Sometimes we are way too dependent on curriculum, as if people can’t study the Bible unless they have a quarterly in had and the teacher’s book. Let me submit to you that Jesus would not expect us to do something that the early church could not do. Small communities of faith can get together, open the Word of God and discuss what the Bible says, means, and how it applies to life.
First Off, the SCRIPTURE Needs to be Read: out loud in the group. If time permits, read it a second time, with all members of the group reading along. Don’t go a commentary or teaching guide first.
After that, discuss what the passage is about, naming facts of the basic content of the passage. Who is mentioned in the passage? What is happening? Who? What? When? Where? are all good questions at this point. Try to summarize what this passage is about in your own words.
Second, Discuss What we Learn from this Passage of Scripture:
Years ago I was a part of a group called MasterLife where we studied the Bible very seriously over the course of one year.
Here is a Useful Tool for Meditating on Scripture: praying for wisdom and surrendering to the Holy Spirit so that you make the Word come alive in your heart.
- Perimeter the verse: read what comes before and after the verse on which you are meditating.
- Paraphrase the verse: summarize and put it into your own words.
- Pulverize the verse:
- Emphasize each word by exclamation.
- Pick two or three words that represent God’s message.
- Ask about the words – who? what? when? where? why? how?
- Personalize the verse: Put yourself and God directly into the verse on which you are meditating.
- Pray the verse back to God: sighting adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.
- Parallel the verse: locate any verses that are on the same theme as the one on which you are meditating.
- Problems in the verse: of doctrine, reproof, correction and training in righteousness which need to be addressed.
- Possibilities of helping others through the verse: through prayer, word or deed.
Other Questions Worth Asking Are:
- What warning, command or promise do we find?
- What is the example to follow or to avoid?
- What is the main truth of this Scripture?
- What is the universal lesson or truth we find in this passage?
- Why is this passage in the Bible? Why is it in this section of the Bible?
- What does this Scripture tell us about the character of God or how he relates to people?
- How does this passage point to the person and/or work of Christ?
- How can we pray this verse back to God?
- What is a new thought or teaching I have discovered in this passage?
Now Comes the Difficult Part: how to make this passage real in your life. Observation and interpretation are not enough here, we MUST move on to application.
- What is an example in your life where this passage applies (home, family, work, character)
- Ask yourself questions that demand action: like, “How will I life this passage in my life?” not “”Will I live this out in my life?”
- Write out a specific action plan to accomplish what you sense God telling you to do. We can make plans and have good intentions, but unless we write these down, they will be forgotten in less than a week.
- Write a prayer asking God to help you live this out and accomplish all he wants to do in your life.
- Then, just do it! Trust God to help you accomplish these goals. Remember that we are not looking for good stuff to do for God, he is the one who desires to work through you to accomplish his purposes.