Tag Archives: discipleship

The Six Steps of Bible Interpretation

The process of studying the Bible according to the author’s original intended meaning is often referred to simply as interpreting the Bible literally. Mike Stallard notes that the method for this type of literal interpretation is called the grammatical-historical method of Bible interpretation: “In modern times, evangelicals have spoken of literal interpretation as grammatical-historical interpretation to indicate that there exists both a grammatical-language context as well as a historical context which must be taken into account to read a passage.”[1]

This method is the best way to consistently discover the message that the author—God, ultimately—intended for us. You likely use aspects of this method automatically without realizing. Formalizing an approach to understanding the Bible will help you be a better student of the Bible.

For more about why the Bible should be interpreted though the grammatical-historical method, check out Does it Matter How I Read the Bible? and The Author Determines the Meaning: Now What Do I Do About It?

Bible Interpretation is More Science than Art

A word that is used to describe Bible interpretation is “hermeneutics.” That term—hermeneutics—“is from a Greek word, hermeneuo which means to interpret or to translate, to give the meaning. Keep Reading

Recommended Short Reads (8/8/2016)

5 Lessons My Parents Taught Me About Sexuality Jaquelle Crow outlines how her parents helped her have an understanding of sexuality from a Christian worldview. “There were certain truths they impressed on me—some implicit and some explicit—that were crucial for catching a Christ-centered vision of sexuality. Five stand out most brightly when I reflect on the past 18 years.”

Biblical Friendship Cannot Be Hacked “Surely something as biblical and supremely human as the discipline of friendship is worth recapturing. But where do we begin? How can we reclaim the biblical contours of such an important relationship?”

Two Ways of Thinking “There are fundamentally two ways to approach any concept, and only two. We can start with God and His Word, or we can start somewhere else; and the ‘somewhere else’ usually boils down to ourselves.”

My Favorite Book for Discipling New (and Old) Christians First, like I mentioned, the book really does cover all the basics. Not only does it include a section on taking up the cross and following Jesus, but also a section on why we can trust the Bible. Not only are the topics of Bible reading and church involvement covered, but also Christian sexual ethics and … Keep Reading

How Jesus Prepared the Disciples for Ministry at Pentecost and After (A Comparison of Matthew 10 and Acts 1-8)

There is a great deal of similarity (or, perhaps more precisely, correspondence) between what the disciples were taught in Matthew 10:1-33 and what they experienced in Acts 1-8.

To Help Get your Bearings, Here is a Quick Summary of Acts 1-8

Acts 1: Jesus teaches the disciples for forty days after the Resurrection and before the Ascension. There are one hundred and twenty believers in Jerusalem following Jesus at this point. They are told to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2: At Pentecost (or the celebration of the Feast of Weeks), the church is born as a result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Three thousand people believe and become part of the church.

Acts 3: Peter and John are preaching with sign healing at the temple in Jerusalem.

Acts 4: The number of men in the church is five thousand (presumably up to that many women in addition, as well). Peter and John are confronted by the Jewish council. The council—intimidated by the people—merely tells them not to speak in Jesus’ name. Peter and John plainly state that they will listen to God (not men) and continue to Keep Reading

When Should I Make the Effort to Correct Error?

If we are going to help someone grow in their Christian faith or study the Bible with someone—whether it is with an unbeliever or a new believer—we are bound to encounter some doctrinal and theological error along the way. Even if one has not given much thought to that possibility, we intuitively know that when we do encounter serious error at some point, it is our duty to lovingly correct the error in such a discipleship relationship.  We also know that we don’t want to be overbearing or perceived as constantly waiting to slap wrists with a ruler. So, how do we know when it is important to address matters of biblical truth?

Prioritize by the Person’s Situation

For the unbeliever, we are not dealing with a new creature in Christ that is aided by the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. We can’t expect them to exhibit Christian behavior or proclaim sound Christian doctrine—and we shouldn’t place that burden on them. We really should focus on communicating the gospel message to them. To spend time talking about what the Bible has to say about church discipline, for example, would be unwise and unfruitful.

Prioritize by the Impact of

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Help for the “I’d Like to Read This Commentary, but I Don’t Understand Some of the Technical Terms it Uses” Problem

When studying the Bible with someone, it is often helpful consult a Bible commentary, book, or essay that is intended for an academic audience or that uses technical language. The advantage to using theological terms—and this is exactly why writers use them—is that they efficiently convey an idea with precision. Instead of saying “reading a meaning into a text that is not present or intended in the text,” a writer can simply refer to that idea by using the word eisegesis. Once you know what the terms mean, it actually makes for easier reading.

The problem is that such words are rarely used by your average layperson. All those unfamiliar words can make what should be a help (commentaries, books, and articles) become a barrier to understanding. However, the answer is not to abandon the rich help of commentaries and the like. Instead of throwing your commentaries in the trash, there are a couple of resources that can help you make sense of those theological terms and make the most out of your study aides.

Stark’s Glossary of Theological Terms

Stark’s Glossary of Theological Terms would be my first recommendation for anyone trying to familiarize themselves with the Keep Reading

One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part IV: Advice Specifically for Churches and Organizations to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry

This article provides additional guidance specifically for churches that want to start a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship ministry. Unlike other articles in the one-to-one Bible reading guide series, what follows focuses on practical, organizational steps a church can take to start a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship team.

To see the theological basis for one-to-one Bible reading discipleship, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part I

To see how to start a one-to-one Bible reading meeting, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part II

To see some resources to use in a one-to-one Bible reading meeting and a model meeting schedule, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part III.

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part III: Resources for a Successful One-to-One Bible Reading Ministry and How to Structure a One-to-One Meeting

This article will cover resource strategy and resource lists that are helpful for one-to-one Bible reading ministry. If you have not yet, I recommend reading Part I: What is One-to-One Bible Reading and Why Commit to this Particular Method? and Part II: How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry from this One-to-One Bible Reading series.

Strategy: Read Books of the Bible in Context.

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part II: How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry

This article explains how to start a one-to-one Bible reading meeting, how to prepare for the meeting, and some other helpful tips for success. If you have not read Part I of this One-to-One Bible Reading series, you can read that here.

Step 1: Pray

“Prayer is addressing God, in words, where you are communicating your heart and desire; knowing all the while that He orchestrates all things from the greatest to the smallest. He exists, is personal, and changes lives — he uses prayer in a secondary cause sort of way where He changes things.” —David Helm, OnetoOne course at Covenant Life Church

The first step in this personal ministry of the Word is prayer. I recommend praying for the following:

  • that God would accomplish His work in His people (and all people) through His Word and that He would use your effort to grow His Kingdom
  • for God to give you a desire to help followers of Jesus grow
  • to identify specific people with whom you might read the Bible
  • that God would give you confidence and boldness to get started

Step 2: Invite

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part I: What is One-to-One Bible Reading and Why Commit to this Particular Method?

Before spending time on the practical and tactical details of starting a one-to-one Bible reading ministry, it is important to establish the principles and convictions that motivate us to the particular method of one-to-one Bible reading. Before talking about the how of one-to-one Bible reading, we need to discuss the what and the why.

What Would a One-to-One Bible Reading Ministry Look Like?

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How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry in Your Church or as an Individual

What is a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship ministry anyway? David Helm summarizes it like this:

“Can you think of people in your life that you would like to see progress spiritually—perhaps a non-Christian colleague, or a Christian friend at church, or a family member? What holds them back? Is there a way to help them understand more of God in a way that is simple and personal, and that doesn’t rely on getting them to a church program or event.

All this is possible through one-to-one Bible reading.

But, what is one-to-one Bible reading? To put it succinctly, it is a variation on that most central Christian activity—reading the Bible—but done in the context of reading with someone. It is something a Christian does with another person, on a regular basis, for a mutually agreed upon length of time, with the intention of reading through and discussing a book or part of a book of the Bible. It is effective for evangelism. It is useful for discipleship. It is even helpful for training.”

I am convinced that the Bible teaches two things: First, every Christian should be engaged in personal ministry (Ephesians 4:12). Second, God changes people through … Keep Reading