[Repost from 2011]
Last night we had a home group bible study with the folk who have graduated from Christianity Explored. Here's what we've been studying:
Week 1: Galatians
Week 2: Ephesians
Week 3: Philippians
Week 4: Colossians
Last night was week 5: Romans 1-4 (though we stopped at the end of 3 because everyone was blown away!)
When I tell them that the other home groups study half a chapter at a time they are amazed! "But that's like stopping after three paragraphs of a letter!" they exclaim. That is precisely what it is!
Everyone prints off the chapters for that week and reads them with a pen to hand. They circle things they don't understand and underline things they love so they come to the evening quite well prepared.
In the studies we just read a big chunk and then discuss, read a big chunk then discuss. We've been getting through 4-6 chapters in a night.
Some outside the group have been impressed by it, but also have raised valid concerns:
Question: How long can you keep this up?
Answer: The bible's a big book.
Question: Not many people could lead a study of a whole book of the bible, doesn't this concentrate leadership in the hands of the trained few?
Answer: Actually it puts the bible in the hands of everyone. People have really taken responsibility for trying to get a handle on the passage before the meeting and they've been great at answering each other's questions.
Question: Not many people could field the range of questions that would be generated by study of a whole book. Leaders might be caught out by the number of different topics that could arise in any given week.
Answer: Schedule in some weeks every now and again where you tackle the most recurring topics from the last couple of months.
Question: Won't this mean you miss nuances and details?
Answer: Yup. But you'll be revisiting the same material a lot more often too.
Anyway, I commend it to you. Not least because last night was devastating. We began in chapter 15 to get some context and then moved through Romans 1 to 3 the way it was intended. It crushed us to dust and then lifted us up in Christ. I can't now imagine spacing that out over three weeks!
My advice: move away from the morsels. Get stuck in!
1 thought on “Moving away from morsels”
YES! It's amazing what new Christians will do, that we so called 'established' Christians won't do, or for some reason, find bizarre or difficult. Like reading more than one chapter at time. I'm constantly rebuked by my five year old son's hunger to read lots of scripture. At night we are reading around about 2 chapters of the full text of the bible, 1 OT and 1 NT passage and he just wants to keep going.
I need to point back also to the RBT scheme that Steve Levy and co at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church have been pioneering. Reading whole books at a time, and then discussing much as you've described above, then when it comes to a more structured answering of questions, we look at what the Bible says that reading the Bible should do, and take those things seriously. Which ought not to be so revolutionary, but hey - it's a sign of the times.
Here for the sake of your good readers, Glen, are those questions once again:
1. What did you learn about Jesus (Luke 24:45-47)
2. What did you learn about yourself (James 1:23 and 2 Tim 3:16-17)
3. How were you corrected and rebuked and how do you need to change to be the man/woman of God thoroughly equipped for every good work? (2 Tim 3:16-17)
4. What did you learn from the scriptures which will help you to endure and be encouraged (Romans 15:4)
5. What did you learn that will teach you to do works of service to build up your local church? (Ephesians 4:11-16)
6. What have you learned that helps you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind? (Matt 22:37-40)
7. What has helped you love your neighbour as yourself? (Matt 22:37-40)
Or if you want a shorter way of doing this, for example, to do with little children, then you can reduce those questions down to:
What did you learn about Jesus?
What did you lean about church?