For many followers of Jesus, the new year brings a fresh commitment to Bible reading. Maybe you’re scheduling a short daily devotional reading or perhaps you plan to read through the entire Bible this year.
If discipleship is hearing Jesus and obeying Him, and if the primary way Jesus is revealed is through the Bible, then we need to learn how to hear and obey His voice whenever we read Scripture.
Therefore, when I read something in the Bible, the key questions are, ‘What is Jesus saying to me? And what am I going to do about it?’ My goal is not to gather more knowledge (although that is helpful) – my goal is to become more like Jesus, which means I respond to His word to me that I am reading or hearing.
As we disciple others to read the Bible, we need to show them how to always be attentive to this ‘So what?’ question – what difference is this going to make in my life today?
In GoCommunities at RiverTree (groups of 20-50+ people who are focused on reaching a specific neighborhood or network of relationships), we ask leaders not to have someone do a detailed 45 minute talk on a portion of the Bible. This is not because in-depth study is wrong (in fact, we intentionally offer in-depth training events for this very thing), but because 95% of people listen to the teaching and think to themselves, ‘I could never do that. This Bible thing is for experts.’ This is NOT a healthy model if your goal is to make disciples who make disciples.
Instead, we encourage GoCommunities to have someone simply take a few minutes to share something that Jesus has spoken to them about in the past seven days. It might have been triggered by an incident (‘I yelled at my kids’, or ‘I was really aware of God’s compassion when I was at Walmart’), which then led to reflection through the lens of the Bible. Alternatively, it could have started in Bible reading, but then the person simply tells how they are trying to live it out.
In response, the group can then talk together about their response to this ‘Fresh Bread’ from Jesus, and how it could shape and impact their lives. The wonderful thing is that anyone can be part of the conversation – and the life transformation it brings.
After doing that 10 or 15 times, including leading one or two of the conversations, think how equipped people are to in turn show others how to encounter God in the pages of the Bible!
People are hungry for fresh bread. Let them feed on the living word in practical, everyday ways, and their hunger for more will only increase.