We learned some Discovery Bible Study basics in a previous article, including its reproducible nature and effectiveness among unreached people groups. This week, I will share my favorite aspects of Discovery Bible Studies: individuals getting to know God in a community setting.
Nothing is better or more beautiful than knowing the person of Jesus Christ. Yet for my four Chinese students, knowing Jesus has never been a reality. This is true for millions of unreached people groups across New York City. Reality changes, however, as my students discover the Lord through Discovery Bible Study – thanks be to God!
Foundations through Discovery Bible Study
Discovery Bible Study has laid a foundation for my international students after only four weeks. Because the text is the teacher, we go in-depth with every passage of Scripture we study. After reading the story, each of us retells the story in our own words. This solidifies the story in our hearts and minds. The retelling is so special for me as I begin to hear what God is teaching each student.
Once the story is established, we ask six questions to help us discuss the passage and grow together. The first three questions relate to what we discover about God and people through the text. My heart rejoices as students talk about the Lord with understanding and hunger. As more questions emerge, I point my students back to the Bible so they learn to look for answers themselves.
The last three questions in the Discovery Bible Study teach personal application and disciple-making. The model emphasizes application of what we learn. This enables heart changes even as worldviews shift. Of course, following Jesus is the only way to true, lasting heart change. Still, I have been encouraged to see students’ hearts move toward God as they apply Scripture to their lives. Sharing the story with a friend or classmate lays the foundation for making disciples. And it may ignite spiritual hunger in another!
Our final step in the study occurs the following week as we talk about who we shared the story with and how we applied it to our lives. Learning accountability as well as sharing praises, struggles, and needs cultivate true community. We lay spiritual foundations every week as the Holy Spirit teaches us through the Bible and each other.
Discovering Jesus in Discovery Bible Study
Many of the truths of God’s character have unfolded through the stories of Creation, The Fall and The Flood. My students already see how God creates, saves and makes wrong things right. They shared that it was good for him to punish people for eating the fruit and to destroy the earth because of man’s wickedness. Yet they also pointed to God’s love for Adam and Eve in still providing for them.
Though the words sin, redemption and Jesus have not been used, these ideas are emerging simply through reading the Bible. Genesis 1 shows God bringing order out of chaos and establishing man as the glory of his creation. Genesis 3 shows the consequences of disobeying God, and points to Jesus’ eventual victory over the serpent. Genesis 6-8 gives a picture of God’s mercy toward the righteous and his salvation for those who look to him.
The person of Jesus is written all over Scripture. Through Discovery Bible Studies, my students are beginning to see Gospel themes. I fully expect the Holy Spirit to bring these pieces together week after week as we discover what the Bible says about God. As Jesus reveals himself through each study, I believe He will bring salvation among my students. What joy it will be to see them know Jesus and his love for them and love him in return!