As some of you may know, it’s been a dream of mine to write a book.
I’ve had a few ideas swirl around my mind, but haven’t quite landed on the book just yet, so I’m keeping my ears open to what and when God may have me write.
Today I’m sharing a guest post from Trina Bresser Matous. She’s a lovely women who attends my church and just so happens to have recently published her first book.
Better yet? It’s a book to help guide you through Paul’s letters to the early church (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 &2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Hebrews).
Reading and studying Paul’s letters can be a daunting task, but Trina’s Book is designed to help you understand difficult passages, shed new light on familiar verses, and gain an appreciation for things that made more sense when you lived at the times the letters were written.
Sounds like an awesome personal Bible study aid to me!
So how did she come to write this book? I always love to know the story behind someone becoming an author, so I asked Trina to share that with us…
I didn’t actually set out to write a Bible study series or even a book. My journey to writing the Christian Living Bible Study Series began when I was asked to write a set of notes to accompany our church’s read through the Bible in a year program. I wrote the notes over a two year period: the Old Testament the first year and the New Testament the second.
Though I learned I could write in college, I had never undertaken any sort of major writing project until this time so the writing process proved interesting for me. I used several commentaries, three to four Bible translations, a Bible dictionary, a bible atlas and other reference books to write easy to understand notes that would help people better comprehend the scripture they were reading. The notes included background information, definitions, explanations of ancient cultural practices, cross-references to applicable scripture, historical context and applications to modern day life.
For four years, 50 to 100 copies would be taken off the racks each Sunday. People frequently expressed their appreciation when a reference helped them understand what they were reading. It was very gratifying to me. When the church changed its focus, I thought I was done with the notes, but God had other plans.
My husband and I attended a writer’s conference where I met Eddie Jones of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. That was the birth of the Christian Living Bible Study Series.
The New Testament notes have been divided into five books with Paul’s Letters to the Early Church being the first release in the series. The second book, The Epistles of James, Peter, and Jude, will be released on November 19th. Each chapter of the series focuses on one chapter of the Bible and contains sections titled Background, Overview, and Insights. Each chapter ends with questions for individuals and/or small groups and are intended to be catalysts for applying the Biblical text to our lives and experiences in the 21st century.
Over and over in the Bible, we are encouraged to seek and do God’s will. Yet a frequent question by the participants of Bible studies I’ve been involved in is, “What is God’s will for me?” I’ve asked the same question more than once myself. This project turned out to be much bigger than I imagined when I was first asked to take it on. As I look back on all the steps involved in first writing the series and then bringing it to print, I can clearly see God leading the way. Today I am more certain of God’s will for me than I ever have been. What I have learned from the experience is that we often don’t know where God is leading when He first calls us, but if we are obedient to taking the next step He directs us to, we may find Him using us in ways we never would have imagined.
That is the story behind the Christian Living Bible Study Series. It has not been about what I’ve decided I would like to do, but about following where God is leading. I’d be tempted to say that once the series is published, I’m done, but I don’t know. I could just be taking the next step in a lifelong journey of walking through more doors God opens.
How awesome is that? I love how God has awesome things in store for us that we would never have expected for ourselves!
I tend to see Him laying out stepping stones in front of me. He doesn’t force me to jump onto the next one, but each time I’m faithful to do so, something incredibly unexpected happens. I love how Trina kept stepping on the stones he laid in front of her.
Thank you for sharing, Trina!
Trina has a Masters of Arts in Christian Ministry from Ashland Theological Seminary and is a passionate Bible teacher and writer. For over 20 years, she has shared Biblical truths in compelling and memorable ways as a Bible study leader and a member of the Restorative Prayer Team at her church. Her three week, 2,400 mile trip through Turkey in a rental car visiting historic sites including Istanbul, Ephesus, Cappadocia, Haran and Antioch, as well as two trips to Israel’s holy sites bring reality to Trina’s teaching and writing. Additionally, Trina is an avid birder, loves to cook, travel, work in her garden, and knit, especially lace. She and her husband live in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan