Anyone who has lost someone precious to them undoubtedly replays their last conversations over and over in their mind, clinging to those last words they shared. For Kim, the last words of her three year old son led her on a life-changing journey. Before her son died unexpectedly of a common childhood illness, Kim was on her own path, building an admirable career, enjoying her family, and living the American dream. Though her life was pretty much all she had wanted it to be, it was being lived apart from Jesus.
As tragic as it was, her son’s death was the life marker that led her on a new path. She discovered the gospel, and everything changed. As she began to read the Bible, she was struck by the conversations in John 13-17. These were the last words of Jesus…the conversations he shared with his disciples before his death and ascension back to heaven.
Her study here eventually led to putting together an in-depth, seven week study on these five chapters.
I’ve done a lot of Bible studies, and I’ve been asked to review several by publishers. I’m getting pickier about what I agree to, because I am currently in school. My reading time is consumed by homework until breaks. I was excited to review Kim’s study because it was a study, and I was ready for something new for my personal Bible study. Kim’s study is published by Moody Publishers Women, which to me meant it would be trustworthy (I am a Moody Student after all. After I applied to be apart of the launch team, I had a little moment. I realized I knew Kim. I got excited about the study before I even paid attention to the author’s name.
A few years ago, when I was a women’s discipleship pastor, Kim came to visit a friend in our area and asked if she could speak to our moms’ group. I was hesitant, because I took my job to guard my flock very seriously, and I didn’t know her. But I felt God was in her coming, and she did an amazing job. It is exciting to watch how God uses someone who is living their everyday life doing what God has set before them, and then see how God opens the doors.
Back to the study….
Specifically, what I enjoyed about this study is the invitation to linger. Let me explain. I have often done studies or small groups where we read a passage together and then ask questions about what we learned about God, etc. But Kim has formatted this study to pause after every verse and ask those questions. At first it felt tedious, because I have the personality type that just likes to get things done. I don’t stop and linger very often. Unfortunately, this often applies to my time in the Word as well. A week or so into the study, I saw myself slowing down to really ponder and learn. I am honestly amazed at the insights I saw in a passage I’ve probably read a hundred times, just because of the method Kim encourages. I did not end this study thinking of all the amazing things Kim said, but thinking of the amazing things God has said that I have often passed over…and I think Kim would be thrilled about that.
Practically, let me give some opinions about the format of the study and how it could be used.
Depth: The method of this study challenged me, someone who has been doing in-depth studies for over twenty years. The doctrine is solid, and the invitation to linger is important for anyone who thinks they are not often challenged by the studies coming out these days.
Discipleship: Even though it is deep and solid, it is also basic. The principle here is that as we grow in our faith, we are often tempted to look for new stuff, rather than going deeper with the basic stuff. “His Last Words” goes deep with the basics. Let me tell you why this is important. I cannot tell you how often I’ve struggled to find a good study for someone who is new to Jesus. If it is deep, it is usually over-the-top confusing for a new believer. I wholeheartedly believe this study could be done in a mixed group of mature believers and brand new ones, and all would benefit. It is deep and simple, which is undoubtedly rare.
Time Commitment: This study requires a good 45 minutes per lesson to do it well. I say that up-front because I believe readers should have a realistic expectation. In recommending studies to busy mamas, I usually advise to steer clear of ones that take so much time OR not feel obligated to finish it in the recommended time slots. In other words, it may be more feasible to finish a lesson in three or four days, depending on your life season. That could be a problem if you join a group that is going through it at the regular pace. But if you are doing it on your own, or with a group that is pacing like you, no problem! For brand new believers that have time on their hands, this is perfect! For seasoned Bible study girls with a habit of regular study time, this is perfect! For moms who are willing to be patient with moving through it slower – perfect!
All in all, I am so excited about this study, and can’t wait to see what Kim does next. You can get your copy today at Moody Publishers, Christianbook.com, Amazon, and probably a variety of other sources.
Also, you can enter right now on Moody Publishers Women’s Facebook page to win a small group packet (5 study books, companion journals, highlighters, and invitation cards).