Discovery Bible Studies are a great tool to teach people how to read, obey and share the Good News of the Bible. There are multiple story sets that go from Creation to Christ, as well as many others, that facilitators can use to explain God’s redemptive plan and lead people to understand what Christ did on the cross. Discovery Bible Studies have initiated many people around the world giving their lives to follow Jesus. Sounds easy, right?
Not as easy as it sounds…
While the DNA of a Discovery Bible Study is made to be easily reproducible and does not take trained seminary graduates to teach the Bible, for those beginning the study with their first batch of non-believers from an unreached people group, you begin to see just how difficult “simple” can be.
You see, in a Discovery Bible Study, the Holy Spirit is the teacher. We do not go outside of what the text says and we allow the student of the Bible to come to their own conclusions as they read and discover what the Bible says. If they have a question, we point them straight back to the text we are reading. Again, this makes for great reproducibility by those who learn with this method. However, it comes with challenges for us who have grown up learning the Bible and being taught the Bible’s principles from trained pastors.
Coming to the wrong conclusion…
The first Discovery Bible Study I did was with three Chinese students. After we read through Genesis 1 in the first week, I was feeling good. They sat amazed at the beauty God created and how orderly it operated. They even all shared it with family back in China who also responded well to the story. This Discovery Bible Study thing was going to work!
Week 2. We were studying Genesis 3, and I thought things were going well, until one of the students spoke up and said, “I think the serpent was good and trying to help Adam and Eve gain wisdom and knowledge which are good things to pursue.” Noooo!
As the facilitator I am not supposed to correct, I am supposed to let the Holy Spirit guide. I bit my tongue. Hard. Then the sweet words of the other student spoke up, “I do not think that is right. I think the serpent was deceiving them. Things were good for Adam and Eve before they had the knowledge of good and evil. After it was bad.”
I breathed a big sigh of relief and was reminded that the Bible does not need to be explained by those who hold a theology degree, but it can be explained from the mouth of one who is hearing it for the first time with God’s grace.
Discovery Bible Studies – hard but worth it
Discovery Bible Studies can definitely be hard for us to entrust the teaching and conclusion making to the Holy Spirit. It is a great lesson in realizing how much we are not needed for God to move in someone’s life, but also how much God chooses to use us nevertheless.
Despite the challenges, I have already seen the fruit of this Discovery Bible Study method. People on the other side of the world are hearing the truths of Scripture for the first time. Who knows what God will do through this? Maybe God will use this Bible study to start church-planting movements overseas. Regardless, it is our chance to trust God and truly see the beauty of the Bible whose words are for all people everywhere.