to keep taking away from us; in-depth lesson notes, challenging questions that encouraged further study, monthly fellowships in private homes, our hymns, opening gathering for announcements, overall class time, and so on.

      1. Well thank you! I have been in various BSF classes in several states since the 1990’s , and these recent changes seem to take us far away from Miss Johnson’s founding original plan.Sigh

  60. I loved singing a hymn or two before starting our evening, hearing a few announcements and then going to our small group. I will miss that, but it should be okay. The shortened time seems everything is more ‘rushed’, but I am taking a “wait and see” attitude.

  61. As an evening attendee I greatly appreciate the time change to 90 minutes. We did all the questions in group though, not just 6.

  62. Our group in Wisconsin is still singing songs, I love those gospel songs, sets my heart up for our discussions. We’re doing everything the same, thankfully, so I’m a little confused as to how and why the changes are happening elsewhere. My thought is if anyone signs up for BSF they know it’s a year commitment to study the word and meet once a week; 2 hours is not an excessive amount of time to devote to this endeavor. I love BSF, it’s among the best things that has happened in my life. I’m sure those of us who are in it, all feel the same. Thank you Atozmomm for your blog and all the love and devotion you invest in it. I love the extra historical details! God bless you! – Pat

    1. God bless your heart for the Lord, Pat, and for your wisdom and your personal discipline. If Jesus in flesh were here would we give Him less than our undivided attention? He IS here with us! Come before Him in worship and praise for He is worthy, waiting for us to bring our open hearts lifted for filling. He brings us to His word, wanting us present there with Him. In the moment, open and soaking up the fruit of scripture prepared for you by those doing the heavy lifting so that we hear and respond.

  63. It’s probably more helpful to the night classes to go condensed. However, I can’t help shaking the feeling that we are just shortchanging God in doing away with worship. It sets a spiritual tone and prepares our hearts for the Word.

    And if people aren’t doing their homework (such that we have to go Flex to accommodate them), they are shortchanging themselves. Why are we shortchanging everyone?

    I get that systems have to change with the times — but cutting out worship to “attract” younger people, kind of feels like diluting something here.

    1. Amen. How do Christians justify shortchanging God and themselves? How does BSF? Look. I detest getting out of a warm bed, into the car and driving up the road for 20 minutes for half a loaf. I don’t show up to count the minutes until I can leave. That, folks, is shortchanging myself! It is pretty basic: you want to be there or you don’t.

    2. The condensed format is specifically targeted at evening classes; the manual says “consider a condensed evening class format, as time continues to be a major factor in attendance for adults
      and students. A shortened evening on a school night benefits students and registering adults as well as busy class members and leaders.” It’s up to each evening class whether or not to switch to the condensed format. Similarly, the opening session (including hymns) is now optional for day classes.

      I agree that the opening and hymns set the tone for the entire meeting. The best explanation that was given to me is that BSF is a supplement, not a replacement, for church. There’s not a need for everything that happens in church to also happen in BSF. Worship and hymns are not typical in other similar settings, such as other Bible studies or in Sunday school classes.

      For many younger folks or even those who are new to the faith, hymns (especially in the way I’ve seen them sung in multiple classes) are much more of an impediment to worship than they actually are worship. The use of old English, odd words, and awkward unnatural phrases can make it challenging to understand the depth of the words. Rather than letting this be an issue, removing the hymns allows everyone to focus on God’s word and prevents adding an unnecessary distraction just to appease those who don’t want anything to change.

  64. The majority of people dislike change. Period. They like to justify their dislike in a variety of “religious” reasonings.

    I do not care what my personal feelings are about the changes. I support them 1,000 percent if it is what the leadership prayed for and felt the Lord leading. Additionally, if it will bring one new person that might not have wanted to come otherwise, then that is worth it. I am saved. More are not. This program is not about me. This program is about the Lord and growth. If you cannot feel that you are growing because you are not singing hymns, then buy a hymnbook and sing at home to the Lord. God is the final verdict on what is and what is not appropriate moving forward. I bet if the nay sayers would pray for God to continue to guide leadership…HE WILL!

    When my children attended the night program, it was very very difficult to stay until 9:00 pm and drive a long distance home, while still being prepared for school the next day. I think for those people, this is really wonderful. I do believe this will draw many to the children’s night program. When you have elementary kids, 30 minutes is huge at night.

    My college aged daughter attends a young adult class with about 50 attendees. I can assure you, they are all thrilled about these changes.

    Once again….not me, but about the needs of the ones we are trying to reach. BSF wasn’t meant to attend indefinitely. It is to equip you to go out and serve others in your realm of influence, church, neighborhoods, work, etc. May God continue to guide and direct BSF as it makes His Word known to as many as can be reached.

    1. Amen! There are many things about BSF (including recent changes) that I like or dislike, but I know that these changes were not made haphazardly and were all made with prayer and careful consideration.

      1. I used to be confident of this same thing, but one must remember that prayerful doesn’t equate to infallible. A call for BSF to examine itself seems reasonable. They may be just slightly off the mark without realizing it. How? It seems their focus is on “saving BSF” instead of remaining faithful despite the hills and valleys of time and culture.

    2. A lot of great points here. I don’t love all the changes, but II support BSF leadership 100%. I have been in BSF for 12 years and was a leader for the past 5 years. In nationwide leaders retreat a few years back, there was great emphasis on reaching the younger generations. Many see BSF as their mother’s study (not my opinion). And its very difficult to recruit group discussion leaders from the younger participants (under 45 or so). BSF needed to make accommodations or we will all die off and there will be few to carry on this wonderful study. God can and will reach who He wants to reach … these changes won’t stop Him. 😃 For reference, I’m 54 years old.

  65. They have not instituted these changes in my BSF group. The only change is that they have now merged younger & older together so we can learn from each other. Everything else is the same.

    1. I suggested that merge two years ago to my BSF group because IT IS SCRIPTURAL. got shot down because, I was told, the younger women specifically didn’t want it.

      1. I’ve heard from several younger men that they really appreciate being in groups with older men both to get a different perspective on things and to hear from their experience. Similarly, I’ve heard from older men that they like having younger men in their groups because it encourages them that there are still those who want to study God’s word. I think the biggest complaint I’ve heard about mixed ages is some younger folks feel intimidated when they’re around others who know much more than they do. Perhaps that’s why some classes segregate groups by Bible knowledge levels rather than mixing them or separating by ages, but I feel that leads to the same types of issues. BSF leaves a lot of these types of decisions to the individual classes, which in this area is unfortunate. I’m thankful that in my class all groups are a mixture (by every category possible: age, Bible knowledge, and even denomination).

  66. As a relative “newbie” to BSF, I don’t mind the changes. While I like singing, I didn’t like singing ALL the verses of the “Old” songs – many of the songs I’d never heard of as they were never sung in the Catholic church – Getting to BSF at 6:40 is still a bit of a challenge for me but I appreciate the shorter time. Our group still does all of the questions – rather than choosing 6 to focus on…I DO like the fact that the Notes are now on the website as that was VERY helpful especially when I was out of town without a BSF to attend (just doing the questions without the additional insight was hard.) I’m happy to be reading God’s word and to AtoZMom, thank you for the historical insights! I LOVE them!! God Bless you All.

  67. Just finished lesson 2 for tonight. Have not given much thought as to cutting down on time and structure of the evening but now have a real burdened impression as to where possibly BSF is headed. I have noticed for the past couple of years, really nuggets of truth in the Bible are “kinda” skirted around because possibly the verses do not agree with what they have been taught. Because quite possibly they do not agree, we CAN”T pick and choose what we agree with!!!!!! I was asked in class some time ago that did I really believed that The Gifts of The Spirit were for us today. DUH!!!!! There is nothing outdated in the Bible. The entire Bible is relevant!!!! My question to our gab session here is just why did Jesus lay hands on the sick and they recovered? I truly believe He loved these people but mainly to get the attention of the crowd. Once Jesus had their attention, he was able to share with them. In John 14:12-14 tells us that greater works shall we do as the Father is glorified. If some of you fellow readers do not agree with my comments, please keep loving me and simply pray for me that God will reveal his correct Word in my heart. I am really having a difficult time accepting BSF picking and choosing our dumbed down questions. I personally would love to have longer class sessions and much shorter lecture time.

    I am kinda fearful to post this little note. But, I truly believe what is said is correct.

    1. When what we’re doing seems like skimming, it is because we’re skimming. When we arrive at BSF already calculating how soon we can leave, why did we bother to come? Singing hymns is an integral part of worship. Even a casual reading of Psalms shows you the purpose. Who gets cheated? We do. At BSF we sit at Jesus’ feet. Immerse yourself in what BSF has for you. It’s not half a loaf, but a full, sustaining meal. Here is the catch: the spoon is given to you. Dig in and eat. BSF has prepared your meal. Your work is to consume it. Feed on His Bread for your spiritual growth. Yes, and sing the glory of His Name at work in you.

    2. Clinton, please don’t feel your comments are putting you at risk for disapproval. BSF is an open forum hoping for your willingness to share your thoughts. Each of us is a recipient and a contributor as participants in one of the most nourishing Bible based programs in the world.

  68. Our Birmingham, AL daytime ladies group has also changed our times to shorten it overall. I didn’t hear anything about flex questions, though. However, we missed our first meeting due to effects of Hurricane Irma, so last week was our first meeting and was a combined lesson of introduction and lesson 1. Hope they don’t change the way we review the questions because I learn so much from the other ladies thoughts!

  69. I sense that nudging spiritually to voice one more concern because I think there is something a bit backwards. I hope it is not the position of BSF that the attending membership sets the agenda. Is that not the business of the leadership? I appreciate the invitation to input, but not to usurp the authority to determine policy and/or presentation here. I don’t know what is best about that. I’m the student able and willing to dig through scripture about
    How God is speaking, hoping to grasp meaning from nuggets the Holy Spirit has imbedded. Tell me when and where to be. If that is inconvenient for me, i am the one who must make it work. BSF is my guiding hand. I can’t determine schedule or format. That is not harsh or insensitive. Thank every leader who rearranges her schedule to lead your study. Bless them all for their faithfulness. And try telling any teacher or professor you only have time for half your studies and wait for the letter that dismisses you from his class. Look. We do not have a half way God. He is an all in all the time God. The God Who wants all of me all the time.not just part of me some time that is more convenient. No. He says: pick me. Choose me. Every time. All the time. Take it to Him in prayer. He knows our every weakness. Uh oh, that’s a line in one of those hymns we have to sing. Followed by an encouraging one: thou wilt find a solace there.

  70. I very nearly quit BSF this week. It wasn’t over the changes in format but what I find to be a noticeable increase of substantive and exclusionary rhetoric in this year’s notes. Over the past three years I have always felt ever-so-slightly looked down upon as a non-protestant attendee in spite of the non-denominational billing it was given when I was invited to join. There seems to always be at least one passive aggressive jab during lectures and now it has become more prevalent in the written material as well. If the goal is to increase membership why alienate any of the membership (as I know I am not the only one of my “ilk” in attendance)?

    Perhaps I am alone in my perception; I cannot say as it is certainly not something I would bring up during fellowship time. I have since taken the advise from a dear friend, whom I met at BSF, to grab onto that which has value and ignore the rest.

    I wish BSF would concentrate on what makes us the same, a desire to expand our faith and love in Christ, and allow us to leave our differences at the door.

    1. Oh. My. GOSH! Now I won’t get any sleep tonight worrying about you! Go get your notes and read page five. Read and reread until you understand it is not about exclusion but about INCLUSION. Begin at FOR EVERYONE. Get into Paul’s head and then discover his heart. Paul. Killer of Christ followers. Paul. On a holy tear to right his grievous wrongs. I’m trying hard to understand how you got to your perception. The notes don’t say exclusion to me. Can you be specific? Feeling excluded for any reason needs relief. I don’t know where on the globe you are or anything about your group or who you are but I shouldn’t need to. Can you tell me what in the notes makes you feel excluded? Because you are a non-Protestant? I don’t think this is generated by BSF per se, though you surely would if you perceive this posture in the notes. I think you understand what was happening with Paul: there he is, explaining to the Jews that God deems them special and that He has specific work for them: go tell the good news to the Gentiles. WHAT???? Those Jews first didn’t want anything from Paul’s mouth and then, hearing they were first, and special, had zip desire to share it with Gentiles! What a mess! But my concern is not with them, but for you. If you have read my comments on this blog you will know I am not passive in my view of BSF. betting the farm to accommodate any group is necessarily exclusionary in order to be inclusive re whatever group you are wooing and I don’t like that one little bit.

      I want more from you. Have you told your group leader, do you have fellow attendees who feel the same and where will you take how you feel. It can’t stand. BSF should know if anyone feels as you do. I get that you have felt this way for some serious time and that you feel strongly enough to walk away, but not before you run up a flag. Good for you, sister!

      I’m going to suggest to you that you read about this letter so fervently written to the church at Corinth. Huge and active, well heeled and thrilled that Paul wanted to come bad enough to invite himself, and arriving as a prisoner, these Romans were open to this rock star, even if his appearance was a little funny….short, bow legged, sparse red hair, large hooked nose, with a hair raising history. So said Josephus, I think.

      If you want to reply….so I can sleep, you can email me at My name is Barbara and I live in Medina, Ohio, attending the closest BSF to me at Wadsworth. If I have intruded, you can just tell me so. Understand, I have issues myself with BSF, so you are not alone.

      Working blind, I would still encourage you to stick with BSF teaching for this nearly perfect letter from Paul about justification.

      In the meantime I will pray for you and hope you can resolve what is causing you pain.

      To another daughter of the King,

  71. This is my third BSF study. I started with the Life of Moses a few years ago and then Matthew. Perhaps it was the other way around, I don’t remember which came first but I loved them both! I was unable to attend for Revelation and John, and I was so excited to be able to come back to BSF this fall. I truly missed it. We are starting our third week and some of the changes mentioned above have been implemented. There has been no mention of the flex questions or only doing six questions. I’m glad we are doing all of them. I was surprised that the personal and challenge questions were gone and the focus seems to be more on feeling. I tend to be more analytical and struggle with the touchy feel-y type answers but it’s not a bad thing to be pushed out of your comfort zone. I definitely have room for growth there and that’s a good thing, but my concern like many others is that we are not to base our faith and beliefs etc on our feelings. The first study I did with BSF, it was a couple of months before I was able to answer all of the questions on my lesson sheet. What a sense of accomplishment I felt when I was able to do that! I did not always have an answer for all of the questions every week, but the point is not to fill in the blank spaces, it’s to learn more about God and His word. Small group time is wonderful for helping fill in the gaps. We all have so much we can learn from one another. I’m glad our group time has been unchanged.

    The lecture has been cut by 15 minutes so our TL has only 30 minutes to lecture. We are so fortunate to have a wonderful TL and the lectures are always engaging. Those 15 minutes will be missed and I don’t know how she’s going to squeeze it all in!

    We have also eliminated the opening and go straight to our small group. I understand this change. We have over 700 women at our evening class and a lot of time was lost getting everyone out of the sanctuary to the class rooms and then back in. So I understand it is a more efficient use of the time we have. But. I do terribly miss the opening hymns. As others have said, it was a few moments to put aside the rush and stress of the day, settle whatever emotions and thoughts from the day that were swirling around inside, and focus my attention on why I was there – Jesus.

    I did not grow up in the church. I went occasionally when I spent the night the friends, etc., but our family did not attend church. When I got saved as a teenager contemporary Christian music was still relatively new (early 80′) and the churches were still doing the traditional thing. Piano or organ, hymnal, pews. I disliked all of it. I got saved at a youth rally but had no discipleship afterwards and did not fit with the kids that had been in church all their lives. I eventually drifted away from church altogether and by the time I came back in my late twenties I was very happy to find worship music being played by bands with the words on the screens – and no pews!

    When I first started attending BSF I was less than thrilled when I realized we would be signing hymns for our opening worship instead of the worship songs I was used to. At first. However, over the course of that year I was forced to deal with some very difficult things that had happened when I was a teenager and that I had been successful at ignoring and keeping buried for nearly 30 years. When my world came crashing down, it was ironically enough those few moments in the opening signing those hymns that I had always disliked so much that brought be me most comfort. The Lord had led me to a Godly counselor but I had confided in no one else. It was during those opening hymns that I most closely felt His presence and knew that I was not alone. Often I would clutch the hymnal close to my chest, close my eyes and just listen to the voices rise around me. I can’t really describe it or explain it. But that time became so precious to me. I am so disappointed that we will no longer have that time. We sing one hymn after small groups, before the lecture begins but it’s just not the same. It’s rushed to fit it in along with announcements so there’s still time for the lecture.

    So like I said, I completely understand the change and it does save a lot of lost time moving 700+ women around the church, there are other things that are being lost. We will be discussing Lesson 2 questions this evening and this made me think about question 9b – what substitutes for God could we be worshiping or serving? Perhaps we need to add the clock to our list. It seems like we are so concerned with finding every little minute we can “save” in our day that we aren’t noticing all that is being lost in the midst of all that “saving.” What are we saving it for?

    1. Glenda,

      This came up in our discussion group as well. We labeled it as “busy-ness”. We’re so busy running around that we forget we’re supposed to be running INTO God’s arms! This culture is all about distracting us (and with the technology today there’s no short of things to do 24/7). God says NO! Focus on Him. As long as you can. Every day. And His reward will be yours!

  72. Bah, no hymns. I so look forward to those old hymns. Feel o.k. with rest. Don’t understand why we changed. Sue-Ann

    Sent from my iPad

  73. I attend BSF in a suburb of St. Paul, MN. I’m so very disappointed by these changes so much, that I’m thinking about dropping.

    I believe BSF was divinely unique, created thru the Holy Spirit and nurtioned by Ms. Johnson’s faithful hard work and dedication of our Lord Jesus’ Will to have this study put together for us all.

    Sadly, I believe, before our eyes, BSF is floundering in the same mirky waters as today’s society…on-the-go, watered down, texting-style, headline-version fellowship study.

    What disappoints me most are the questions in this year’s study guide. No challenges. No tough questions to stretch our minds and hearts that should lead us thirsting for more of Christ and His Living Word. Bring back the former style questions to make us pause and think while feeling the Holy Spirit’s presence.

    Sitting down in a quiet space where I can be with God is the essence of my bible study. Handing out pop quizzes doesn’t do it for me.

    Thank you so much for this comment section.

    In Him

  74. Do a search on BSF changes and two camps are showing up: 1.People who comment on conveniences with almost no comments that the changes are bringing them closer to God and His Word and 2. People grieving the loss of a serious, challenging study that has grown their love for God’s Word.
    Devotion costs something. King David could have gotten the threshing floor for free, but instead he insisted that it cost him. The Idol of Convenience is injuring the Church and killing BSF.

    1. You totally nailed it! I am totally selfish. I want to keep what feeds me. No watering down. No halfhearted effort. I insist on being all in as I seek to know God better. Deeper. Because, know what? He is all in for me. Doubt that? Well, who is it then, nailed to that cross?

  75. I’m OK with no songs as I sing terrible & didn’t really ever know the old hymns anyway. Didn’t know about focusing on only 6 question!?!?!? Time wise I thought we were only losing 5 minutes overall time. We’re just gaining more time with our groups, which is confusing regarding only discussing 6 questions? Tomorrow will be our first day going straight to our group so I’ll know more after tomorrow, I will have a better idea if I like the changes,

  76. Mixed feeling, it is nice getting to know and spending a little more time with my group, but at the same time I miss the down time before the study to chat with old friends and singing hymns preparing my heart for God’s word which is so important. Maybe we could strive to sing songs that speak to all age groups. Thanks for keeping us posted. I do not have lesson 3. Could you post that again?

  77. So now this study offers little more than most others nearby. That is a serious loss. Revelation left me wondering why BSF feared being definitive. A much lower standard was achieved: let’s make it easier and shorter so more people will come. Pap is offered. It’s too hard. The disappointment indicates we will forfeit the diggers. What we have left is a skim course. No question, it is easier than all those years of deep learning. But that was never the goal, for it to be easy. With minimal worship. Yep. I am shaking my head.

  78. Do not like it at all. Most of the questions are about “I” or “YOU” and we all know the biggest letter in the word sIn is “I”. The focus is pulled away from God, Jesus and deep thought… It is another surface study and not a true Bible study. Back to Precepts we are going … all of us … a group that is

      1. Truly… lol I am glad it spurred you to write .. this thread needs to be seen, heard, reviewed and understood.

  79. This is certainly a hot topic. Many have been waiting to sound off. This is my 7th year in BSF. I have loved every minute of it. The questions used to be a great challenge. BSF was like no other Bible Study I had ever attended. It has been so in depth in the Bible. I poured over every question. Sometimes it would take me an hour to do a challenge question. It was a springboard into further study. It made me reflect on my life. I did it on my own. I remember one question lead me to a chat room with a Rabbi! Now, the personal questions seem to take over the discussion. Some want to tell the group their life story. I came to BSF to study the Bible not someone else’s trials and tribulations before they found the Way. Those should be left for fellowship not class time. Granted, we all have things to share but airing our laundry at BSF is not the time or place. As for the hymn singing. I also love that. It is so uplifting to have all those beautiful voices praising God. Sometimes I got goose bumps. Also thinking how beautiful our songs are to God. I know accommodations need to be made but why change the things that brought us(me) to BSF in the first place. Would it be possible to have an advanced BFS for the more serious, mature group? When I was the age of the millennials, no one made changes for me. Somehow I figured it out. I may have struggled but it made me stronger. I will go along with it until I find I am not getting enough Bible study but please go back to the old way!!! Don’t make BSF into Let’s Chat Fellowship. I have had enough of those. The previous reply sums it up pretty well. Don’t turn BFS into You and I Study. Keep Jesus, God and challenging questions a part of BSF. Our society needs it.

    1. Bless you for your comment. I heartily concur. BSF has cut away the very thing Jesus says in Jeremiah: you will seek and find me when you search for me with all your heart. For those of us like Jane, having experienced a totally different BSF, this is a big loss. Called to God’s table and given a very large spoon we were certainly willing to seek out hearty meat and slaked our seeking spirits with enough challenge to fill our coming week, with the marvelous guide OF BSF. now I leave Wednesday’s about as hungry as I arrived. Knowing you had a successful formula for leading seekers deep into scripture, it must be assumed you deliberately and with a will, chose another direction which appears to be choosing to opt for larger numbers of participants via lesser challenge. Well, that is a method, to be sure, that lure of half a loaf. But you encourage a myth. BSF full on is hard. But the reward is great. So now I ask, because I obviously must have it wrong: exactly what is it that this organization is hoping to build? Because, and I say again: we are set apart, to be in the world but not of it, to be all in, for Christ. We truly seem to be dedicated to throwing the baby out with the bath water. Why would I want to be a part of that?

      1. Exactly. Romans is an amazing book chock full of great lessons and a chance to grow as a believer, no matter where we are on our journey. We need to meet God face to face through His word, chew on verses and meditate on them. The study questions are not challenging nor do they prompt us to dig, study , research or use our concordance… Barbarann, Jane W we stand united on the Word of God. Seek, Find, read, cross reference, dig , grow and Share the Good News. IT is not about “I” or “YOU” or HOW you feel. Missing the Challenge Question and not going over all the questions are big mistakes. It is a GOOD thing that this thread has taken on its own life 🙂

    2. Jane,

      I love your idea of “advanced” and “beginner groups”. Having done the kids’ questions with my kids, the questions definitely get harder as the kids get older. Why couldn’t BSF do the same for adults? I realize this would be a lot of work but they have all the old lessons on all of these studies. Why not use those questions and then these ones!

      Love the ideas, ladies and gents! Great discussion!!!

      1. That is a great idea… but that does not change the Bible. What better way to learn, seek and grow than by spending time in the Bible, pondering with a childlike curiosity ? The Lord uses the Living Word to pierce our hearts, minds, soul and Spirit. He also uses Bible studies that drive us deeper into the Word. I will truly be praying for all this week as we head back to classes and discussion groups. May God richly Bless your reading of His word and your comings and goings. Granting you Safety and Protection about your families and homes. In His Service , Jane

  80. If I failed to say it before, and I might have, I am in full agreement with you. I’m way too old for pablum and doubt I will complete this year’s study. As a youngster, eons ago, I taught all of Paul’s letters,, using Barclay. So I suppose I have reason for expecting more than it seems BSF is prepared to provide. Very sad. It used to set a higher standard.

    1. I believe they are only online if you are enrolled in the virtual course. There’s a link in my sidebar to the course if interested. Thanks!

      1. You can actually get them even if you aren’t enrolled in a class if you know the day and place for when a class meets.

  81. My heart has been aching and I’ve spent many sleepless, but prayer-filled nights after reading the answers to this question. I have prayed for each of you to carefully read what He has put on my heart.

    I speak for myself here as well. My sinful nature is still within me, although I’m saved, and I, with the Trinity’s help, often battle it moment by moment. Some answers angered me at first, but God gave me grace and compassion when I asked, to see this as He wants me to. I will pose many questions; please pray about them rather than jumping to a quick answer. Ask God to reveal what needs changed in you.

    People and their answers fell into three categories:
    • those who with selfish hearts and what they were losing with the changes in BSF
    • those with hearts for others, who although perhaps felt change uncomfortable, were more concerned in reaching others and putting aside their comfort
    • those who were neutral, or stated only facts, thus couldn’t be categorized in the other two.

    BSF is not in existence to serve us. They exist to serve God first, and help us to serve Christ and others. Specifically: “The mission of Bible Study Fellowship is global, in-depth Bible classes producing passionate commitment to Christ, His Word and His Church. Our vision is to magnify God and mature His people as they cultivate a deeper relationship with Him.” Can we embrace this mission? (

    And it seems to me that God is leading BSF to help TRANSFORM us instead to merely inform us. We need Integrity – to consistently integrate God’s character into thought, word and deed (a BSF core value.)

    If your posts (or you agreed with them) were about BSF being ‘me’ time, increasing my Bible knowledge, my comfort, my worship being cut short, etc. – can you see what is at the center? Hint: it’s not God. Shouldn’t our days and moments be Christ-centered? If not, PLEASE provide a scripture reference. Sure, Jesus spent needed time alone with the Father resulting in His spiritual feeding/ “renewal.” But it was centered on the Father and doing His will. Father, please help us to be humble and put aside self to serve God and others (a BSF core value.)

    If your posts (or you agreed) were grumbling about the manna (reflective and application questions) that God is giving us, I pray that this week’s lesson opens your eyes to what is in your heart. In Romans 2:17-24 when Paul talks about the Jews who were feeling superior because they had the law, can you apply that? Are some of us so proud that we are in BSF because it’s a hard, demanding, in-depth study with rules? Are we missing the point, which is examining our hearts and asking God to change them to have compassion for others, especially their eternal lives? Are we wanting to be back in Egypt where we had challenge questions, but no change of heart – no compassion for the lost, only eating for ourselves? Back where we felt both comfortable and self-righteous? Through prayer and God’s leading, did BSF see that changes needed to be made because the way it had been was more apt to produce legalistic thinking, pride and love for knowledge instead of love for the lost? Lord, please help us to have a compassion for people where were help others by applying grace and truth with godly wisdom (a BSF value.)

    Open your eyes and remember what we learned in Revelation – we ARE in the end times and time IS running short to tell others about Jesus and His love for each of us! Can’t you see that with yet another horrific shooting in our country (Las Vegas) this week? People are dying every day without hearing/seeing God’s truth through someone’s witness to them. Our country and world need Jesus more than ever! We are reaping God’s wrath for godless choices.

    ****We need to have a heart for the lost, NOT for what we think we lost! ****

    At this point in history, is God telling us that our time is needed to personally touch others and show them Christ’s love – not in gathering more information/Bible knowledge? God has given us the Bible – we have all the information we need. And the purpose of that information was to convict us AND share the Good News! God, please help us to have a passion for Christ, where our love for Jesus fuels out commitment to advance the cause of Christ (a BSF core value.)

    Allow the “feeling” questions, which we claim to hate so much, to convict us of how our hearts are not like Christ’s, then ask God to change and mature us. That’s what those questions are for. I thank God that BSF has seen the need in our members and the world to TRANSFORM rather than merely continuing to inform. Don’t think that God only wants you to support others in doing so; He wants you to reach others in your family, neighborhood, work and even church! This is the work of every Christian. What good is all the information we have gained over the years in BSF? Have we not matured to a point where we can say, ‘God’s heart is for the lost, so ours should be, too? Christ died for us all.’ If we need to lay down our self-centeredness so that others can be reached and transformed, then we will.’ Shouldn’t we strive, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to become more Christ-like?

    Look back at the responses to this blog question that complained about – even judged – the changes at BSF. Which ones did you write or agree with? Do you see the selfishness or Christ-centeredness?

    Join me in THANKING God for our daily BSF lessons, for questions that make us dig deep to expose our wrong heart attitude thus giving us an opportunity to repent so that we can be a part of advancing His Kingdom, for the lectures, the rich notes and prayerfully assigned discussion groups. God uses it all even in spite of us and our failings at times.

    Thank you BSF for not staying in comfortable Egypt (the way it was always done), but following God’s leading to change. It’s about being transformed, not merely informed – for seeing that the way we had studied was not challenging/stirring us to go out and look for the lost through helping us see where our hearts needed to be transformed to be like Christ’s. Thank you BSF leadership for having a heart like God’s and taking this direction. Thank you for having excellence as a core value, which challenges us (to reflect the infinite worth of God in the quality of our service.)

    For those of you who ‘think’ that BSF is spoon-feeding now, take the initiative to DIG ON YOUR OWN and
    • Pray regularly for your Teaching Leader, Sub Teaching Leader, Children’s and Group Leaders, Administrative Leaders, Area Team, Headquarters: pray for your group leader and other members in your group BEFORE you arrive that you would have a wonderfully in-depth discussion and that each person would take to heart something they need to change.
    • Listen to hymns on your way to BSF so that your heart is prepared when you arrive
    • Go in-depth in the “feeling” questions asking God where your heart needs changed, what thoughts you have need to be changed to be in line with His
    • Apply a principle or nugget from each week’s lesson, then share what you have learned with someone who needs Christ – be transparent, honest and humble
    • Take responsibility for your own time of worship of God. If you feel that it’s cut short now in BSF, then find additional time in your day/week to worship Him!
    • Embrace your dependence on God – rely on the inexhaustible resources of God in the power of the Holy Spirit for everything His work requires (a BSF core value.)
    • If we haven’t been convicted by these few lessons in Romans, then we need to fall to our knees and beg God to remove our blinders so we can see the truth about our hearts.

    And lastly, if you think there is no depth in BSF – or can’t see it, perhaps you have not taken advantage of what resources they have provided (perhaps you expected it to be spoon-fed to you?)
    • Did you download the Romans prayer guide this summer from the BSF website AND pray through it?
    • Did you set aside August 16 to stream the Prayer Day at headquarters where there were hours of hymns and prayer using the prayer guide? My heart was bursting that day!

    Again, my words come from more than two weeks of sleepless, but prayer-filled nights as I wrestled with how to respond in love and truth. I ask God to touch those who are willing to repent and change. For those who cannot agree with BSF’s mission, core values, and the word of God/need for a circumcised heart, I give you my blessing as you leave.

    1. “And it seems to me that God is leading BSF to help TRANSFORM us instead to merely inform us”
      I go home and research something if I want to know more…thank you for your post. I am a lifelong Christian, but I am new to BSF. I have only done John and now Romans. I have found it is “transforming me” and at times a bit uncomfortable.I agree with a lot of what you are saying….but change is always hard for people.

      “Join me in THANKING God for our daily BSF lessons, for questions that make us dig deep to expose our wrong heart attitude thus giving us an opportunity to repent so that we can be a part of advancing His Kingdom, for the lectures, the rich notes and prayerfully assigned discussion groups. God uses it all even in spite of us and our failings at times”

      Amen to this:-) I could not have said it any better- thank you for your post, I needed to read this today:-)

      1. Robbie, I can’t thank you enough for reading my post and commenting. I seriously needed the encouragement today (to continue to speak out what God placed/places on my heart), so thank you again for taking the time to reply and share your kind and thoughtful words!

      2. we all need encouragment…that is what we need to do for one another…Jesus told us so:-) I am so blessed to have a BSF in my town:-)

    2. I appreciate that you wrestled in prayer with this issue. I understand your heart for the lost and those who need milk. I also have been in BSF a long time. But let me just give you something to consider: When I first joined BSF around 20 or so years ago, I was in a very dark place in my life. I entered at this time of year, January, to start studying the book of John, with Ms. Johnson’s questions and I presume her notes. From studying John, I’ll just call it the “old” BSF way, I was convinced God loved me and that I didn’t need to take my own life due to the emotional pain I was suffering. I say this as a person who grew up in the church, but due to incorrect teaching in many of the churches I attended, I never got what BSF finally taught me. Before BSF I had never studied the Bible before; I was around 32 when I started, so I was one of those people you are advocating for here, yet I was transformed by God’s Word with “old” BSF methods. I can say that I owe my life to “old” BSF, or more properly, to the study of God’s word in BSF using the old method that transformed my life. Please do not shortchange the capacity of God’s Word, taught the way BSF always taught it before the changes, to transform lives. I am living proof that it does.

    3. Thank you LongtimeBSFer! You said exactly what I wanted to say only much much more eloquently! Change is hard, but important! God is at work and I am thankful for these uncomfortable changes!

  82. How is it decided which BSF classes are having changes made? I’m jst wondering and plan on asking my SGL on Thursday. Absolutely nothing has changed in my BSF; it’s the same as in previous years. I’m so thankful, needless to say.

  83. I’m sure no one is going to wade through all the other replies to see what I have to say, but here goes. I have been coming to BSF for the past 9 years. It was always the best spiritual thing I did all week–even better than Sunday sermons. The impact of eliminating the opening assembly results in a dilution of the “fellowship” of BSF. It was the time we could see friends coming in and if we had come a few minutes early, we had time to touch base with them. Now, we go directly to our classrooms. I find myself standing in the doorway just to catch a quick smile and hello with the ones passing by before we get started with the lesson discussion.
    I am ABSOLUTELY dismayed at eliminating the traditional songs–sung from the hymnbooks. Not everyone knows the little contemporary”ditties,” I call them, and without the music to see, we who sing alto are rather at a loss. Yes, I am one to those “seniors” you will be losing because of these changes. I am TRADITIONAL, and I’ll bet Ms Johnson was, too.

  84. In Canada, the changes were rolled out recently. I do not like the changes and find it meaningless and frustrating. I just came back from class today (second time we are trying the dumbed down questions) — and feel like I might as well have just stayed home and did my own study. It’s unfocused, all over the place and if you ask me, encouraging loosey-goosey “broad strokes” instead of following the Scriptural study, which was what BSF was known for.

    To have no worship beforehand, I feel, takes away from preparing the heart to be still and receive God’s Word in a more settled manner (instead of simply rushing into class). As for “cutting down time”, people still come late anyway… and now they just come later still.

    I am dismayed at all these changes to accommodate lazy students. Sorry to be harsh, but if you are not really intending to do the questions, you are not committing to the study. Then why are we settling for mediocre Bible study?

    Why are we settling for “more fellowship time” over “more Bible study”?

    This totally goes against the grain of BSF and what its name stands for == “BIBLE STUDY”.

  85. I have read everything that was said. I love God’s Word. Anything that asks me to evaluate what God is doing in my life after reading His Word is extremely valuable. If I am not apply ing His Word to my life then I am missing His transforming love. I am hoping that my children and grandchildren will continue to see me at BSF. I hope that my excitement over God’s Word is contagious. I hope that those who want to answer every question or only a few at home come excited about what God revealed to them. BSF may be changing the format but when we open God’s Word together and share about His transforming love I will still have that heartbeat that beats a little faster. I hope everyone that loves their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren will continue to answer questions and come excited to see the answers others receive. BSF will always change because we have people at headquarters that hear from young mothers and want to keep them opening up God’s Word and teaching their children to do the same. Please prayerfully consider what God is doing and where God is leading you. I have been attending BSF since I was 23 and I am now 57. I have been a Children’s Leader and a Discussion Leader. I have served at BSF headquarters and each time it was a privledge. My children attended the preschool program, the school age program and now the adult program. I hope they continue to come and grow. My mother went to the first BSF class in Houston and her Teaching Leader is now on the Board of Directors at BSF. I know she is praying that all of her family will continue to answer questions and transform their hearts as they study and apply God’s Word. Come and grow and share your love for each generation that attends BSF.

    Love in Christ,
    Karen Marks

  86. After leaders meeting today, I sat in my car and cried. This is our 3rd week trying flex. I felt so outside of the discussion. There was no depth, it was more of a fellowship feeling. The questions I struggled with were not answered, and I left feeling unprepared to lead my group. Learning how to study God’s word has gotten me through many tough things through the years. All of my children are followers of Christ and I know that the influence of BSF in my life is why. Through BSF God became a part of my everyday life. BSF has taught me to recognize his hand at work and be able to point to God at work in their lives. It has taught me to be bold. And I am sooo thankful! So… here we go. I miss the hymns. I feel that the changes are shortening and taking away from my very life line- the study, deeper understanding, and interactions I crave. I do trust that BSF has prayed over every detail and I choose to believe that God will guide their decisions and these changes. I will quietly pout and challenge myself to blend the old with the new. An older lady in my group said, “Honey, I raised my girls in church and they don’t follow Jesus today. We should do whatever it takes to get these young moms in God’s word.”

  87. Karen Marks
    I am sorry you are discouraged. BSF has changed over time and has worked out the kinks. They will prayerfully do this again.

  88. We’ve been enduring these changes for about 7 months now, and I still stand by what I said back in December–BSF is taking the fellowship OUT of BSF by eliminating the opening assembly. and by compressing hymn singing into one rushed song before the lecture–not even a traditional, beloved song, but one of contemporary writers. We older ( or mature) members feel that we’re being thrown away. Will I be attending next year? DOUBT IT.

  89. Disappointed in the new format. Have played the piano for BSF for 22 years and loved to hear the ladies sing. Oh, how I miss it. Work hard at the notes and lessons, but now we are rushing through everything so fast. The discussions are more “what do you think” and “how do you feel about this.” However, I still wouldn’t trade BSF for anything. The study taught me to search the Scriptures and gave me a new and fresh appreciation for the Word of God. Love meeting new friends.

    1. We’ve been introducing the new methods of handling the questions for 4 to 5 months now and at first I felt that they were too shallow as many of you did. But I’ve come to see that it’s not so much about how you think or feel about the scripture or the question but how you are going to apply the lesson (the facts of the scripture) into your life. I think that BSF is trying to get us to go deeper in our study of scripture instead of just learning the facts of the Bible; we are to take it into our hearts and APPLY those facts into our hearts and actions. I still miss the opening session with a hymn, but we still spend the same amount of time in our discussion group and the lecture as previous years. I have grown to like the changes.

      1. YES! The questions aren’t shallow-er, but actually deep-er because they are going for heart change (with the Holy Spirit’s power), not merely modifying behavior (under our power). It’s heart work, not homework. It’s transformation, not information. And it’s the difference of having your Bible on top of your lesson, not your lesson on top of your Bible. Where is your desire and focus? To have the heart of Jesus? Or more head knowledge. Thank you BSF for pray-fully and obediently stretching us as no other Bible study has done!

  90. I have so enjoyed this study on Children of the promised land, which has been so interesting with lots of questions explained about culture, symbolism, etc. I do not
    understand why BSF is held the day before Thanksgiving when family comes home
    for the holiday and makes it impossible to attend BSF that day. I understand that BSF is a international Bible Study and other countries do not have Thanksgiving on the same day as we have, and the need to keep BSF on the schedule but it just doesn’t make sense to American BSF attendees. I really under stand
    application but do not understand how that application is applied to almost every
    question because it seems to duplicate same answers. Wouldn’t it be more
    effective to have one or two application questions with no need for the similarity
    in answers?

  91. Just one more comment—We started this year with Bible discussion immediately
    instead of getting to know the ladies, and I missed that tremendously as we repeated
    that same discussion the next week, and it took much longer to get to know the ladies, and still do not know much about them.. I would like to get back to introductions, and having each member talk for a few minutes. It creates “fellowship”.

  92. •BSF member since 2012
    •It is disturbing to me to see some of the changes in our fellowship that you mentioned.

    Too much focus on what I would do, think, etc.

    This week’s review & final lesson question is how is God moving you to engage w/the world,; share a truth c. His Word or sacrificially show His love & kindness.

    In the past, these would have been Personal Questions. Secondly, we should be reviewing the week’s lesson w/a Scriptural answer, in my opinion.

    Slow, sometimes subtle changes which seem to LOWER the study.

    It’s a bit worrisome.

  93. I just came back after a few years away, and we are now in Matthew (2022) and I am comparing notes from a 2014 study. Crucial points are missing and the notes are completely rewritten, shortened, and simplified. Example – in the study of the soil parables, the old notes devoted 2 full pages to this crucial parable. The new study has only 19 lines, omitting things from the old notes such as concerning the roadside soil: “Any individual may also be closed for many reasons to conviction of sin that must precede forgiveness.” (2014, p. 3 Paragraph 5). I was under a false teacher for a few years and it rings familiar – teachers going soft on sin and no call for repentence. I read BSF Founder Wetherell Johnson’s book and I don’t think she would be happy about these changes. Tonight, after logging off of our BSF group on Zoom, I was grieved. The discussion was only 30 minutes. There just wasn’t anymore anyone had to say. The questions were so elemental and based on thoughts, guesses, and feelings. It resembled nothing like the amazing group conversations I’ve had in the past with women who were changed when they dived into to answer deeply thought provoking questions about scripture. Can we start an old-notes BSF group? I understand BSF wants to reach the younger crowd – but I am concerned it is creating shallow believers in rocky soil. I was in my 20’s when BSF notes led me to the Lord. I could not get enough of the scripture, looking up all references as I poured through Ms. Johnson’s notes. She was my ONE, who led me to the Lord through writings she penned so long ago. I thank God for her and I look forward to seeing her in eternity! Praying for BSF.

    1. I agree. Unfortunately, I moved so many times in the past years that I had to throw away my old notes. I wish I had them. For me, it is what it is; it’s frutile to try to change the past. BSF has made it’s choice: change to survive. I love the idea of an online group for the “old ways.” Thanks for sharing!

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