March 23, 2012

A Little Technique, A Big Difference

Tonight at Mr S’s house we took a different approach. This family has been gung-ho in obedience to God’s word each week, but has been neglect in sharing what they have learned with others. This time we got everyone involved.

Our text was Matthew 13. We took some of the Kingdom of Heaven parables and spent time learning to learn them by heart and tell them accurately. The first parable was the Treasure Hidden in a Field. It is only one verse long. One person read it. Another read in in another translation. Everyone closed their Bibles and told it to the person next to them and listened to it told back to them. Then everyone reopened their Bibles and I read the verse again.

I asked “Did you notice anything you left out? Did you notice that you added anything? Can someone tell this parable for all of us?”

Someone did and made one small mistake, which was quickly self-corrected by the group. We then asked some questions to find observations and applications.

Everyone agreed that it was easy to learn and tell.

We did this this two more times, with the Pearl of Great Value and The Net. Everyone learned the stories and told them well. We all agreed to tell at least one of these parables to five different people this week, and name the people we shared with next week.

Up to this point, there had be some reluctance on the part of the family to tell scripture. Today they mastered the technique with simple short passages.

March 21, 2012

Surprisingly Full Participation

In our second oral style inductive Bible study with this new family, we wanted to be sure to do our best to set the pattern well and encourage full participation. The family is a family of four, with two sons. The older one is a teenager and has some significant social and emotional challenges. The younger one is four years old. Perfect for playing with my son Nilson, who is five.

Our passage this time was a short one from Matthew 7. The Two Builders. I told the story in my own words, faithful to the Scripture.

We then called the two young boys from playing in the bedroom to come and do a sketch for us. I told them that they would be houses with their arms over their heads making a roof., one would stand strong and the other would fall. As I retold the story, the father made raining and flooding movements with his hands over his son. When he blew on him, representing the wind, the small boy flexed his muscles and stayed firm. As I was telling the story, the father repeated the motions over my son. When he blew on him, he fell with all the drama a five-year-old can muster. Everyone clapped and the boys took a bow. They then returned to playing.

I asked everyone to tell the story in pairs. I did not participate in this part, I just observed. (I am still deaf, did you know that? It’s been two months, but I am making improvements in my hearing.) The story is short, so everyone was able to tell the story well. The older son, who would not speak or even make eye contact last week, told the story with great precision.

I then asked if someone would read the passage word for word out of the Bible. Who do you think did it? Yes, the older son. This was touching for everyone.

After this, we asked some basic questions to find observations and applications in the passage. You would be surprised at the depth here. We ended with each person making an “I will” statement. That is, each person declared what he would do to obey the passage.

The whole study was shorter than usual, but for a group just starting out, it was just fine. It lasted about an hour.


I haven’t done a great deal of story set development. What I have found through experience here is that starting with The Four Soils, and following up with The Two Builders has been extremely effective in reaching nominal Catholics who have opened up their homes for Bible studies. Since they are already familiar enough with Jesus, these passages help set the habit of hearing God’s message by reading the Bible and obeying immediately what is understood. This has led to quickly transformed lives and baptisms.

The process of the inductive Bible study itself creates accountability and community. We model the process first, then transfer the facilitation of the process as quickly as possible to the leader of the family.

March 15, 2012

New Family, New Bible Study.

We started a new evangelistic home bible study with Bible storying this week. Challenges and blessings. I am not sure how much I want to write about this family for certain reasons, but I will write about the scripture passages we used.

We started with the parable of the Sower. One person from the family read the scripture. I told it in oral style, and then the whole family pieced it together, telling it as a group. We really only needed two or three questions for the discussion to begin and for God to move.

  • What kind of soil represents you?
  • What kind of soil do you want to be?
  • What do you need to change?

I must say. God is already doing something special in this family.

March 9, 2012


Some days, Bible storying and Bible studies just don’t work out the way you had hoped. This is one reason consistency is key. When we are regularly discipling and being discipled, we are not looking for a knockout every time we meet. We are looking to build each other up in love.

At Mr S’s house, we spent  most of the first hour just enjoying his daughter’s new found ability to hear. Her cochlear implant activation was wonderful and she could hear voices from day one. Now she is learning words, after 8 years in silence.

There are several steps in an oral inductive bible study. The three we start with are as follows.

  1. Someone reads the Biblical passage.
  2. Someone tells the Biblical passage.
  3. The group retells the Biblical passage together, correcting all details as they go.

One of the keys to having a meaningful Bible study is getting a good handle on the text. Even if we make no observations and draw no applications, if everyone learns the Biblical text by heart, we’ve been successful. For this to happen, the passage needs to be “unbroken.” That means no interruptions during the reading and the telling (especially interruptions to comment on the passage.) Scripture comes first and holds priority.

We were interrupted multiple times in every one of those three steps. Children playing too loud and needing to be corrected. Telephone ringing. Children pouting and needing to be corrected. (smiley face goes here) Questions. Medicine time, someone needs to take a pill. Water break. Bathroom break. More children interruptions. It was rough.

This was likely the worst meeting we ever had, if we were only judging by our checklist of things to do, or by how many insights we pulled out of the passage. In the end, we were very successful. We persevered through difficulty. We prayed for one another. We learned a few strategies to make the next meeting smoother. We all learned God’s Word by heart.

Oh, and our text was Zechariah chapter 3.