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).