“It’s not rocket science.”
That’s what Sofia Papaspyrou wants Greek students to understand when they open the Bible. She volunteers with ethos_SXEF, working with staff worker Jonathan Clark to show students the vibrancy of Scripture.
In a country that leans heavily on Orthodox religious tradition, students tend to be unfamiliar with the Bible in their own hands. Evangelical students coming out of this background are often accustomed to enduring Bible studies rather than enjoying them. Many students believe that they are not capable of unpacking a passage of Scripture without a church authority to guide them. Within evangelical circles, this can also be the case, with many students low on confidence that God speaks as his Word is read and understood. Others enjoy studying, but often do not apply what they learn.
So, when Jonathan and Sofia challenge students to voice their observations from the text, they are confused. The way they study the Bible seems too simple. Yet students soon find that everything they need is already there. Jonathan encourages students to not just guess the meaning of a passage, but to instead look for context clues in the passage as well as in other parts of Scripture. In this way, they let the Bible interpret the Bible.
When students discover that scriptural study is not a lofty process, they become enamored with God’s Word. Jonathan hopes that a better understanding of Scripture will inspire students to apply it to their lives and communicate that truth to their fellow students. A student, also named Sofia, says,
“Our last conversation on 2 Timothy 2:2 has completely changed my view of discipleship. We talked about one-to-one, Bible-centered conversations and how unusual of a practice that is in our country. After praying and asking for my mentor’s advice I decided to start one with a younger friend from church.”
Though Jonathan and Sofia have been encouraged by the progress made with Bible study, there is still much more to be done in Greece. In 2018, they received a Breaking New Ground grant from IFES, which allowed them to begin a new group in an unreached area. Almost three years later they are continuing to stimulate and initiate student groups in cities that need them. Will you join us this week in praying for the movement in Greece?
- Pray for students involved in Bible study through ethos_SXEF. Pray that they would understand the vitality and relevance that the Bible brings to their lives. Pray that they would be inspired to share what they learn with their friends.
- Pray for more people to understand the importance of university student ministry in Greece, as many churches do not see the need to create new groups.
- Pray for Jonathan Clark and his wife Dawn as they continue to work cross-culturally with student groups in Greece. Pray for their perseverance as they encounter resistance tied to traditional Orthodoxy and cultural norms.