University Chaplain composes Bible study for Presbyterian Women

Release Date: 1/17/2012

Clarksville, Ark. --- University of the Ozarks Chaplain the Rev. Nancy Benson-Nicol recently developed and wrote a Bible study for the Presbyterian Women's publication "Horizons" that will debut worldwide in early 2012.

The Rev. Nancy Benson-Nicol.

University of the Ozarks Chaplain the Rev. Nancy Benson-Nicol recently developed and wrote a Bible study for the Presbyterian Women's publication "Horizons."

According to Presbyterian Women, Horizons magazine is a bimonthly publication that "provides information, inspiration and education from the perspective of women who are committed to Christ." The magazine produces a Bible study each year for individual or small-group study. Written by leading theologians and pastors in the Reformed tradition, it provides contemporary research and background information along with probing questions for what the texts have to say to us today. Use Bible studies from previous years to pursue your own questions and interests.

Three years ago, the Presbyterian Women Coordinating Committee asked Benson-Nicol to write a Bible study centered on the theme of community as it appears in the General Epistles, which are 1 and 2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude.

Inspired by the verse 1 John 3:1 that says "see what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are...," Benson-Nicol decided to write the study with the guiding metaphor of family.

Benson-Nicol's Bible study, titled Dispatches to God's Household: The General Epistles, "examines the nature of Christian community, as it is described by the General Epistles, through the metaphor of family.  It contains nine lessons, and each lesson explores a theme related to some aspect of family life," she said.

Among the lesson themes are topics such as fatherhood, childhood, brothers and sisters, housing and hospitality, and elders.

The study will be read and discussed by Presbyterian Women Circles as well as other groups across the globe. Presbyterian Women Circles, or PW Circles as they are known, are groups of Presbyterian women who meet regularly to take part in Bible studies, mission work, and other spiritual disciplines.

"My hope is that this study will introduce participants to the joys, challenges and, ultimately, the beauty of each of these letters, which are often neglected and overlooked, both in the contexts of public worship and in personal devotions," said Benson-Nicol.

Benson-Nicol will tour parts of the country during the upcoming year to promote the Bible study.

"I will be so excited to learn of the ways in which participants engage the Bible and equip one another to grow together in faith and love, in service to Christ," she said.

Benson-Nicol has served as University chaplain since August 2006. She earned her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and her master of divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School. She previously served as associate pastor at First United Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, Ark.