Christian Living Bible Study Series

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 | Comments Off on Christian Living Bible Study Series

Christian Living Bible Study Series

Wandering Wednesdays Author Interview of Trina Bresser Matous

My guest today is Trina Bresser Matous, the author of the Christian Living Bible Study Series. As a long-time Bible study leader, myself, I am thrilled to introduce her to you. I hope you will enjoy hearing about her study series and how it came about.


Welcome, Trina! Tell us something about yourself and how you started writing the Christian Living Bible Study Series.

I didn’t actually set out to write a Bible study series or even a book when this project began.  For several years, my church encouraged the body to read through the Bible in a year I was asked to write notes to accompany the daily reading schedule. The notes included background information, definitions, explanations of ancient cultural practices, cross-references to applicable scripture, historical context and modern dayPaul's Letters application and were well received. Fifty to 100 copies would be taken off the racks every Sunday. People frequently expressed their appreciation when a reference helped them understand what they were reading.


After I finished writing the notes, my husband and I attended a writer’s conference where I met Eddie Jones of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. That was the birth of the Christian Living Bible Study Series.


Tell us something about how your Bible studies work.

The New Testament notes have been divided into five books with Paul’s Letters to the Early Church being the first release in the series. Each chapter of the series focuses on one chapter of the Bible and contains sections titled Background, Overview, and Insights. Following the Insights are questions intended to be a catalyst for applying the Biblical text to our lives and experiences in the 21st century.


Who is your target audience?

The series is written for those who want to gain a more in depth understanding of the biblical text. Those new to reading the Bible will appreciate the easy to read approach as well as explanations of context and useful background information. Those who want to go deeper in their understanding of the Bible will find the Insights and application questions a means of thinking through how they can effectively live out their faith.


Do you see these Bible studies as being more for individual or group studies?

The books in the series are designed for use by both groups and individuals. Individuals will find the information enlightening as they engage in their own personal reading and studying. Since there’s nothing that takes the place of the perspective and input from other believers, group discussion of the insights and questions will really enhance the readers’ faith.


Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job? What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?

I was laid off from my job six years ago. At the time I was about three quarters through writing the Bible reading notes for my church and, once laid off, used the additional time to focus on completing the project. Though I do spend a lot of time writing, I can’t say I am a full-time writer. I spend a good portion of my time mentoring women, leading Bible studies and serving as a member of my church’s restorative prayer team.


The biggest challenge I have is setting time aside to focus on writing. I have a tendency to procrastinate and have to work hard to make sure my to do list doesn’t become so full of tasks that I don’t leave myself any time to write.


The obvious point of a Bible study is to teach something through our writing, but we as writers also learn something. What was one thing you learned while writing?

Over and over in the Bible, we are encouraged to seek and do God’s will. Yet a frequent question by the participants of Bible studies I’ve been involved in is, “What is God’s will for me?” I’ve asked the same question more than once myself. This project turned out to be bigger than I ever imagined when I was first asked to consider taking it on. As I look back on all the steps involved in first writing the series and then bringing it to print, I can clearly see God leading the way. Today I am more certain of God’s will for me than I ever have been. What I have learned from the experience is that we often don’t know where God is leading when He first calls us, but if we are obedient to taking the next step He is calling us to, we may find He uses us in ways we never would have imagined.


What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Distractions are my biggest roadblock. And worst of all – I often distract myself. As I sit down to write, I think of things like, what is the weather predicted to be over the weekend? Let me check out the email that just came. What should I make for dinner tonight? The thoughts don’t come all at one, but one at a time. I start writing, think of a question, check out the answer, write another sentence or two, check the email, and write several more sentences.


When I finally realized how much I was distracting myself, I changed things to minimize the effect of my distractions. To start with I set specific blocks of time to write. Depending on the day and how I was feeling, I’d determine to write for anywhere from half an hour to two hours. Whatever the time period, I knew that at the end of it I would take a break. Some days that one block of time would be all I would write. Other days, I’d return to writing after my break.


I’ve learned to turn off all sound and badge notifications for incoming email. I’m not as easily distracted by emails when I don’t know they have arrived. I also started using an electronic reminder list for the items I think of while I’m writing that I do need to do, but not right at that moment. Employing these strategies has helped me focus more completely and with fewer distractions on writing.


Do you have a favorite or signature Bible verse? 

I’m not sure I can say I have a favorite verse – there are so many great verses that have spoken to me at various times and in various circumstances. This verse reminds me of the journey God has taken me on in publishing this book. It’s easy to think I have done something that many people dream of but never actually achieve. I haven’t really done anything. It is God who has made the way. I can also look back on several instances where the whole project could have died had I not been willing to take a step of faith.


Deut. 31:8 And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.


EpistlesWhat is one of your favorite Biblical passages (or books) to study through?

I love history and am really drawn to the Old Testament. I’ve really enjoyed reading through Kings and Chronicles. It’s easy to read these books and get lost in the overlapping reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel, what events were occurring when, how the two nations were interacting and tracking which prophet was delivering God’s word to which king. It doesn’t help that kings may be referred to by more than one name and in one or two instances kings with the same or similar names reigned very close to the same time.


As I’ve worked my way through all these details, the books have moved from a being confused listing of the kings who reigned over each nation to a narrative of God’s pursuit of His people and their sometimes pleasing, sometimes displeasing response. In the process I see much that is applicable to our current state of affairs.


How do you do your research?

I rely primarily on about 5 commentaries to help me understand scripture. At times I’ll also referred to Bible dictionaries and atlases. As I wrote these books, I wanted to ensure that a) I had a good understanding of the text itself, b) I understood as much as possible the cultural and national events that were occurring and c) how the text interacted with other Biblical texts. There is a tendency today to read the New Testament in isolation from the Old Testament. Yet it is the Old Testament that prepares the way for and adds great depth to understanding the New Testament.


How would you like to inspire your readers?

I would love for people to be renewed, energized and reinvigorated in their relationship with God the Father through the work of His Son by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. There are so many forces in the world today that attempt to tell us that Christianity is dead, there is no God or no need to deny personal pleasure because an unseen God has too many rules. In fact, those who fall in love with God and enjoy the redemption offered through Christ’s death and resurrection know a depth of joy and peace that can carry them through any trial or hardship. My prayer is that readers will grow not only in their knowledge of God, but also in their relationship with Him as well.


Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

I would have to say the day I married my husband. I was 39 when I met my husband. I had pretty much reached the conclusion that I would not be getting married. God took me on a journey to learn to be content with the circumstances in which I found myself, so I’d learned to be content as a single woman. Then I met a man who loved and cherished me in ways I never would have imagined. Had I married in my 20s, I suspect I would have settled for far less than God’s best for me. So, I’d have to say that the day I married my husband was the happiest in my life. God has brought me so much joy, laughter and love through my marriage.


What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?

At a conference about 11 years ago, I was asked to consider what I needed from God. What I needed was to know I could trust God. Within 12 hours of the conference ending, God had dramatically shown me I could trust Him. Ever since, He has been using my life’s circumstances to invite me to trust Him more and more. As I have, God has worked out those circumstances in ways I could never have imagined.


What projects do you have planned for the future?

I would love to see the Christian Living Bible Study Series cover both the New and Old Testaments. Five books covering the New Testament are in the works with the publisher. I’m hoping to add the Old Testament in the near future.


Trina Bresser MatousAuthor Bio: Trina has a Masters of Arts in Christian Ministry from Ashland Theological Seminary and is a passionate Bible teacher and writer. For over 20 years, she has shared Biblical truths in compelling and memorable ways as a Bible study leader and a member of the Restorative Prayer Team at her church. Her three week, 2,400 mile trip through Turkey in a rental car visiting historic sites including Istanbul, Ephesus, Cappadocia, Haran and Antioch, as well as two trips to Israel’s holy sites bring reality to Trina’s teaching and writing. Additionally, Trina is an avid birder, loves to cook, travel, work in her garden, and knit, especially lace. She and her husband live in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.


Book Title: Paul’s Letters to the Early Church

10 Digit ISBN: 1941103421

Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Genre: Christian, non-fiction, devotional

Release Date: Sept 2014

Book Blurb: Reading and studying Paul’s letters can be a daunting task. Verses often require a great deal of study, prayer, and meditation in order to gain an adequate understanding. But don’t lose heart! God reveals His Word to those who earnestly seek Him (Jer. 29:13). Paul’s Letters to the Early Church is designed to assist you in your relationship with God, help you understand difficult passages, shed new light on familiar verses, and gain an appreciation for statements made within the confines of ancient cultural practices. You will learn about Paul and his intense desire to see both Jews and Gentiles not only know about the work of his Savior, Jesus Christ, but also personally experience the love, grace, mercy, and redemption offered by the Father through the sacrifice of the Son. As you learn more about the history and purpose of each verse, you will find yourself growing in wisdom and knowledge.


How can readers find you on the Internet?

Facebook Author Page:




Twitter: @TBresserMatous

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