Okay, everyone. I am SO EXCITED to share this with you!
MONTHS ago, which is a VERY long time for me, I started using this simple method to study the bible both in personal and group settings, and I STILL LOVE it.
Okay, let me pitch it first.
- Do you want to read the bible, for yourself, and find out what it’s saying?
- Do you want to search out the scriptures, FOR YOURSELF, and be able to understand them, even if no one is there to explain it to you?
- Do you want a group bible study rich with discussion about personal application, the character of God, and the meaning of the Scripture, that doesn’t wander off track and leave you forgetting what passage you even read at the beginning?
- Do you want your group to gather together and benefit from the wisdom that the Spirit of God has given to even the youngest members of the group?
- Do you want to open the bible and glean from it without feeling like you need to go to seminary and have a dog-eared Strong’s!?
- Do you want to read even the confusing Old Testament passages and actually have it give you a vision for what the Lord is doing in your life!?
- Do you want your small group to open the bible, and realize that each one of them are capable of reading from it alone, and actually having it affect their life?
Than THIS method is for you.
Let’s get started with THE SIMPLE STUDY METHOD…
These 5 little doodles are really all you need. Okay, lets go!
First, Pick a passage from the bible, and open up to it.
If you’re in a group, read it aloud. Sometimes one person can read the whole passage, or we go around the group reading a few verses each. Each person can have their own version of the bible. It’s very flexible.
If you’re alone, read it through once.
Now, we’re going to look at the first of the 5 doodles.
This exclamation point. This first doodle asks us, “What jumps out at you?” What makes you say, “Whoa!”
When I do this method in a group, I ask this question as soon as we’re done reading.
AND THEN I WAIT.
Waiting, and silence, is key.
As an extrovert, and a bible enthusiast, as the leader of a group, it’s easy to feel uncomfortable with the silence. To start filling in the gaps. To answer the questions yourself. BUT THIS IS HOW TO RUIN THE METHOD.
You know what I do?
I count to 30, silently.
By 30, someone usually speaks up. I’ve given them time to gather their thoughts, to wrestle with their insecurities, to speak up.
And answer with something I’ve usually never noticed.
The Whoa point is a great part of the discussion. It’s usually full of encouraging things, full of observations about Scripture and remembrances of things taught previously. It often brings out the main point of the passage, and sometimes reveals where the readers are.
But sooner or later, the discussion dies down, or gets off track.
NO PROBLEM! Because it’s time for point two.
The question mark. I like to call this, “Wait… what?”
At this point in the study, you read THE ENTIRE PASSAGE AGAIN.
You might be tempted not to. But if you’re serious about being steeped in the Word, about marinating in it, bathing in it, soaking, luxuriating… Okay, it’s not a bath, sorry I got off track.
If you want to walk away from your study with the phrases of this passage on the tip of your tongue, DON’T SKIP THIS.
Read the whole passage again.
And then ask this, “What is confusing, or doesn’t make sense?” What questions does this bring up?
At this point, it’s nice to have Google, or Strong’s, or a study bible. It’s nice to have other believers who’ve studied longer. I often will look up a particular verse in the Amplified version, or several versions. Sometimes the answers are easy. Sometimes they’re not.
But then it’s time for the third point.
The cross. Here’s where this method really gains speed. Read the passage again, and ask this question…
“What does this reveal about Who God Is?”
Oh, there are times that this question is simple. There are long passages in the bible full of adjectives, full of descriptions of His character.
But it’s possible everywhere.
You see, every bit of the Bible testifies to the One. To the God of Creation, the Lord of the Universe. He’s the main character, He’s the Hero. It’s His Autobiography.
And sometimes it’s so easy to miss what should be the most important.
We should read to Know Him.
So when we read the passage the third time, we take time to say, “What was God doing here? What does this tell us about Him?”
It’s not always easy. But one way to start is to be silent, and say, “Lord, show me yourself.”
The Quotation marks follow so closely on the heels of step three.
“What is the Lord speaking?”
I firmly believe that the Lord is speaking, and we just have to be willing to listen. As you read the passage for the 4th time, with your Whoas and Whats gotten out of the way, slow yourself to let the Holy Spirit point thing out, to bring to mind things he’s been teaching you that are reinforced or revealed as you read the word.
When you’re dong a group study, this is the easiest place to mess up. You’ll all be coming from different places, at different places in your walk. It will be tempting to either preach to others things you alone need to hear, or else to be silent and too scared to share. If you’re an extrovert, I encourage you to try the count to 30 thing I mentioned. And if you’re an introvert, I beg you- please speak up. The Holy Spirit in you is something we all need. Don’t keep Him to yourself.
The Arrow. What will you do with this?
Now, one last time. Read it aloud. End by thanking the Lord, by praying blessing for each other, and by committing to follow, to go out into your lives and actually obey the things you’ve been hearing in the study.
That’s really the whole thing.
I like to draw the 5 symbols on the chalk board in the meeting room, but I also keep an index card with them in my bible. Feel free to print the image below, but it doesn’t take anything fancy.
I hope this really blesses you, and that it encourages you to be in the word fearlessly!
If you try this method at home or in a group, let me know how it went! I’d love to hear.