Why do most discipleship plans that people come up with have a light does of actually reading the Bible? In fact, why have I been guilty of putting a book, article before individuals rather than simply helping people get to a place in their lives where they can read the Bible for themselves…not completely independent of any leadership or guidance but in a “self-feeder” type of manner as Howard Henricks states in his book Teaching to Change Lives. If the Bible is all we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3) and if the Bible contains the words of eternal life (John 6:68) and if the Bible is who we grow up in our salvation (1 Peter 2:2) then shouldn’t our approach to discipleship (1) be more simple and (2) be more about Bible consumption and education?
To that end, Oak Park (the church where I serve) just rolled out a “new” discipleship initiative: Bible reading groups.
Why are we doing this? Here’s several reasons: We’re doing this because God’s Word is powerful and when people are exposed to it, they find salvation in Jesus, they are sanctified in their faith, they are trained for ministry and they find community in relationships with other Christians.
How are we doing it? Here’s some documents that will further explain what we’re doing:
- A passage breakdown of the Gospel of John (this commitment to read the Bible in this particular way will go for 9 months)
- Here’s some Introductory thoughts on the Gospel of John so that people will more readily understand this Gospel
- And here are the Bible Study Questions that each participant will answer for each passage
God has been gracious to allow me to do many things over the years in ministry and by His grace, I’ve seen fruit but one of the most encouraging and fruitful discipleship initiatives I’ve facilitated has been simply gathering men together where we read an assigned portion of Scripture, answer 3-5 questions and then each share over the course of an hour. It’s allowed me to teach on a multitude of theological topics, as well as teach hermeneutics (without calling it that).
4 thoughts on “Read the Bible? What a novel discipleship plan?!?”
I also find the congregational plan to read the Bible together in two years you have quite good. “Why do most discipleship plans that people come up with have a light dose of actually reading the Bible?” I hypothesize that it’s because most pastors do not have a biblical theology. They are not highly literate or intellectually curious in their own right and feel insecure in trying to study the Bible themselves– even if they went to Seminary (particularly before the ’90s). As such, they avoid expository sermons and focus on topics where they can voice their opinions from the pulpit and call it spiritual conviction. They can reach into their filing cabinet and pull out an “old faithful” or hit on something they can get “Amens” for rather than spend time studying to teach. They do not mentor younger pastors and leaders in studying the Bible and so those younger leaders don’t sense its importance; thus the cycle continues.
Justin, great points AND I agree w/you my friend. I’m not an expert in the Bible and willingly acknowledge that I have tons of things to learn AND it’s been encouraging/challenging to read through the Bible w/some faithful brothers that have brought questions, insights up…good stuff.
Hope you’re well.
Hey Nathan. I am excited for Oak Park and trust God to get great glory as His Word is read, treasured, meditated upon, applied and obeyed. At Corydon Baptist Church, we have what we call DMDs (Disciple-Making Disciples) Groups. They are gender-specific, 2-4 men or 2-4 women meeting bi-monthly to pray together, read the Bible together, and build gospel accountability into one another’s lives. Though only about 30-40% of our members are currently participating, God is blessing and growing those who are engaged and they are starting to encourage other members to give it a try! I long to see a revival of true hunger for God’s Word in our churches. Praying with you to that end.
His & Yours,
Keith, AMEN bro! Love your DMD’s…we’re seeing a palpable hunger for God’s Word and it is very encouraging. We need to get together sometime and get to know one another.
My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org