By Stan Counsell | Special to The PREVIEW
The Countywide Women’s Bible Study is now officially facilitating Matthew 24.
Last week, the ladies covered verses 1-8. And, as usual, all attendees receive a review of each previous class to bring refreshment. The study is nondenominational.
There are many good, decent and well-meaning Christians, and Christian organizations, that have settled on various opinions of Matthew 24. Still, other kind believers remain on the fence, feeling a bit lost by the many sincere opinions in circulation. Is there any clarity to be found in such differing views?
The disciples deeply admired, and were greatly influenced by, the beauty and grandeur of the Great Temple in Jerusalem and its buildings. They saw the Kingdom of God as being Jewish like themselves. Jesus, however, redirected their prideful admiration of profound buildings, wrought by men, to instead focusing humbly on the leadings of Almighty God, His mighty love, grace, blessings, warnings and judgments.
To hear of the temple’s total destruction brought great fear, confusion, and tepid curiosity from His disciples. When would the temple be destroyed and by what means? And, what will be the signs of Jesus’ coming and the end of the age? This study will make understanding the answers of Jesus no longer convoluted. Will numerous wars, famines, earthquakes, plagues, false messiahs and prophets be soon approaching or maybe in the very distant future? Jesus greatly emphasized that no one be deceived. Such is happening right now, but did they happen in Jesus’ time, too? Learning, from all the angles, is exciting and quite fun. Oh, to hear oneself saying, “Finally, I got this!”
‘Bert (Roberta) Counsell, is an ordained women’s pastor and former chaplain. She felt said theological confusion for many, many years after her Christian conversion. Where did all of these interpretations come from and why did they have conclusions that differed with others? Was it a denominational sway, inadequately schooled pastors and teachers, well-intentioned friends? We’ve all been there.
When studying for the ministry, Counsell was determined to put all the differing views to the test (Acts 17:11), to seek scriptural truth and unity of the brethren. She took diligent notes, immersed herself in conflicting theological books, sought to learn the biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek), and study biblical world history and ancient customs. Her goal was to not sustain or increase divisions or confusion.
To add greater understanding to Matthew 24, Counsell will also present Mark 13:1-13 and Luke 21:5-19 that reference the same questions by the disciples. She heartily welcomes all ladies of varying Christian beliefs, joyfully taking their questions and respecting their opinions. In short, Counsell shows that learning can be quite fun when there is freedom of expression within a joyful ambiance of Christian sisterhood.
The Countywide Women’s Bible Study has been in existence for over 50 years. It meets every Tuesday morning from 10 to 11:30 at the Grace in Pagosa (formerly CrossRoad Church) offices and spacious fellowship hall at 1044 Park Ave., right across from the Recreation Center. If you have any questions, please call Counsell at (970) 264-9931. Please bring your favorite Bible and personality. This study is fun.