Women’s Ministry Q/A #34: Women’s Bible Study Member in Questionable Moral Situation

Recently at a YOU Lead women’s leadership training, we had a panel of leaders answering questions submitted by attendees. Several past and upcoming posts address those and try to help answer them. 

Today’s question:  If a Bible study member, who considers herself a believer, is living in an immoral situation (not yet divorced, living with her boyfriend), should we let the Holy Spirit convict or gently confront? Is there a danger that we allow her (or others in the study) to assume she’s living in God when we know this is sin?

Don’t we wish we didn’t have to even address issues like this? But this is the reality of the world we live in , even in the church! So, the answer is yes!

First of all, YES, the Holy Spirit is the only one who can convict of sin.  As leaders, we must be praying that He will do that in all sinful situations we see in our groups we lead. But we must remember our job is not to judge or convict.

Second, we must present truth continually, no matter whose toes we step on in the process. But we must present truth IN LOVE, not out of our anger at the person’s actions. Our job is to teach the Bible, then the Holy Spirit convicts hearers of actions He wants to change in their lives. Sometimes this might even involve face to face loving confrontation. This might just be you and her, or you might take another leader with you.  Make sure that you show her love first and foremost and let her know that no matter what, you will continue to love and pray for her. She also needs to understand that she is welcome in your Bible study whether she chooses to make better choices or not.

We have to remember, where will those struggling with sin hear truth if not in personal and group Bible study? Her presence in the group may just be the hint that she truly does want to know and live out that truth.

How have you handled a similar situation?

When Godly People Do Ungodly Things (Bible study)
The Bondage Breaker, Neil T. Anderson
Breaking Free, Beth Moore
Heart of the Problem,  Henry Brandt, Kerry L. Skinner
Women Reaching Women
Transformed Lives


  1. Janis K. Walton says

    How have I handled this situation?
    With love, with honesty, with restoration in mind.
    Should we say something? Absolutely. I firmly believe that we must be following Biblical guidelines for leadership. There is a difference between someone attending a Bible Study and a Bible Study leader. Would I say something to an attendee? Yes, when I had the opportunity and after relationship building. But I would give her time and let the Holy Spirit deal with me and with her to lead us both.
    In leadership, I assume you have already done the relationship building. That’s where good leadership begins. And since I have that relationship, I am compelled to confront my sister, If I don’t I do her a grave mis-service as her friend, as her leader and mentor and as her Christian sister.
    She might be angry. She might accuse me back, whatever she might do is not the issue. The heart of the issue is redemption, love and rescuing her from the bondage of sin.
    Yes,I have a friend / leader that I had to do this with. And we are great friends to this day. The process took longer than I wanted. She didn’t immediately deal with it. But we are better friends today then we were before the issue came up. And she is growing in Christ.

  2. Chris Adams says

    Thanks SO much for the insight and voice of experience. I didn’t do this so well myself one time and have always regretted it! Great to hear from you, Jan!

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