I've had the joy of studying 1 Peter with a small men's group at my church. Man... do we get into it! Last week we had some HARD questions come up.... the type of questions that would have the most biblically sound scholars scrambling for answers. I thought about writing on a few of them but instead I thought it would be an injustice to what that group is really for... it is a "proving ground".
A proving ground is defined by Wikipedia as a military installation or reservation where weapons or other military technology are experimented with or are tested, or where military tactics are tested.
Now while we didn't have military technology to test, there was a definite spiritual artillery being weighed and vetted. 1 Peter is such a great book to work through. The overall theme is that in the face of persecution, don't let your behavior contradict the gospel that has saved you... wow!
Our "proving ground" is a safe place. We come there to "battle simulate". There are arguments, disagreements, debates and resolutions...sometimes we are not ready for resolution, but it is safe. We are testing the equipment, and it is safe. To be honest I have been in many Bible studies that do not feel safe. I have led many that probably did not feel safe. I believe the church NEEDS to work out questions and debates in SAFE environments where the answers are searched out and wrestled over. Too often we feel the need to have the answer "right now". We need to engage in the struggle and we need to not do it alone!
Soli Deo Gloria