Can Christians disagree? 

By Karen McNary, Director of Global Cultural Engagement and Community 

Several years ago, I came across a saying:  

“To live above with saints we love, oh that would be glory. To live below with saints we know, well that’s another story.”    

Living with the saints can be hard. Selfishness. Pride. Division. Even believers struggle to find common ground with one another. 

Conflict among God’s people is not isolated to one culture or even one historical era. Jesus himself was born into an extremely complex culture. Israel was under Roman rule, overburdened by taxes and restricted in religious liberties. Some Israelites, including the Zealots, expected a military-style Messiah to restore Israel’s autonomy by force. As politics divided God’s people, religious leaders varied in their interpretation of God’s Word.   

But instead of just stepping into the fray, Christ invited people to rise above it. At the core of His ministry, He intentionally called 12 men with radically different backgrounds and temperaments. Instead of fitting into the world around Him, Jesus built a new community based on God’s Word and His ministry. And He called it the Kingdom of God. 

In this community, the disciples were invited to learn together and participate with Him in sharing the good news of the gospel.  They were united in their call to follow Jesus, but not always from the same perspective, as we’ll see in our upcoming Matthew study. 

The same can be true for believers today. We answer the call to follow Jesus the same way – by grace through faith. Like the disciples, we bring our personalities, experiences, and worldviews into gospel community. We will likely find ourselves studying and serving in community with people who are very different from one another. And if we are honest, that community is not always comfortable. 

Through Jesus’ relationship with the disciples, we learn some key practices in loving one another amid our differences.  

In the cultural chaos of His day, Jesus spoke life-changing truths.  

How can we respond when we disagree? 

In Jesus’ time, as today, some teachings were just hard to understand. For instance, what did Jesus really mean when He said, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their own dead?” Some people read this literally, others figuratively.  

Or how about Jesus’ lessons in Matthew 13? These simple stories with deep spiritual truths prompted the disciples to ask, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” Like the disciples, we are free to bring our questions before the Lord.  

Jesus’ response to their question in Matthew 13:11 is eye-opening. “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”  

Jesus tells us that truth is revealed to each of us at different times and in different seasons. With this in mind, we can meet our brothers and sisters in Christ with grace as we trust the Lord to reveal truth in His time. There is room for differences of opinion when Christ is our foundation. We don’t have to carry the burden of argument or debate. Instead, we can pray, discuss and enjoy one another as God completes His unique work in His people. 

What can we do with confusion or disappointment? 

We each enter Christian community with expectations. We expect others to act, think, speak, and relate to us in a certain way. When our expectations aren’t met, it can lead to disappointment, discouragement, even doubt. We may question if we’re in the right place with the right people. 

In Matthew 11, we learn a valuable lesson from John the Baptist. While imprisoned, John sent word asking Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”  I’m sure neither he nor his followers expected a prison stay for John the Baptist. In fact, they probably expected Jesus to release him miraculously.    

Like John, we, too, can bring our questions and disappointments to Jesus. But we are called to hold our expectations loosely. God often answers in unexpected ways. When we humble our hearts before the Lord, we must be willing to listen to how He answers, whether He meets our expectations or not.  

What does Jesus expect of us? 

The Sermon on the Mount, which contains “the Beatitudes,” details how gospel community should work. Here we learn that Jesus is more concerned about heart transformation than He is about behavior modification, like when Jesus says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” 

Ultimately, through Christ’s forgiveness on the cross, we have the power to forgive one another. Conflict is inevitable. Opinions will differ. But when we are rooted in the gospel, we are united in purpose.  

In His final words to the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” 

Through these words, Christ built His Church when 12 men set aside their differences to pursue a common call. Think about that: God changed the course of human history through 12 people who humbly united around His plan and will. 

As you study Matthew in community, will you take time to pray for your new BSF group? Like the disciples who were called to follow Christ, each member of your group has responded to God’s prompting to study His Word within BSF this year. If we commit to learn from our differences and unite in our common call, we can expect God’s Word to change our hearts and grow our obedience. While it won’t always be easy, we have one another. Most importantly, we have His presence. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus promised, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Karen McNary

BSF Director of Global Cultural Engagement and Community 

Karen served as a Children’s Leader, Substitute Teaching Leader, Teaching Leader, Area Personnel and most recently as a Skills Coach for BSF prior to joining the staff in April 2021. Sheis originally from Louisville, Ky. and for the past 20 years has called  Charlotte, NC home.  She has been married to her husband, Keith, for  27 years, and together they parent three three young adult sons who attended the BSF School Program for many years.

 

Submit a Comment

Please note that comments are monitored and approved by BSF staff. If you don’t see your comment immediately, please visit this page again to view your comment along with responses from the author and other BSF members.

323 Comments

  1. Thank you, Karen, for your encouraging and insightful comments. God’s grace encourages us to carry on within the family of faith and extend much grace to others.

    Reply
  2. Hello brethren! Do you have articles/posts about Ephesians 4 which is also about unity?
    Thank you in advance for your reply and keep safe!

    Reply
    • Hi Lydia, we don’t! But I’m adding that to our list of possible blog posts. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  3. I’m so glad I took the time to read this article.
    “Opinions will differ. But when we are rooted in the gospel, we are united in purpose.” Love this outlook! Thank you

    Reply
  4. “Jesus tells us that truth is revealed to each of us at different times and in different seasons. With this in mind, we can meet our brothers and sisters in Christ with grace as we trust the Lord to reveal truth in His time.”

    Love it!!! 🤗💜 Thank you 🙏🏼

    Reply
  5. This was a good overview of Mathews Gospel and insightful, many thanks

    Reply
  6. This Blkg is a great Intro t I our Study of Matthew. Thanks so much

    Reply
  7. thank you for this blog. I am recovering from covid and am grateful for God’s answer to my many friends prayers. God is good. I am looking forward to this study.

    Reply
  8. I left a question below. My leader claims she has texted me several times, but I only have one where she thanked me for giving her my cell phone #. I had my husband look he found nothing. I asked my leader on week 2 lesson 1to please call me because I had something to share but I wanted her to call me so I could tell her first. She NEVER BOTHERED TO CALL ME. WHAT I had to say was about an answer in lesson 2. I have never experienced this type of people in BSF. I have been going since REVELATIONS.

    Reply
    • Hi Loy, I am so sorry to hear about the lack of communication you’ve received in your group. We are praying for any misunderstandings that have occurred with your leader. I encourage you to reach out both to your leader and class administrator to go over this situation. If you are not sure who your class administrator is, use our “Find a Group” feature on bsfinternational.org, find your class by typing in your location and time, and click “Contact.” https://www.bsfinternational.org/find-a-group

      Reply
  9. So timely!♥️♥️♥️

    Reply
  10. Dear Karen, thank you for assuring me that I can bring our questions and disappointments to Jesus. I must have been doing that quite often. You are right that God sometimes answers our prayers in unexpected ways – in ways that we don’t like, and often it is after many years that we know His plan was a perfect one. But there was the blaming and anguish in between.

    I always ask in my BSF group that I envy the “wrestling with God” and I want God to speak to me in my dream. some members said that could have happened to me without me realising it. I want to have a closer encounter with God.

    Reply
    • Thank you Kitty for sharing your ♥️

      Reply
  11. Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Thanks so much – this is the very topic I’ve been wrestling with!

    Reply
  13. This was such a helpful presentation; a needed reminder that we need to not be so quick to judge -other Christians. Give our expectations to God and show grace. Thanks you!

    Reply
  14. This was just what I needed to hear and be reminded of! Thank you!

    Reply
  15. Thank you Karen for this timely message. Blessings to you.

    Reply
  16. Thank you! Such a great reminder to love, to pray, to trust GOD. He placed this person in my path for a reason, and for me it’s usually to grow and change me. He always reminds me to settle on our common ground in Him alone.

    Reply
    • Good point Karen. There’s always more than what we see.

      Reply
  17. Thank you Karen. You reminded us that, “nothing is new under the sun”, conflicts and challenges may look different throughout time, but it’s the heart, our hearts, that need to be addressed.

    Reply
    • Sandy,

      You quoted one of my favorite passages.

      So good to remember!

      Reply
  18. Thank you for addressing this very real conflict in many of our lives. Some of us feel very convicted in certain areas and others do not. Yet, we all claim to follow Christ. It can be confusing, but we must act in love and forgiveness. Thanks for your encouragement and words of advise.

    Reply
  19. Thank you for these thoughts Karen. The examples you site in Matthew of people in Jesus’ time having questions and differences of opinion are helpful for us to think about when engaging with fellow followers now. Blessings to you.

    Reply
  20. Such a timely blog. Our news sources are clogged with very differing opinions on politics, medical issues and religious concerns. As Christians it is sometimes better to put your hand over your mouth than to get embroiled in a discussion or argument that nobody wins and can cause strife between believers. There is not much teaching about personal rights in the Scriptures, but a lot of teaching about taking responsibility for neighbors and brothers and sisters in the Lord.
    Thank you for this blog!

    Reply
    • You’re so right Meredith…

      Reply
  21. Is there any BSF group in my area?

    Reply
    • Hi Carol! We’d love to have you join BSF! You can use the “Find a Group” feature to locate groups in your area. If there are not any in-person classes near you, you can also use this same feature to locate an online group. https://www.bsfinternational.org/find-a-group

      Reply
  22. Wonderful piece. So relevant to our struggling world today. As I see prophecy unfold, it is so important to focus on what unites us, which is the gospel. We must not cling to the expectation of others but rather the promises of God. Thank you for sharing this truthful insight.

    Reply
  23. That was a terrific blog. We can unify and make community alive through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Carol,

    Thank you for your encouragement as i begin a study in Matthew. Learning to disagree with a God- like response I think is not only expected by our Lord but attainable with support, growth in His Word, as I learn to be submissive to His Word, obedient, and humble as He guides me.

    Reply
  25. Karen your article was inspiring, I loved the saying you shared because it is so true and it made me laugh. BSF is the best Bible Study I have ever taken part in and no matter what you think you know there is always more to learn.

    Reply
  26. Such encouraging words for our year ahead. “God changed the course of human history through 12 people who humbly united around His plan and will.” May we be open and submit to God’s plan for us through our study in Matthew.

    Reply
  27. Thanks for this article, it’s always wise to remember that we are all one in Christ and that there are differing opinions because we all have different walks and none of us are growing in our faith at the same rate!

    Reply
    • That’s right Gayle. We all grow differently and we must extend the same grace Jesus extends to us.

      Reply
  28. Thank you for sending me the message and please continue to send the lecture content for me. I would like to participate to the online lecture course I find difficulty in participating the venue lecture.

    Reply
    • Hi Irene!

      Are you looking to join a BSF online group? If so, you can use this site to find a group/time that works for you! https://www.bsfonline.org/

      Reply
  29. First, I say that I am grateful to be able to participate in this online lesson this season. I am a believer that accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and after Baptism I grew up telling others to learn more. I still can learn more and that is my goal as this season is present. I look forward to the classes to understand, grow and share. May we all be safe, grounded and following Christ’s examples.

    Reply
  30. Hi Karen,
    Thank you so much for this blog about Can Christian’s disagree?
    Jesus showed up in an unexpected way for me through this blog. Thank you for your encouragement and help. Praise God!

    Reply
  31. This year I expect God to change my heart and to grow my obedience. The reading of this blog gives me insight in how to better frame my prayers for the BSF Group that I belong to and BSF as a whole. This blog blessed my heart. May God richly bless you.

    Reply
  32. thank you so much, Ienjoyed reading.

    Reply
  33. Thanks so much for sharing God’s truth from your heart. This particularly resonates for me as a ne OGL this year. I am leading some new ladies, and some I was in a group with.

    Reply
  34. Thank you Karen for the thought provoking blog. The tips and tools you provided will help me in my walk with the Lord and how to build community with fellow Christians. We are all different and unique, but we have one common call to build God’s kingdom on earth through us who call him Lord.

    Reply
  35. Thank you Karen. Continue your wonderful spirit lead teaching ability.
    May God richly bless you.

    Reply
  36. The part about our expectations really hit me. “Hold them loosely.” This is so good, Karen. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  37. My love of God’s word brings me to BSF every year. My study of Matthew will give me many invites into the life and death of Jesus. He suffered so much to save us from sin. I cry every time I read about it.

    Reply
  38. Wonderful explanation.I should be looking and asking The Holy Spirit, Wonderful Counsellor, to help me search my heart if there be any hardness that He can help me resolve.
    Renew my life Lord Jesus Christ
    Amen

    Reply
  39. Excellent article!!!

    Reply
  40. Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed what you had to say. God bless you.

    Reply
  41. Thank you so much, Karen for your blog. I enjoyed it so much👏🏽🙏🏽❤️☮️

    Reply
  42. Karen, your words are very clear. I’m looking forward to understanding more deeply

    Reply
  43. EXCELLENT blog Karen! Thank you so very much. You have really given me something to think about and USE. In fact, your blog has already helped me with a little nuisance that has been nagging me in my BSF leadership. God is SOOOO wonderful! I pray that I can truly imprint what you have shared on my heart and use it for all times. I have been praying and asking God to help me to be more hospitable. Your blog has given me a step toward improving on my fruit of long suffering and gentleness. I need help in these areas so much. Again, thank you.

    Reply
    • I’m so glad God used this blog. He will honor your desire to exhibit long suffering and gentleness.

      Reply
  44. Beautiful and inspiring synopsis of Matthew and our current world at large. Very thought provoking and it propeled my continuing Christian and child of God self-introspection. Thank you!

    Reply
  45. What an encouragement. Thank you for your words, they challenge me to stay focused on Him, not the diference of opinion there are, especially in todays climate.

    Reply
  46. I greatly appreciate your insightful and encouraging words of wisdom.
    I’m looking forward to much growth, fellowship, and inspiration this year
    studying Matthew with my BSF ladies.
    Thanks for your post Karen.

    Reply
  47. So excellent. Thank you for the encouragement, and for such good words to use in my life.

    Reply
  48. Thank you Karen! Can I translate for Portuguese speakers?

    Reply
    • Dear Alexandre, we would love for you to share Karen’s post! This is such great wisdom for all of us

      Reply
  49. Thank you Karen! Your blog is very intersting and encouraging! Glory to God!

    Reply
  50. Thank you Karen for your inspiring blog containing words of wisdom re learning to live with differences in expectations re study fellowship groups. Christ teaches us to be humble & to love one another.

    Reply
  51. Thank you for these Spirit led words of encouragement. Especially as we find ourselves in a new conflict involving vaccinations! I wrote your words in my journal just now. “When we are rooted in the Gospel, we will be united in purpose.” AMEN!

    Reply
    • As I was reading this blog I was reminded of a conversation that I just had this morning with a dear friend regarding vaccines. And I too appreciated these encouraging words. I will send along this blog to my friend who is also in need of support.
      Blessings

      Reply
  52. The Word of the Lord thru you – humbles me as I endeavor to lead in this study – those of my Family given to me, from past Seasons and those introduced this Season. May I shepherd/lead/exemplify, walking in “not my will, but God’s Way be followed.”

    Reply
  53. Great message. I was blessed by what you wrote.

    Reply
  54. Girl! Loved your blog. How happy I was to scroll down and see your picture. It made me laugh out loud in joy/ for you are my sister in Christ. Remember me/ Ginnie Oswald/ group facilitator/ Salisbury evening group/ now in Winston. Blessings

    Reply
    • Hey Ginnie! I do remember you and I’m thankful you’re still connected with BSF.

      Reply
    • Your love for the Body of Christ is clearly evident my sister! He has made you a nurturer to ensure the spiritual health of His chosen. You are appreciated. Leon

      Reply
  55. Hello Karen! thank you for this excellent blog post! I am especially taken by the line “We are called to hold our expectations loosely” So good and so hard!

    I also love the line that “Jesus is more interested about heart transformation than behavior modification” It is so easy to focus on looking good, rather than the painful looking inward to our deep thoughts that come out of our heart and never make it to the surface, letting Christ transform our heart, and acting in community from that place.

    Reply
  56. That was so well said , Karen
    Thank you for your insight into relationships and how Jesus related to others , all of whom he loved .

    Reply
  57. This was very refreshing to read. With so much division among family and friends because of differences of opinions about political, global and health safety issues, it is nice to be reminded that we can love each other, live as examples of Christ and have a different opinion about things. The world is watching us. Let us represent Christ in ALL that we do and say. Keep the main thing the main thing! Be blessed.

    Reply
  58. Loved the blog!!!

    Reply
  59. Thank you Karen for this wonderful blog and the inspiring messages they hold for us.
    The word of God is new everyday.My favorite verses is Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus is calling me who is calling the heavy burdens for His yoke which is easy.
    Trusting God in my daily moments of life and my concerns.
    Thank you and remain blessed

    Reply
  60. I like this wisdom…’ hold your expectations loosely..’ I am looking forward to the unexpected ways that the Lord is going to answer my questions as I start this study and particularly the wisdom to navigate conflict. Thank you for your post.

    Reply
  61. We give God all the glory and honour for everything. We thank him for sacrificing his son for all of us regardless of the race or anything. May he help and show us the purpose he created each of us for. God bless you so much for the encouragement through the Word.

    Reply
  62. I am sharing with my family and extended family… thank you!!! Praying for our classes everywhere!!

    Reply
  63. Thank you for this Blog and the blessings of clarity on agree to disagree when it comes to studying the Bible.
    I found it very helpful as a reminder to me as I study the book of Matthew. My sole purpose this year to study and model behaviors that Matthew preached with my BSF sisters in Christ.

    Reply
  64. Hi Karen. I particularly liked your statement that “We don’t have to carry the burden of argument or debate.” It reminded my that the Lord may be teaching us each something different and so whether we agree with someone or not is not the point. Thank you

    Reply
  65. United in purpose, I feel should be all Christians ultimate goal! I love that.

    Reply
  66. I am looking forward to growing in my faith and this has been a great start! Thank you for the opportunities BSF has to offer!
    In Christ,
    Holly

    Reply
  67. Loved this blog. Despite our differences and disagreements, when we are rooted in the gospel, we are united in purpose. Something to remember.

    Reply
  68. Thank you for the encouragement theough Jesus’ eyes!

    Reply
  69. Karen, thank you for your thoughtful & wise blog concerning coming to terms with differences of thought, behavior & acceptance of other believers. A wonderful start to studying & learning together.

    Reply
  70. Thank you for this blog, Karen. The message is anointed, as always. I’m so thankful for your service to BSF. Keep writing.

    Reply
  71. As we start a new year at BSF many of us are going virtual we are put into a class of 1618 people many who are strangers to us but I have one, goal to learn more about Jesus in the study Matthew what does challenge that can be for individuals not known by each other to come and melt together in the love of Christ praise be to God

    Reply
    • When you bring God into relationships they truely different! Thank you Lord for a heart transformation.

      Reply
    • Awesome insights

      Reply
  72. Thank you! Your blog is spot on. For some reason I often tend to think all believers think alike … boy, am I wrong. In reality together we provide a wonderful tapestry of God’s magnificent creation, with each person seeking God their own way using God’s Word, fellowship with believers and prayer.

    Reply
    • Bob, it’s easy to forget we don’t all think alike…but we can handle those differences with the power of the Holy Spirit…

      Reply
  73. With the love of God, I thank you Woman of God Karen McNary for this four important topics which I will use as a guide in my Christian journey.

    Reply
  74. I am happy to see more diversity represented in our leadership. About 70 years ago my grandmother taught me that “red and yellow, black and white ALL are precious in His sight”. AMEN!

    Reply
  75. I thank God for this encouraging message. It answers some of my questions.

    I can do nothing apart from our Lord Jesus.

    Reply
  76. Your writings are straight and good in my way of thinking and understanding. They have been a blessing for me to read.

    Reply
  77. Thank you for this opening blog.
    It has helped open my heart to received God’s message through his word.
    I pray that as I join BSF in a new city that God may truly reveal his will. May God bless the BSF international leadership and world wide members.

    Reply
  78. Thank you Karen for this wonderful blog. I had a bad experience with one of my group members and I didn’t know how to respond. Prayer is the answer.

    Reply
  79. GOD bless you Karen! Glad you are onboard to keep our ship steady and in the right direction to the Kingdom of God. By GOD’s grace through faith in CHRIST we trust the LORD to reveal His truth in His time. PTL

    Reply
  80. As citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, we must worship neither the god of the Red, nor the Blue. As subjects of our Lord Jesus, we must lay our agendas for power down, lay down our rights, and take up His cross, and His cause: that of loving His Father first, best, and most, and of loving our neighbors as ourselves.
    I’m going to be praying daily to ask God to help me love those with whom I disagree, for the sake of His Kingdom.

    Reply
    • Susan,

      I’m confident God will answer your prayer… He wants nothing more than us to love Him, and our neighbors…

      Reply
  81. A timely message indeed. I just do not know how to respond to a group I have belonged to for 30 years, but who refuses to follow the health mandates for our county and state. I am stuck worshipping online from home while the church as a whole enjoys their home-schooler, anti-vaxxer, mask refusers, anti medical establishment, essential oils, world-wide conspiracy theorists get-togethers. Their common culture obscures the Christian message, IMO. I do enjoy being able to view the worship services of my home church, all my children’s churches, as well as other excellent sermons, but while I can recommend these sites to others, I cannot endorse anyone visiting my church’s larger, indoor meetings! Indeed, one new, younger Christian died as a result of these exposures. Thank God he came to know the Truth and died a Believer, but how much better if he would have had opportunity to lead his children into the Truth as well. All I can do is pray.

    Reply
    • Among my group of friends at church, we represent both sides of just about every issue, and yet we still love each other and can see each other beyond our politics and Covid views. It takes humility and love, but through all my research on everything Covid, I can see each side of the issue and understand why people see it differently. They aren’t ignorant or conspiracy theorists just because they don’t agree with me. I also love that we can all humbly explain why we chose one way over another. I know that at BSF we stay away from discussions that are controversial, but we do see whether people are wearing masks or not. That doesn’t mean we can tell if they got the vaccine or not. People can have a combination of views and behaviors. These are very complex issues and times we live in. I try not to judge but rather to understand that people do not need to agree with me to be right. In fact, the more I read and study, the more I understand. God bless us all in this challenging journey as we follow Christ and love each other well.

      Reply
    • I bless you, Nanci, in the Name of our Lord Jesus. I pray that you will once again feel free to worship with your family – the family of God. Hebrews admonishes us not to neglect meeting together, especially as we see the Day approaching. It seems that you have chosen to be stuck – I’m very sorry for that. But Nanci, Jesus came to set us free – & Galatians tells us to stay free – not to go back again to slavery.
      This nation was conceived in the idea of liberty & justice for all. It is a nation under covenant with God from the time of our forefathers – to be free to worship God as we chose! It is a nation of the people, for the people & by the people such that no powerful tyrannical group will take us away from our freedom to worship or to rule ourselves under God.
      As His people, we must choose to follow Jesus. His Church – the Body of Christ – IS essential & some are telling us we are not, while others who have an agenda of destruction are essential. Such leadership is taking us to a place of slavery by instilling fear & promotion of division among us.
      May you find Him sufficient, for we all believe that He is, no matter the circumstance that comes against us. We are family & so I end with LOVE, in His holy Name.

      Reply
  82. excellent blog Thank you for reminding us that God is in charge.

    Reply
  83. Thank you, Karen, for your encouraging perspective and gracious words.

    Reply
  84. If I don’t learn one more thing in BSF this year (this is my first year in BSF), what I just learned in Ms. McNary’s blog is absolutely WONDERFUL and eye opening and heart opening….. thank you! and may Ms. McNary be as blessed as she’s just blessed me….

    Reply
  85. Thank you for such an encouraging message. 🙏🙏🌷

    Reply
  86. I really enjoyed the addition of the BSF Blog! I hope it will continue.

    Reply
  87. Wow. This is powerful. My husband and I were just talking about this very same thing, prior to reading this spirit-lead article. Thank you.

    Reply
  88. Thank you for sharing this rich message. I have been encouraged. God bless you.

    Reply
  89. Thank you for your devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Reply
  90. Thank you Karen. You truly blessed me with this blog. Sometimes the enemy can make situations appear more challenging than what they really are. May God continue to bless and use you. To God be the Glory!!

    Reply
  91. Thank you Karen . Very well stated. Esp. With ALL the chaos in the world which has totally uprooted our childhood beliefs – what was right -is now wrong, what was wrong is now right. I believe the word is “woke” . And if we/the church is now careful it will divide us. But if we follow Jesus , as you have stated. We can find peace and unity through Him / HS. Thank you for sharing. I’m CA and so blessed to be apart of our group and BSF International.

    Reply
  92. Karen … Great thoughts … Doctrinally the Bible is most clear, example, Free Will vs. Sovereign Grace … Most Christians will say ”all people have a choice to be eternally saved” vs. Grace teaching ”God elects, Christ saved in 70a.d. and Spirit awakens only God’s elect … This is basic teaching by the 12, O.T. prophets, and Jesus … One cannot water down Sovereign Grace and be Biblical … As far as this vaccine thing in 2020-2021, all people should have their own opinions and choices {freedom} … But when people disagree bc of Dem and Repub things get dicey and unbiblical … Vaccines cannot be mandated of a ‘have to thing’ {not Biblical at all}…. YES, we do disagree on some things in the Bible, grey areas it is called, BUT doctrine is not a grey area, example ‘world’ is explained in 4 different ways–P.A.S.E.–John 17 n Luke 2:1 … We disagree on clothes we wear, hair styles, glasses style, etc., BUT the Bible of full of dogmatism in doctrinal areas, but not so much in life decisions … By brother sent me your site today, he is in BSF now in MN – my sister in law has been in BSF for many years … Thanks Karen for your words. timely, needed. must be addressed … God bless Ron …

    Reply
  93. I loved Karen’s topic, “Can Christians disagree?”. How we disagree , as Christians, is the challenge. We need to continue to love one another and still stay connected. Wise words to live by. Thank you Karen McNary. Gwen

    Reply
  94. This post has particular relevance to my this very day. Thank you Lord Jesus, sovereign over all things, seen and unseen.

    Reply
  95. So very helpful in understanding that our purpose is BIGGER than any of our differences…and to keep THAT as our focus as we serve.
    1 Corinthians 2:2 “All I know is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
    –the Apostle Paul even kept his message clear.
    I need to as well, stay focused. The Word, He, Jesus.

    Reply
  96. Awesome word, it’s amazing how reading this article produces so much insight into the word of God. It causes you to be still and meditate on what Karen is saying to us. Looking forward to my study of Matthew.

    Reply
  97. In our church we are reminded each time we meet, that we are an imperfect people pursuing a Perfect God. This connects me in mind to the twelve disciples as they were also imperfect and Jesus was the Perfect son of God. We have more in common than we realize and if we accept our differences as God accepts them then we will have less differences. God unites us. Thank you for your dedication to the Truth and to each of us.

    Reply
    • Well said Sally! God made differences and we can choose not to make them divisions.

      Reply
  98. I am in a new group on line. You are speaking to me directly and I thank you! I am scared for this year and yet I look forward with great expectations. I wanted a mixed group because I have been doing BSF for eight years and it’s always a very homogeneous group. Pray for me, please

    Reply
    • Praying that God would meet you in a special way through your online group.

      Reply
  99. Thank you for your words! Helps me get in the right frame of mind!

    Reply
  100. Enjoyed the Blog, yes we are different, not only our ethnicity, our beliefs can be quite different. Happy to see someone that resembles me.

    Reply
  101. Such great thoughts to ponder as we meet with our new group members this year!! Thanks!!

    Reply
  102. Encouraging article. What you have stated is important. But, we must remember Gods truths are not changing… and we shouldn’t be United just for the sake of unity. Jesus brought them together to know His truth, His gospel, not just their opinions. 😊 So, if someone is in error, we should love them enough to point to the truth of God’s word. God did this for us!

    Reply
    • Nikki,

      You’re so right… We should speak truth in love and continue to love them as we trust Jesus to make His truth clear.

      Reply
  103. Wow what wise words. Thank you. God has revealed to me through you, how my group this year can change the world too and bring others into the kingdom.

    Reply
  104. Thank you, Mrs. McNary, for the courage, wisdom and faith it took to touch upon this most sensitive, often avoided subject. For many of us, it couldn’t been given at a more appropriate time.

    Reply
  105. Thank you, I needed reminding today to rise above and set aside those things that so easily tries to set me back.

    Reply
  106. I look forward to our study in Matthew. It amazes me how I think I know a scripture and then discover a new and different meaning when God reveals it to me.
    I love studying his word. BSF is a good way to be held accountable for my study of the Bible.

    Reply
  107. Wow. This is so helpful. Brings tears to my eyes.

    Reply
  108. Karen’s blog provides us, I think, with a good framework for our focus as together we dive into our Matthew study

    Reply
  109. Very excited about this bible study .

    Reply
  110. This was so good to hear and such a good reminder that God has all of us who love Him! I hope my relationship with my close Christian sister can survive all of our differences during these challenging times! Thank you for the encouragement and reminder of God’s love and that we are all in different seasons with Him!

    Reply
  111. I like the reality of your blog: “Conflict is inevitable…but when we’re rooted in the gospel, we’re United in purpose.” I like it because we do disagree and it’s important to recognize it and talk about it. And remember to stay rooted in the gospel so we can remain United. Thank you.

    Reply
  112. I am so looking forward to this study.

    Reply
  113. Reading this Blog is a great Reward to me , has been a Revelation to questions I have had deep down in my soul—- Thank you so very much Karen . God bless you.

    Reply
  114. Shalom. Dear ones we really need to stand in the gap and pray for our selves and children of God world wide. Truly speaking there is a lot of disagreement but if we unite iearn Gods word deeply and put it in to practice. Then all shall run to the light. I Sarah 60:3

    Reply
  115. Thanks so much for sharing the blog. N blessings to all enjoy the new BFS year.

    Reply
  116. Thank you, Karen…….
    And God bless you. !

    Reply
  117. It was a real blessing to be together to study God’s word together! Last year was harder to get to know the women there with us in class. I was so glad they have open classes instead of just Zoom this year, but I will say that zoom was better then no study at all!!
    I’m looking forward to being together this year! Enjoyed our first class last Wednesday getting acquainted!

    Reply
  118. I remember the year we were CL’s together. It was a hard year for me but God has not stopped working on me. You go girl and thanks for giving to the Lord. Your blog reminded me God still Loves me.
    In HtS love and mine

    Reply
    • Hey Emmalee,

      I have found memories of our time serving together, and play dates with my youngest and your grandson.

      Reply
  119. Thank you for challenging me

    Reply
  120. Thanks Karen for your encouragement. Am still learning. In our Philippines Women’s Group we are still on Lesson 4 ” The Temptation of Jesus” So far we have no disagreement or disappointment with each othwr. I hope the situation will continue up the end of Matthew book. Praying to the Holy Spirit to always enlighten us. Th enthusiasm of the participants is soo amazing with Group Leader guiding us.

    Reply
  121. There are many challenges about the church people , diversity of traditions and culture . These leads to different interpretations of the Bible at times. Sometimes I feel left out not being understood. I pray that through this BSF, I will learn how to deal with everyone who look at things in a different way.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your honesty Grace… we want classes be placed where all feel a sense of belonging despite our culture and traditions. Our differences don’t have to divide us.. we can trust them to Jesus.

      Reply
  122. Our leader closed her prayer last night without acknowledging “in Jesus name” we pray or a likeness thereof. Is that acceptable? I was always taught “no one goes to the Father except by me” She simply stated Amen at the end of her prayer.’

    Reply
    • Dear Lorraine, thank you for asking! This sounds like a great discussion to have with your leader or Teaching Leader. So thankful for your heart honor God’s Word and His Name in all circumstances.

      Reply
  123. The reminder that Jesus changed the world with 12 people united around one cause shows the power of walking in God’s purpose individually and collectively.

    Reply
  124. Am I a member of this group? Can I order all the lessons ahead of time? I am new to the Denver area. I was in a BSF group in CA and learned so much from the scriptural lessons and from the discussions on our group. I look forward to continuing that experience here. Is there a leader of this group?

    Reply
    • Hi Cynthia!

      We would love for you to find a new BSF class in your area! Please use the “Find a Group” feature on our website to locate classes near you! https://www.bsfinternational.org/find-a-group

      Reply
  125. Wonderful and satisfying food for thought; but I believe that while there are many world views, Christianity itself is a worldview to be held and lived all the time.

    Reply
  126. Your blog is so timely, with our study in BSF, and in life in general. Thanks so much for this reminder of commonality!

    Reply
  127. Thank you Karen, I love the way you explained how we need to see one another as God sees us, we are all His children!

    Reply
  128. Thank you for the overview of Mathew so that I can more easily approach, on a weekly basis ,with my group and have the confidence to grow with them through this new year.

    Blessings for all you do.

    Reply
  129. I really did enjoy reading this article by Ms. McNary ! It encourages me to study and read more in my preparation as a BSF person to be closer to God and follow His Commands.!!

    Reply
  130. What a wonderful reminder Thank you.

    Reply
  131. This will be my 3rd year in BSF, studying the lessons writing my answers, when I Ge to class, we have different answers for the same question, none are wrong, we have different interpretations BUT all from the word of God. I thank God we are able to discuss and see another point of view.

    Reply
  132. I enjoyed the subject of the twelve disciples differences. Varity of teachings are good because it allows you to think about the way each person thinks and at the same time, their teachings are really somewhat in agreement.

    Reply
  133. “In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis (or, dubiis) libertas, in utrisque (or, omnibus) caritas.”

    “IN ESSENTIALS UNITY, IN NON-ESSENTIALS LIBERTY, IN ALL THINGS CHARITY.”

    An old saying from the 17th century period after the Reformation. while Christians can and do disagree, there are some core beliefs and doctrines that cannot be disagreed upon.

    And the essentials are remarkably simple and not plentiful, and the core of which would be
    a) the existence of the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Eternal and Sovereign Trinitarian Creator God;
    b) the divinity and humanity of Jesus the Messiah that He came in the flesh; the Second Person of the Trinity;
    c) the fact and purpose of His death and work on the Cross; salvation by grace through faith as foretold in the Scriptures ;
    d) the infallibility of the Word of God revealed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to chosen but fallible men who put them into words in the Scriptures.

    And above all, in all things, love – the humility to admit that we simply don’t know and that God has chosen not to clearly reveal them because it’s simply not essential. Just as it was not essential for Adam and Eve to have the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden. What is essential was the untainted love relationship they had with God – the love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor 13:7)

    Reply
    • Forgot His resurrection from the dead in (c)

      Reply
  134. I have studied Matthew 4times in BSF but I don’t remember that we should pray for others and those who persecute you. I’m thankful for another opportunity to study this great book.

    Reply
  135. Thank you, your words are wise. We live in such a divisive time. Jesus loves us all.

    Reply
  136. Thank you Karen for the reminder that I have a part in the Kingdom of God. I forget that too often. I need to know this everyday in my ordinary life although life not quite so ordinary with Jesus.
    I commit to specifically pray for my BSF group as we study Matthew in community in 2021. I wanted to also say thank to all the leaders who have faithfully served in BSF. You have made growing with God with women across the nations, an incredible life giving journey. I can not imagine BSF not being part of my life. God weaves His story with ours and it blows my mind how gracious and kind and timely the Lord is in our groups in BSF. So many answered prayers, so much encouragement and so much love without any condemnation. May BSF continue to thrive in Jesus name and continue to bring people closer to our Lord.

    Reply
  137. Great points and very well said!

    Reply
  138. What a good reminder to “learn from our differences and unite to the common call”! I also like what is really a prayer to “change our hearts and grow our obedience”. Thank you!

    Reply
  139. Thanks for that reminder, Karen. Of all the disciples, in the current day in which we live, I seem to relate most to Simon the zealot. We don’t hear much about him in scripture, do we?! Just sayin’ ……. 🙂

    Reply
    • Powerful

      Reply
    • So true! I was just talking with Hollie about him this past week. There’s room in the Kingdom because Jesus smoothes our edges.

      Reply
  140. I hope this year to learn more about Jesus. And to learn how to depend on wholly. Learn to learn those who mistreat me.

    And to become a better christians thorough the study of Gods word.

    Reply
    • Karen,

      Thank you for reminding us that we are all different and unique individuals, yet we are one in Christ. We can all learn from each other and grow in the body of Christ. I am looking forward to this study and how it will impact lives.

      Reply
  141. Karen’s article hit me where I needed it. I was challenged to make changes in my attitudes. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Peggy,

      Glad to hear it! The Lord knows just what we need when we need it!

      Reply
  142. I’m thanking my God daily for this group of wonderful ladies! I am excited to see and hear what my Jesus has in store for us.

    Stay encouraged!!!

    Reply
  143. Very helpful. A lot to ponder and pray about. Thank you.

    Reply
  144. Very interesting, if 12 people can put away their differences so can we , This is my first time with BSF and am praying that we will be able to focus and understand as we learn more on Mathew.

    Reply
  145. Thank you Karen for the wise words.
    “But when we are rooted in the gospel, we are united in purpose.”
    As I called my ladies today, I focused on how God Almighty called us to study His Word together as a unified group. We truly see His hand in gathering us together to grow and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
    And then I read your blog – how wonderful, such confirmation!
    Be blessed sister!

    Reply
  146. A very interesting artical, give us lots to think about while studying the gospels and bible.

    Reply
  147. So timely. I needed to read this as it has helped me a great deal Welcome to your new position.
    Dorothy

    Reply
  148. What a wonderful outline of Matthew and how this relates to us right here, right now.

    Many thanks, Karen

    Reply
  149. Thank you for reminding me that we are ALL different and we are ALL the same! There will be times when we, as believers don’t agree. However, we are called to Love ONE Another. In JESUS’S name I pray AMEN.

    Reply
  150. We must be willing to listen to Him

    Reply
  151. Wonderful challenge: heart transformation vs behavior modification
    Thru Christ’s forgiveness/cross, we have pow’r to forgive each other
    12 men set aside their differences to pursue a common call. that God used to change the course of history. hmmmm….what does. God want me to set aside for such a call as this!

    Reply
  152. What encouraging and excellent word for today!
    Thank you!

    Reply
  153. This was so wonderful to start my week of-lesson one of Matthew. Thank you so much for sending this out. Did it go to the leaders only or to the members too? It was such a reminder that we are united, all one in Christ and yet different too.
    I hope we get one of these encouragements each week.Hope that isn’t to much to ask.

    Reply
    • Hi Dixie, this was sent to leaders and to members. If you know a member who didn’t receive the email, you can contact your CA or re-subscribe on the blog homepage: bsfblog.org.

      Reply
  154. And one day all the hard work of relationships will be a thing of the past when we are home with Jesus! At age 71 and many years of BSF Bible Study and trials, temptations, failings, and learnings, I can firmly say I am still learning! Keep going! It’s worthwhile and WILL be worth it all when we see Jesus! Thank you for your words of wisdom!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you’re still with us. The elder teach the younger! Keep sharing your wisdom..

      Reply
  155. Beautiful timely, thought provoking, life changing, thank you heaps Karen. God bless u

    Reply
  156. There’s so much to learn from the Bible and every study is of tremendous value to our spiritual lives. We thank God for opening BSF doors on the international level where we can meet and study together with people all over the world for one common purpose, to glorify God and share his word with others.

    Reply
  157. Thank you for sharing this. Jesus said we are to love one another as He loved and that by this action, people would know we are His disciples. It has been discouraging at times to see how angry believers are with each other because of political and medical differences. Your words were an encouragement to me and reminded me to stay focus on what is important to God which is sharing His love, grace and truth to everyone that they would be saved, even to the point of giving up my rights and denying self.

    Reply
    • So true Evelyn. And 1 Cor 13 tells us what love looks like.. we can’t love that way without Jesus.. but what a witness to the world when we do.

      Reply
  158. Wonderful reminder of who we are and how we are to be more like HIM.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  159. What a wonderful and very timely word. So much truth here! I especially love the reminder that God reveals His truth to us at different times. This awareness should keep is humble in moments of disagreement instead of assuming we hold the truth and the other person is in error. Instead, we should go back to place/point where we agree. We will likely find there is strong agreement in the things that matter most.

    Reply
  160. Karen, thank you for your timely words of truth and encouragement about the community of believers.

    Jesus and the twelve, pioneers of kingdom community sure is a vivid example of life in the real and now for the church! Gotta wonder if of those 12 who had a wife, or another relative, peer or neighbor who weighed in on the Rabbi they followed. I’m so grateful they heard God’s voice above all others regardless of how well meaning or demeaning the voices were.

    Father, in our generation, within each of us, within our families, our churches, our BSF groups give us intense hunger to hear Your voice above all others and live in unity and community as You’ve ordained. John 17

    Reply
  161. Thank you.

    Reply
  162. This is good wisdom dealing with today’s Christian at a time where we believe in our own rights and that our opinions matter. We must see the bigger picture and submit to one another in love for unity to fulfill God’s purpose.May the Lord bless you for your commitment to Him.

    Reply
  163. This past year has had too much national and community conflict and division. As Christians we have the shared value in the life of Jesus as we begin to study the gospel of Matthew together. I truly appreciate these encouraging words and perspective!

    Reply
  164. What a wonderful opening post for our study of Matthew. I pray for myself and all of us to have a open heart for this study. That we may embrace our differences and by putting God first join together. Thank you again for this study!

    Reply
  165. This issue is more important than ever in this religious world of today.
    As the Apostle John put it in 1 John, ‘if we say that we love God and hate our brother, we are liars and the truth is not in us’.
    The basis for fellowship with the Father and each other is confession of our sin…and if we say that we have no sin, we are told that we are a liar and the truth is not in us.
    The bottom line is not what others are doing or saying, but who I am in Christ and how I love and forgive others.

    Reply
    • Amen Patricia. The only person I can control is me with the help of the Holy Spirit.

      Reply
  166. Loved this! And for such a time as this! Wonderful truth and kind reminder very encouraging.

    Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5 💞

    Reply
  167. Such timely encouragement in a country so divided on every issue. A reminder that 12 very different men with divergent views were united by Jesus to focus on His mission and put their trust in Him and obey. We constantly need reminders to Look up and keep our eyes on Him

    Reply
  168. Thanks for the commentary regarding “Can Christian’s Disagree.” Just reading the blog has lifted my spirit. You see, I am currently dealing with a feeling of frustration spiritually. I consistently pray for guidance, knowing fully well that prayer changes things!! The commentary in this blog was enlighten and I feel GOD’S answer to my issues. PTL.

    Reply
  169. It is through the sharing of differing opinions that we grow. It stretches our minds and causes us to look at things with a different perspective.

    Reply
  170. Thanks Karen: A message needed for all of us. Jesus asks us to live above our world in order to live in His world. It is difficult and presents challenges, but it is what we signed up to do! Encouraging messages like this will keep our focus on Him.

    Reply
  171. “Jesus is more concerned about heart transformation than He is about behavior modification” Oh, this is such a good reminder to me. Your message in this blog is just what I needed right now. It brought a measure of peace to my soul when surrounded by so much disagreement.

    Reply
  172. As Christians, we are to serve, not judge. We are to accept not reject. Whether we agree or disagree, we need to treat each other with kindness and respect. This helped me with a friend who needed help making a decision and her perspective is very different from mine. I only told how I felt, gave honest information, and we prayed to God to give us both His Wisdom as she and her family made their decision. When she walked away, we hugged. Later her family made a good choice that I easily supported, BUT I would have supported them no matter what they had decided.

    Reply
  173. I am excitedly expecting great >insight in this learning fellowship, I am so please to join the BSF Community. By God’s grace I will hear and share lots wit you as the Lord lead all efforts. It is my prayer to learn share and be enabled the teach and preach the Word of God to others. As the Spirit of GOD will lead.

    Reply
  174. This was very beneficial for me, How to respond when you disagree gave me the insight that was much needed. The disagreements was should we continue to ask for forgiveness or repent since Christ has paid the price at Calvary. My understanding is that we are still sinful, so Yes we need to continue to acknowledge and repent. Thank you.

    Reply
  175. I really needed to hear this today as Covid continues its rampage in my community and I just found out my church is returning to requiring masks. I am feeling conflicted and discouraged between the fear of catching it and my desire to love and serve with my faith community and BSF. This article has given my some clearness. Thank you!

    Reply
  176. I don’t understand why blogs have to be so long. It’s disrespectful to mothers with small children. The comments are helpful but much too wordy.
    Sorry just had to express what I saw.

    Reply
    • Tanya, thanks for the feedback! Have you explored our social media posts? They are much shorter. As a mom to four little ones I completely understand that struggle! Thankful for your persistence in BSF!

      Reply
  177. What a wonderfully balanced and Biblical approach to differerences.

    Reply
  178. Thank you so much for these words of wisdom so needed in these challenging times – with division seemingly at every level – political, racial, religious differences & it seems to impact everything. Sadly, I’ve never seen such division between Christians when we share the same mandate: To do justice, loving kindness, forgiveness and walking closely with our God. Powerful, impactful words to guide our interactions with each other moving forward. This guidance is just what we need now to share love for our fellow Christians and non-Christians alike. May this wisdom fill our hearts and minds as we walk together in God’s Kingdom. Amen. May it be so.

    Reply
  179. As I read this blog I couldn’t help but see the parallel with today. Jesus was born in a complex culture; overburdened with taxes and restricted religious liberties; politics divides God’s people; religious leaders varied in their interpretation of God’s word. Wow! Do we see all this today? How do we respond when we disagree? What do we do with confusion? And what does Jesus expect from us? This is a great blog and Karen’s message is right on target. I am so anxious to dig into our lessons for this year. I know they will bring insight, encouragement and peace of mind. BSF is a blessing and such an anchor of hope, truth and leadership.

    Reply
    • Betty, I loved that parallel too! So amazing how Karen highlighted that none of this is new to Jesus.

      Reply
  180. Thank you! This is encouraging as we begin our study of Matthew and everything I am experiencing right now. Thank you Karen!❤️

    Reply
  181. This is a very encouraging reminder that though we are all different in culture, gender, age, etc; our commonality with Christ should enable us to come together as the body of Christ, pursuing His truths, even in our diversity’s.
    Always relying on His lead.

    Reply
  182. For me also very timely. I realize the command to community and to worship on Sundays, but I have such a struggle with people in church leadership being the most prideful, judgmental, arrogant and exclusive. I have tried so hard to stay with a church, to be active and to get past this but have not had success. I do think my expectations are too high, I realize I am far from perfect, and disappoint God frequently. I believe I want congregations to be safe, but realize that we are all just people with our faults. I just get more frustrated when I see no growth just increased pride. This year God told me to leave the noise and concentrate on Him, He gave me these words: Pray-Listen-Trust-Obey. I am going to attend a church this Sunday, but in another community, I have not been led to a church in mine. Maybe this is God’s way to bring me back to community worship but too far away to get too involved in the “business” of churches.
    I do attend 2-3 Bible studies a week,one with a previous pastor, one with BSF, one with a local group of women. Please pray for me to be in obedience and to listen for God’s direction.

    Reply
    • Alexis, praying! You are not alone in feeling let down by people. Asking God to reveal new direction for your church home. Also thankful for your heart to pursue grace and humility. We all need that desperately

      Reply
  183. Recently, we had a conflict in our church about something. This message confirms to me that these conflicts will always be there but as a united body of Christ we can still move on together if we put our differences a side and extend grace to one another. Thank you Karen

    Reply
  184. I appreciate this. As I am dealing with conflict in my life right now.

    Reply
  185. we recently moved and I need fellowship

    Reply
    • Praying that you soon experience the warmth of a loving community overflowing from God’s love. Enjoy the study😂

      Reply
  186. Thank you Karen. Thank you for your service to BSF and sharing. This is beautiful and so on time for Such A Time As This. We serve an Awesome God!! BSF is such a Blessing!!

    Reply
  187. Thank you word of insight and encouragement. I needed it.

    Reply
  188. Very timely. As we begin to meet with others whom the Holy Spirit is also teaching His message for them regarding our study of the same materials. It is a time of learning, growing for all. As others are patient with us, we must be patient with them and we will all enjoy the experience of the width and depth of Gods word.

    Thank You Karen, and Blessings from God.

    Reply
  189. Thank you Karen for your timely words! Your emphasis on the common call is so apropos and applicable to our BSF group study, but also the culture we live in.

    Reply
  190. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty of differences in people. I have been in prayer for over a year concerning this topic. Your words have lead me to a path of healing.

    Reply
  191. I have never experienced so much Christian tribalism as there is right now. Love, mercy, forgiveness and grace are not the words I would use to describe “the church” right now. We seem to follow Christianity more than we follow Christ. I’m praying BSF follows Christ more than a specific tribe of Christianity

    Reply
  192. Thank you for your wonderful writings that prepare us for the ‘unexpected’ ways that God works, and how Jesus embraced unexpected people. I’m looking forward to the Matthew study very much!

    Reply
  193. Thank you Karen for your blog. The timing to read this was perfect for me. God always reveals to us what we need to hear at the right time. Every year as a leader in BSF & my church, I have to remind myself that everyone is different. The ladies come w-a host of different personalities, beliefs & life experiences. I try to remember to celebrate our differences🙌🏼

    Reply
  194. Thank you Karen for sharing these words of encouragement. So excited to begin new year and watch our growth in Jesus.
    And glad to hear from you again.

    Reply
  195. Thank you Karen for this word. For me it is a word in season. Conflict and difference of opinion is bound to happen among believers. But I love what you said, that “There is room for differences of opinion when Christ is our foundation.” I pray for the grace to rememberand apply this principle always.

    Reply
  196. Amen and amen. My sister in Christ, Karen, thank you for the words given to you by the Holy Spirit. It is so refreshing to hear that the distractions and opinions of this world or the personalities of people are superseded by the power of the Holy Spirit and we are united in the Gospel. Praise God for His power and the filling of the Holy Spirit that transforms our hearts that give us the love and compassion for His created people, that’s everyone.

    Unified in the love of Christ……

    Reply
  197. Thank you for your great, wise words

    Reply
  198. I loved this. It made me realize that I must add praying more for those I don’t agree with or who have different expectations than I have. Some of the godliest people I know drive me crazy and I thought just keeping my mouth shut was enough! It is just the start! Like you said “ . Conflict is inevitable. Opinions will differ. But when we are rooted in the gospel, we are united in purpose.” Thank you so much!

    Reply
  199. Mask or no mask? Vaccine or no vaccine?
    Would like to know if everyone has prayed on these issues and if so, what conclusion has God given you and were you led to any particular scripture verse?

    Reply
  200. This blog came along at just the right time. We are having disagreements about how our society is teaching so many subjects leading many away from the teachings of Jesus with our adult Christian children. Knowing that “God will reveal to us truth in different times and different seasons” was such a great reminder and comfort. Thank you for the truth that you revealed to me today regarding this difficult subject.

    Reply
  201. This was a powerful message and a good reminder that we do not all think alike and need to learn from our differences. We need to be willing to listen to the promptings from the Spirit. I am excited about this year’s study of Matthew.

    Reply
  202. Excellent reminder Karen! We, as Christians, have one united goal, learning and sharing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I remember learning in BSF that there are disputable and nondisputable items in the Bible. If it is something that does not pertain to your salvation or the doctrine of our Lord, just let it go. Loving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is what is important.

    Reply
  203. Thank you and blessings. The call to work with one another despite the differences even in a family set up is so timely for me. We shall endeavor to execute God’s plan trusting in Him. Shalom

    Reply
  204. Your posting is appropriate for the issues we face today. As a Christian I am very conservative but I am faced with different ideals daily and it can wear on my soul. Praying for change is much better than getting upset and angry with those who have different views and ideals. Thank you for the encouragement.

    Reply
  205. Jesus’s most unique (and difficult) teaching is “Love your enemies.” This requires a change of heart. Only when we get this teaching right, can we rightly follow Jesus’s command to make disciples.

    Reply
  206. I am looking forward to learning from each other, as we pursue one purpose.

    Reply
  207. So very poignant and relevant in today’s world.

    Reply
  208. This blog blessed 🙌 my heart ❤ today.
    I am grateful 🙏 to be reminded that diversity is not new and that I need to focus more and appreciate 🙏 my calling as I continue to be a witness.
    Love and kindness.

    Reply
  209. I’m in disagreement with the cultural practices that are no longer sin and accepted by my church. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, certainly, but sin is sin and that is when what anyone does places human rights over God’s word. It’s none of my business to judge, for i am a great sinner saved by Jesus Christ, redeemed, but it is hard to worship when i see what is sin in same sex relationships celebrated. Again, none of my business but it is rejection of who God created people to be, man and woman, not man to woman change or marriage of same sex. I need to trust God in this, for how do they see us as different following Christ? I have sought two different pastors on this who see a “committed relationship” as ok. So, how do I “set aside personal differences?”

    Reply
    • Pamela, this is such a struggle! I love that Christ never passive or vengeful in His approach to others. Praying that God will reveal His unique approach for you to take in these circumstances! He is not a God of confusion, praying for clarity!

      Reply
  210. God have mercy and forgiveness on all of us – Please grant us/ me your peace and joy. I pray the Holy Spirit will empower me to live the Christian life as I know I can’t do that on my own power.Thank you Jesus for loving and forgiving me .

    Reply
  211. Oh my, the best encouragement for our troubled times. Cannot thank you enough!

    Reply
  212. Excellent Words of Truth! Its relevance for any culture, any community of faith, and for any season of life is vital. Thank you for reminding us that we reveal the glory of God through our love for one another!

    Reply
  213. This is great, and we all need to unite for the last days. I do have a question, If the person who you have a disagreement with is not a Christian, and you have tried to share the gospel, just continues to create problems for you, what does God want us to do with that, A toxic and negative behavior. I don’t want it to affect my Christian walk. Cece

    Reply
    • Cece, this could be a great question for your group leader or even in your group! Praying God will give you answers through Matthew! And please share what you learn! This is an excellent question

      Reply
  214. What a wonderful encouraging read ~ Thank you Karen for allowing God to use you to give us the bigger picture about how we CAN be unified in Christ with a higher purpose! Loved your honesty too—sometimes it IS hard–I know some have experienced that feeling you mentioned “am I in the right place with the right people” when disagreements occur, but such a good reminder how God used the 12 disciples who were very different to accomplish His purposes when they surrendered to His will! Loved this article! : D

    Reply
  215. Love this blog. Thank you so much💞💞💞

    Reply
  216. Great reminder of the diversity that exists in the members of my group. It will help me towards open minded resolution should division arise. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

    Reply
  217. Very timely. I am dealing with a conflict in my church right now and needed to hear this.

    Reply
  218. Thank You Karen, This is very encouraging as our world is struggling with people who are different and
    how the Lord reminds us to look at the heart .

    Blessings,
    Marilyn

    Reply
    • Karen, Truly enjoyed and reflected on your perspective as we begin “Matthew.” Particularly on our willingness to be uncomfortable at times and the reminder that God wants our Hearts first! Thank you

      Reply
  219. Love learning about the BSF organization and their stories! Great writing!

    Reply
  220. Thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  221. We just need to remember that we all serve one God

    Reply
  222. Thank you, Karen. We need to be reminded to learn from our differences, as we are living in a very divisive time.

    Blessings of peace, Sandy

    Reply
    • You’re so right Sandy. But it’s so comforting to know that division from differences isn’t new, and the Holy Spirit gives each of us what we need to persevere.

      Reply
      • Yes, we can agree to disagree with compassion and love at the forefront. Each believer is in a different stage of growth, and only God knows hearts and intentions. As long as we agree on the truth, the Bible, God’s words written through and for mankind . We can learn to live together, as believers, in unity.

        Reply
  223. I definitely will be using these principles to pray unity over our group!

    Reply
  224. The conflicts mentioned among disciples seem originated from their ignorance even Jesus was with them. But after Jesus’ ascension and the indwelling of The Holy Spirit, the conflicts in The Acts of The Apostles seemed to have been less and easily settled by The Council.
    So today if we are humble enough before The Lord, many conflicts can be avoided. We can see the truth when we dig deep into His Word.
    Praise The Lord.

    Reply
    • Kin Sun, that is a wonderful insight. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  225. This blogpost is wonderful! It lays the groundwork for studying God’s word in unity midst very divisive times. I know this is an intentional topic and timing, but praise be to God for His beautiful provision.

    Reply
  226. Oh, my – this is exactly the conversation I had with a Christian friend yesterday – it was a tough conversation about same-sex relationships, marriage, and how they are now ministers of the church. And her woman pastor preached how God’s word, the Bible, can not be taken literally. Wow. Such interesting differences of opinion. I had to bite my tongue and praise the Lord I did. I finished with the Unity of the Love of God – we are all sinners and we are accountable. This is not heaven but while down here, called to LOVE…God first, our neighbors as ourselves. Not to judge. This we did agree on. Amen
    Thank you for your words. Beautiful

    Reply
    • Carolyn, what an amazing testimony! Praying we all find wisdom in when to speak and when to listen. So tough

      Reply
    • I have been blessed to call both Christian and gay people my friends. We all share a belief that love comes from God and that monogamous marriage is healthy for gay & straight people. I pray that all marriages are blessed with the peace of the Holy Spirit and God’s guidance in all things. All of us need to be aware of our sinful thoughts, and in confession, receive the divine gift of repentence which pivots our next best steps towards Jesus. I have to confess daily about my judgemental thoughts. I used to think that being gay was shocking, until I became friends with people who are gay.

      Reply
  227. I am very thankful and count it a privilege to be studying the Bible at Bible Study Fellowship.

    Looking forward to what God’s Word
    teaches me and grow me in obedience and see the UNEXPECTED!

    Thankful already Karen McNary for these very encouraging words!

    Reply
  228. Thank you BSF for yet another means of connection, community and continuity for our Christian walk.

    Reply
  229. Thank god at this time I needed this message

    Reply
  230. Thank you for the reminders that it is God’s mission we have been called into and when we walk humbly in it we can trust HIS timing and work in both ourselves and others. I especially resonated with the statement that “Jesus is more concerned with heart transformation than he is behavior modification.” I am praying for unexpected transformation in the lives of my class members and myself.

    Reply
  231. Enjoyed the comments. Would like to know if these comments are distributed only to leaders or the entire bsf enrollment. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Dear Jean, all of BSF can see these comments. We are grateful for a place for members worldwide to share and encourage one another!

      Reply
  232. Very good reminder!!!! Thank you!!!!

    Reply
  233. Thanks for your encouragement at a time when many church leaders disagree. We know we can find common ground through our link with Christ, and we can move forward to carry out His great commission.

    Reply
    • I agree Angela. He does it… only sometimes His timing isn’t ours…:)

      Reply
  234. Thank You and Praise God. That blog was what I needed

    Reply
  235. This is helping me deal with the various divisions in my community and church.

    “Through these words, Christ built His Church when 12 men set aside their differences to pursue a common call. Think about that: God changed the course of human history through 12 people who humbly united around His plan and will. ” That is miraculous !! Bur 12? or 11????

    Reply
    • Nancy, we had the same discussion at HQ! Counting the 12 with Judas’ replacement, Matthias. Love that you caught that 🙂 So thankful that we are invited to join that same call, God is infinately gracious!

      Reply
  236. Very helpful thoughts.

    Reply
  237. Thank you, Karen, for this blog to prepare us for the study of Matthew. Looking forward to meet my Monday group at 8p.m. because I learned so many new things about God and Jesus Christ in my Genesis study. Thank you also for the insights of those who commented here. God bless us all.

    Reply
  238. I would like to be an effective fisherman.

    Reply
    • Foo Siew Lee,

      God will honor your request…

      Reply
  239. Thank you for this beautiful blog. It really touched my heart with a message of loving each other, of forgiving each other of being unified and above all to be totally committed to our precious saviour the Lord Jesus Christ and to bring glory to him forever.

    Reply
  240. I started learning the Bible through the Bsf, now I find it a treasure house which I cannot have enough of!

    Reply
  241. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

    Reading the comments, it is quite remarkable that there are no ” disagreements” to the author’s blog which in itself is excellent. I am not sure if BSF participants are a different lot of Christians or they found “remarkable unity in disagreement”. To be sure, I read a lot of passages in the bible of disagreement amongst leaders, followers, and apostles. Yet, the singular message is to focus on above, on what is eternal. This is going to be an interesting season.

    Thank you

    Reply
  242. A beautiful preparation for the study of Mathew . It is in and through our differences we grow in our knowledge of God for what should bind us together is not our similarities but the power and live of practising Jesus’ teachings in Mathew

    Reply
    • Certainly looking forward to the book of Matthew. I am making a comeback to BSF after many years. Thank you for setting the theme and tone to help us prepare for this study,

      Reply
  243. I am new to BSF but I read the Bible anyway, relying on my own understanding . Thanks for now to have me enrolled Bible Study. As insights of others would help me understand better the word of God. Am excited to learn Matthew. 🙏 Praise God. 🙏🙏🙏

    Reply
    • Dear Adelaida,
      So excited for you to join our study this year! Praying God will deepen your understanding of His Word!!

      Reply
  244. Thank You Jesus for modelling for us how to build a community based on God’s Word and His ministry. That’s focus.
    Thank you sister Karen for the timely call for us all to rise above differences to UNITE for the common call and the Great Commission for such time as this!

    Reply
  245. Thank you BSF for our next study, the book of Matthew. I feel so blessed to be able to join with my BSF group and study the word of the Lord during COVID.
    Thank you for the support given to the world BSF family and may we grow closer to our Lord and grow in His ways through this study.

    Reply
  246. Praise the Lord for the book of Matthew. Looking foward to my study of his words.

    Reply
  247. Thank you for your message. It’s great to get together with a group of people with different views but with a common goal – to study God’s Word.
    I do so very much want God’s word to change my heart and help me to grow in obedience. I want to grow spiritually and grow closer to Him and thereby try and help others to do so too.

    Reply
  248. Timely reminder as we get started on the book of Matthew. Good to continuously encourage one another through this study and looking forward!

    Reply
  249. The statement that Jesus is more concerned about our heart transformation rather than behavior modification really strikes a chord to identify all true believers as those who are transformed from the inside out by the Holy Spirit rather than reformed by the control of their will with superficial compliance to external disciplines.

    Reply
  250. I look forward to the study of Matthew. I have studied it before and yet every time I learn something new. I am fortunate to be able to study BSF and it has changed me to become a humble person and to have consideration for others. With this pandemic, I am evermore thankful that I am a Christian and can live every day going forward with a smile on my face. The Lord has taught me that hardship, struggle and tragedy can make me understand to love all the more.

    Reply
  251. Welcome to BSF staff. Thank you for reminding the body of Christ on how to deal with differences. Indeed 12 ordinary men with heart set on obeying Jesus impacted their time as well as ours. Looking forward to studying Matthew to see Jesus, the king, revealed.

    Reply
  252. Amen for the encouraging words. And it’s a privilege for me to be part of this Matthew study. Thank you BSF!

    Reply
  253. I was reading 1st Corinthians 12 verses 12 to 26 .unity in diversity. Jesus Christ prayed that we all may be one. The oneness in the Trinity is awesome. How can I first start thinking about it and then with GOD’S heip , put it to practice. My challenge as I begin to study the Gospel of Matthew.

    Reply
  254. Excellent, timely message for today’s confused world.

    Reply
  255. Amen well said sis

    Reply
    • Amen Maam Kar, thank you for reminding that we should pray for one another..praying for our BSF new group with our differences. So, exciting to study the Book of Matthew. Thank you so much and God bless you.

      Reply
  256. Thanks for this blog. I find the comments on bridging our differences through Jesus and waiting on God’s timing relevant & highly applicable.

    I stand reminded that I am different from my brothers in BSF and also in the Christian community. But that is because God has created and allowed me to have experiences unique from others that I may use these to enrich the community in which God has placed me.

    Reply
    • So true. God created differences. Man created divisions from those differences… Unity doesn’t have to mean uniformity.

      Reply
  257. I thank God for this privilege the Lord provided me to learn and attend from BSF Book study. Praying for our new BSF group and may His word transform us daily and be like in the image of Jesus Christ.

    Reply
  258. Love the message Karen! Great reminder for us to pray for to the ladies with differences in the group as we prepare for the study of the Book of Matthew!Thanks so much for encouraging message!

    Reply
  259. Thank you for the reminder, WE ARE UNITED FOR ONE PURPOSE, TO FOLLOW JESUS – this will always resonate in my mind and by His grace, will inspire me to intentionally share the gospel and let its power transform hearts.

    Reply
  260. Praise the Lord for the book of Matthew. A reminder for us in our spiritual journey with the Lord how to love our enemies. I love the statements : Conflicts are inevitable. Opinions will differ. But when we are rooted in the gospel, we are united in purpose. Lets remind ourselves God is still teaching and moulding us into Christlikeness and into spiritual maturity. Thank God for the teaching of the book of Matthew once again thru BSF,

    Reply
  261. I am excited on this new journey and study..I believe God has something to tell me on this series of study..I am blessed already with this messages…

    Reply
  262. Thank you Karen for your important message: How can we respond when we disagree?
    Only GOD sUPERNATURAL uNEXPECTED uNITY IN DISAGREEMENT!
    Praise God. Jesus is Lord!!

    Blessings Jill

    Reply
    • That’s my passion… How to respond. There will always be areas of disagreement, but we don’t have to treat each other as enemies… We can trust the Holy Spirit do His work in our hearts and those with whom we disagree.

      Reply
  263. Indeed looking forward to my first in-depth study on Matthew. Like other books, BSF never fails to unlock spiritual treasures that transform hearts. God Bless you for committing your lives to this work. Such a Blessing indeed.❤️

    Reply
  264. Indeed looking forward to learn more about this part especially which is not easily achieved in real life when one is being hurt by others – “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

    Ultimately, through Christ’s forgiveness on the cross, we have the power to forgive one another. Conflict is inevitable. Opinions will differ. But when we are rooted in the gospel, we are united in purpose.

    Reply
  265. I never considered how difficult it must have been for Jesus stand aside while his cousin John was imprisoned. Jesus would have known the outcome because he spent so much time with his Father in prayer. He truly suffered in every way when he lived on earth. One can never plumb the depths of the love of God but we can be assured it is complete, unconditional, and eternal.

    Reply
  266. “Excellent encouragement to our beloved sisters and brothers in Christ”

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This