Four simple questions that will transform your bible study

13th May 2024

Having been running Discovery Bible Studies for several years, with both long-standing believers and people who have never encountered scripture before, it never ceases to amaze me how powerful it is. Many people dismiss it because the questions are always the same and appear on the surface to be so basic, however, for those who do choose to engage there is surprising depth in the apparent simplicity. So what are the questions, and why exactly are they so powerful?

Question 1: What does this story tell me about God?

The first question steers us to the heart of every Bible study. It is the reason that we come to the Bible in the first place. Having the question as a focus directs our attention. Even in passages where on the surface they do not seem to say much at all about Him. Once you start looking, however, God's character is deeply stamped in every passage.

Question 2: What does this story tell me about people?

The Bible is, largely speaking, the story of God and his interaction with his creation. When we ask this question it acts as a mirror, it shows us who we are and why it is we desperately need God. For many, this question becomes intensely personal. What does this story reveal about myself? It shows us all the ways in which we fall - but often, also all the ways that God pulls us back up again.

Question 3: If this is really God's word, what changes would I have to make in my life?

This question, perhaps more-so than the previous two, is where Discovery Bible Study departs most from traditional Bible Study. Often we come to the Bible to learn about God. This question challenges us to obey him. It is not just an academic study. It is the start of true discipleship. What is He asking of us and how are we going to put it into practice.

On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

John 15: 20-21 (NIV)

For some this question is a step too far. I have heard people argue that a focus on obedience makes people focus on a works-based faith. Scripture, however, is very clear. Yes, salvation is 100% the responsibility of God. Yes our works will not ever suffice. Yet the obedience that comes in gratitude for our salvation is plainly striped through scripture.

One of the things we find is that as people genuinely engage with this question it transforms them. Coming to scripture with an attitude which not only expects God to speak directly through it but intends fully to put it into practice leads to a deep level of personal discipleship.

Question 4: Who am I going to tell?

The final question can be equally transformational. When I started using Discovery Bible Study, I though that this question meant re-telling the story to others. As I have engaged with it, however, my understanding has grown. Often the most effective telling, is not so much the recitation of a learned story, but the sharing of an experience. This passage changed my life, and this is how.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”

John 4: 39 & 42 (NIV)

When people are truly transformed by an encounter with Jesus it is not just their words which tell the story. The words are important because they show the reason for the transformation - but it is the combination of both which is powerful. It is easy to refute a written story. It is much harder to refute the reality of a changed life

It's all about discovery

If you never try it, you will never know. If you only try it with Christians you will probably never see its full potential. Around the world huge numbers of ordinary people are re-engaging with scripture, discovering God for themselves, obeying him, telling others and making disciples who make disciples.

Why not give it a go? Get the Discover App on your phone, gather some friends and start studying scripture with the expectation that it will utterly change you.

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Scripture quotations from the New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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