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.

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