Bible Study

Read, Reflect, Remember, Respond
Author: Lawson Murray
Published by: Scripture Union Canada (2017)

About the book (from the Bible Engagement Basics web page):

Do Christians really know what the Bible is and the difference it can make in their lives?
Are Christians being equipped to dynamically connect with God’s Word? Is the Bible being read as God intended? According to Bible engagement advocate, Dr. Lawson Murray, the answer is no. He says, “Most Christians are unsure about how they should interact with the Bible. They’re confused about what it is, how to read it, and how to apply it to their lives.”

Vision for Bible Engagement Basics
“The vision for this book is not to help more people read the Bible,” says Murray. “The fact that only 2 out of 10 Christians will read the Bible from cover to cover isn’t really the problem. The real problem is relational - people aren’t connecting with Jesus. That’s why this book’s about learning how to engage with the Bible in order to meet with Jesus and live in harmony with His Story.”

Contents
Each chapter looks at a different aspect of Bible engagement and provides tips to help a reader read, reflect, remember and respond to God's Word.

The book is divided into 3 sections: Principles (Theme, Authority, Story, and more), Practices (Interpreting, Reflecting, Spoken Word, Journaling and more) and Paradigms (Children, Millenials, Small Groups and more).  [more...]

An interactive workshop for training listening group leaders and promoters
Author: Richard Margetts (2016)

Available in both English and French.

The training workshop described in this guide was developed in West Africa and includes input received from around the world. It is for listening group leaders (those who lead/facilitate the groups) and for group promoters (those who visit groups to encourage them and mentor the facilitators).

A listening group is an opportunity for people to get together to listen to a passage from the Bible and talk about it together. In this guide, you’ll find elements which focus on the ‘why’ of listening groups as well as the practical details of ‘how’ to lead a group.

WHY?
Group leaders need to know why they are doing what they are doing. What is the aim of a listening group? What kinds of group can we have? How will we know if a group is working well or not? Why are they gathering together to listen? The aim should be transformational Scripture engagement: that people encounter God’s Word in life-changing ways.

HOW?
The workshop guide includes sections on how to lead the listening time, how to manipulate the audio player and how to ask good discussion questions. It can be taught in an interactive way and participants should have plenty of opportunity during the workshop to practice participating in and leading listening groups.

An ideal time for such a workshop could be when new audio Scriptures in the local language have been recorded for a community and when audio players are available. It would work well at the launch of a listening group programme in a region, after some initial promotion work has been done to get churches involved and committed to running groups.

The guide is downloadable here in both PDF and Word formats and is published under a Creative Commons License, meaning that you can adapt it for use in your context.  [more...]

Studying the Bible in Small Groups
Author: Karen Soole
Published by: 10Publishing, 2015

'Unleash the Word', by Karen Soole, provides practical help and encouragement on studying the Bible in small groups. The author recommends the 'big questions' model:

  1. The "no-holds barred question": is there anything that particularly strikes you as we read the passage through?
  2. What does it say?
  3. What does it mean?
  4. So what?

Some helpful quotations from the book:

"A small-group leader is not there to lecture group members, but to help them engage with the text." (ch. 1)

"So as we approach the idea of leading a Bible study, we have two main aims in our minds: the first is to get people to really engage with God's Word so that they are rooted in Christ; the second is to make sure the Bible is handled well within a context that handles people well." (ch. 1)

"The aim in a study is for the leader to help everyone move on in their understanding, to spiral deeper into the text, to get closer to the heart of God's Word." (ch. 2)

"Whatever our temperaments we need to keep hold of two principles: we need to first really know and rejoice in God's Word, and second really know and love God's people." (ch. 3)

"Switching from a model of Bible study that asks many questions to one with far fewer is nerve-wracking - it is as though your security blanket has been taken away. It might appear structure-less, but this method has a very clear structure. People are often concerned that with so few questions the group will quickly come to a staggering halt. In my experience this does not happen." (ch. 7)

"Let's not make our studies into sessions that leave everyone burdened by religious rules but instead let us encourage each other to live in relationship with our Lord because of His mercy." (ch. 6)

Available as a printed book and in eBook/Kindle format.  [more...]

How not to write Bible study questions
Author: Richard Margetts

Article in English and French (2015).

As well as teaching the sorts of questions you should ask, it can also be helpful to highlight the sorts of questions you shouldn’t ask, i.e. what kinds of questions or series of questions can be unhelpful or uninteresting? What kinds of questions should I probably avoid if I want to encourage a good Bible study?

This article sprang from training local church leaders in preparing participatory Bible studies for small groups. It describes 15 types of questions to avoid when developing such studies, including:

  • questions that are repetitive or uninteresting;
  • questions that deviate significantly from the main point of the passage;
  • application questions too soon before participants have had the chance to really look at the text and understand it;
  • questions that jump around from one verse to another, without a clear progression towards the application;
  • application questions that have little relevance to the lives of the group members.
  [more...]
The contextual approach, from the Willowbank Report
Published by: The Lausanne Movement (1978)

From the Willowbank Report: Consultation on Gospel and Culture, under the heading 'Understanding God's Word Today: The Contextual Approach':

Today's readers cannot come to the text in a personal vacuum, and should not try to. Instead, they should come with an awareness of concerns stemming from their cultural background, personal situation, and responsibility to others. These concerns will influence the questions which are put to the Scriptures. What is received back, however, will not be answers only, but more questions. As we address Scripture, Scripture addresses us. We find that our culturally conditioned presuppositions are being challenged and our questions corrected. In fact, we are compelled to reformulate our previous questions and to ask fresh ones. So the living interaction proceeds.

In this process of interaction our knowledge of God and our response to his will are continuously being deepened. The more we come to know him, the greater our responsibility becomes to obey him in our own situation, and the more we respond obediently, the more he makes himself known.

It is this continuous growth in knowledge, love and obedience which is the purpose and profit of the "contextual" approach. Out of the context in which his word was originally given, we hear God speaking to us in our contemporary context, and we find it a transforming experience. This process is a kind of upward spiral in which Scripture remains always central and normative.

  [more...]
Manuel pour faire un bon usage de la Bible dans chaque langue et culture
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Presses Bibliques Africaines (2011)

"Ce manuel est un guide efficace pour une bonne préparation à l'étude biblique, à la méditation, à la prédication intégrant les réalitiés culturelles de chaque peuple."

This is the French version of the book Translating the Bible into Action by Harriet Hill and Margaret Hill. It is also available in Portuguese.

The French version can be obtained from Wycliffe Benin in Cotonou or from the SU department of SIL in Nairobi.  [more...]

Leading Bible-Oriented Small Groups that Thrive
Author: Orlando Saer
Published by: Christian Focus, 2010

"Orlando Saer's Iron Sharpens Iron may well become the "Bible" for small group studies--as the author's six finely wrought chapters cover virtually everything essential to initiating and maintaining healthy small group Bible studies. There is nothing arm-chair here... Saer writes from ground-level, providing us with hard-won advice that is unexceptionably biblical, intensely practical and ever-so-wise. (from a review by R. Kent Hughes)"

Orlando Saer provides a practical guide for anyone leading or wanting to lead a small Bible-study group.  [more...]

“Then their [our] eyes were opened…”
Author: Silvia Regina de Lima Silva

"In Latin America the interpretational situation is shaped by the community dimension - so we talk about reading communities. We affirm that the community is the context (literally ‘the lap’) in which the meaning of the text can rest and express its full implications. This is a passionate reading in which people study the text and explore it deeply with body, soul and emotions… ‘Were not our hearts burning within us?’"

Grassroots or ‘Popular Bible Reading’ (PBR) is a space for reflection that takes as its starting point a dialogue between life and the Bible. In this article, Silvia Regina de Lima Silva uses themes from the Emmaus Road story to describe this community-based Bible reading approach which began among the poor and marginalized over thirty years ago.  [more...]