Bible studies come in different shapes and sizes. Often study leaders face them with a certain level of fear and trepedation. We are not sure where to start so we do one of two things. Either we
1. Rely on a pre-prepared study in a book. Or…
2. We prepare a monologue where we talk to the group.
I want to suggest two very simple questions that we use in our home group and which mean any group can study the Bible together.
1. What is going on here?
This simple question gets the group to look closely at the text and attempt to sumarise in their own words. It works on the assumption that the primary tool for Bible study is the text itself.
In most cases, a group that is reasonably Biblically literate can work out the meaning and primary message of the passage. Group members are given the freedom to explore cross references and to look at the wider context. Peer teaching is brought into play as individuals share their specific knowledge about the historical context, wider context and use of language.
2. What has this got to do with us?
This is about practical application. Actually I break it down a little. Let me give an example. Say we are reading Daniel or Isaiah. I ask what the practical application would have been to their immediate audience. I then get the group to consider how it would have been applied to the early church as they applied it in the context of Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection. Sometimes we consider how it might apply to believers at other times in history or other contexts today (an American deciding how to vote in the Presidential election last year, a believer in a country facing persecution, prison or death). We always finish up with our own small group in Bearwood today.
Discussion is often lively. It’s also leisurely as we allow people to wander a little on tangents before coming back to the main point. It’s patient allowing people to offer an hypothesis that can be tested and challenged.
It always, always leads to prayer as we see how God is speaking to us through his word today.