You may also listen to this 4-minute devotional by clicking here
ACTS 8:30-35 (ESV)
“Philip ran to [the Ethiopian] and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him…The eunuch said to Philip, ‘About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.”
SIMPLE BIBLE STUDIES
Can you remember the first time that you made food for someone else? Perhaps it included following a recipe. Perhaps it was assembling items to put between two slices of bread. As you know, food preparation can either be simple or complex. For example, cooking a can of soup requires only a few steps. As long as a person can use a can opener and operate a stovetop safely, hot soup can be made in just a few minutes. However, cooking homemade chili is a little more involved. Both meals are accessible for anyone who has a kitchen and the right ingredients, but the chili will likely only be made by someone who has more experience in a kitchen.
Leading a Bible study is a little like preparing a meal. The goal is to feast with others upon God’s Words and let the truth be sweeter than honey (Ps. 119:103). But what steps are necessary in order to ‘feed’ others?
Over the past century, many Christians have become convinced that leading a Bible study is only for the ‘experienced chefs.’ Perhaps some are intimidated by the experience of those in full-time ministry and believe that a successful study must include a seminary-level education. Perhaps some are overwhelmed by the complexities of Christian curriculum which are often full of background info, diagrams, and discussion questions.
Biblical education and additional materials are helpful in leading Bible studies. However, they aren’t the main ingredients which make Bible studies spiritually transformative. Humility before the Lord and access to the living words of God can be sufficient.
Consider that some of the most effective disciple-making movements across the world are the ones with the most basic elements. One specific example has been called ‘Discovery Bible Study’ (DBS). This method of studying the Bible involves
1) READING the Bible aloud together,
2) RETELLING the passage,
3) REVISITING specific words and verses by asking ‘What is this saying?’
and 4) RESPONDING to God by making a commitment to obey what was revealed by God.
In many ways, this is what is modeled for us in Acts 8. The Scriptures were read together. Questions were asked with humility. All of this ended with Philip sharing the gospel and the Ethiopian getting baptized!
Certainly there are times when we need to check our theology with more mature Christians. But if Bibles are opened and hearts are genuinely seeking the Lord, God will lead people to the truth of Jesus.
Would you consider praying for the next opportunity to read the Bible with a spiritually hungry, un-churched friend? Who knows that could happen if we keep things simple!
Lord, take our lives and let them be consecrated for Thee. Through Jesus, Amen!