Missionaries training people how to study scripture

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2001

Spencer and Joan Jones are missionaries in Natchez.

But they’re not here to build churches or to incorporate people into a certain denomination.

&uot;Our thing is to build people and that’s what we’re looking to do,&uot; Joan Jones said.

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The couple moved from Maryland to Natchez with their son, Auri, in 1999 as missionaries for American Missionary Fellowship.

The organization dates back to the start of American history and its missionary families serve across the country.

The Joneses, are AMF’s first missionaries to Mississippi in some time even though they have been involved with its mission activities for years.

Joan Jones, who is from Meridian, Miss., said the couple remembers looking at an AMF map of Mississippi and realizing that no such missionaries were present in the state.

&uot;The call was so great for us … we dedicated to come to Mississippi,&uot; Spencer Jones said.

Their mission is to train people how to study the Bible, not just in Natchez but across the state.

&uot;Our goal is to focus on teaching people how to the study the scriptures for themselves and how to do it correctly,&uot; Joan Spencer said.

They do this through the use of the inductive study method which requires taking apart the scriptures word by word, studying the logical flow and also studying the time period in which the scriptures were written.

&uot;In looking at the scriptures that thoroughly you begin to understand what holy means,&uot; Joan Spencer said. This in turn helps Christians learn how God wants them to live their lives.

&uot;Through a thorough observation of the text of God’s word, you get an accurate interpretation so you can accurately apply God’s word,&uot; Spencer Jones said.

To do this, the couple provides workshops to the community and churches in the surrounding area. They teach the inductive study method. They also teach classes that apply the method to a book of the Bible through Laity for Sound Teaching – the couple’s division of AMF.

The idea is for the people who sit in the pews to understand that they can study the scriptures for themselves.

&uot;You don’t have to be told what the scripture says,&uot; Joan Spencer said. &uot;If you will sit down and discipline yourselves and study you can study on your own.&uot;