Who does Paul think he is? He sounds a bit arrogant, writing this to people he has never met:
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – (Romans 1:11)
But then, perhaps because he realized how uppity that last sentence sounded, he continued:
…that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (Romans 1:12)
Nice catch, Paul. But, taken together, his thoughts reveal an important principle: Bible study and prayer are sometimes best done first by yourself. But if you really want to go deep, discuss what you have heard and learned with a good friend. Getting together with another brother or sister in Christ to dig into the Word, can be a surprisingly wonderful experience.
A friend of mine stops by once in awhile, just to say “Howdy.” We might head off for lunch or watch a game on TV. But, sooner or later, one or the other of us will say something like, “You know, I saw something in the book of James I’d never seen before…” And off we go. Get out the snorkels boys; we’re going deep. An hour or two will flash by as we are mutually enriched by the insights that come as we discuss together. It’s not that either one of us is unusually astute but the combination of our different perspectives becomes way more than their sum.
Give it a go. Next time you are chatting with another believing friend, bring up something that surprised you or puzzled you in Scripture. Bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised…