At our church’s weekly worship gathering, earlier this evening, we decided to study the Bible together a very simple and interactive way. The entirety of our “message” was based on just one single Bible passage and four simple follow-up questions.
It went so well that I thought I’d share the lesson plan.
Basically, we just picked one Bible passage: in our case, today, it was Luke 19:11-27. First, we read it straight-through, with everyone reading along (visual reinforcement of the words on the pages). Then, without any follow-up explanation, we read through the exact same passage a second time, with Bibles closed and everyone listening to a purely aural reading of the passage (aural reinforcement of the words from the passage). Then, we asked these four simple follow-up questions and allowed opportunity for group interaction (which worked well, even though we probably had about 110 people in attendance). These were the four questions:
- How would you restate the passage in your own words?
- What does this particular passage teach us about God?
- If the message of this Bible passage is true, how would we have to obey?
- With whom do you plan to share the things that you just learned?
My hope in doing things this way was for us all to be sucked into the learning process together — not just me, the pastor, studying and studying… and preparing and preparing… all throughout the week and then sharing a “very wise, very insightful” message with the congregation while they all sit there and listen quietly. My conviction is that the Bible is way more accessible than we typically believe! You don’t need any kind of theological degree to read the Bible — or even to teach from the Bible. You don’t have to have any kind of formal “adjustment period” before you can start to get meaningful insight from your own study of the Bible. Even if today happened to be the first time someone ever read or heard the words of the Bible, I’m convinced that it could have been an amazingly powerful and insightful experience all the same! Yes, there are some parts of the Bible that may be kind of confusing, at first glance — and there definitely is some benefit to deeper study and learning from others who have greater experience with studying the Bible… But I actually think that the vast majority of the Bible is immediately accessible and beneficial for anyone who would choose to pick it up and read it. And this simple focus on one Bible passage and four follow-up questions provides a simple tool for any individual, small group, or church seeking to learn from the Bible.
To give credit where credit is due, I learned about this way of studying the Bible from an Indian church planter named Victor John. He called it a “Discovery Bible Study.” But seriously: Even Victor John would admit that it’s not rocket science. It’s not some magic formula for understanding the Bible. It’s just one Bible passage and a total of four follow-up questions. Maybe you should try it sometime…