The steps I shared in Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part series not only apply to your personal quiet time but also to lesson preparation. As I said previously, it is essential for teachers/leaders to have a personal encounter with God in Bible study before leading a group to do the same. As a result, the teacher/leader is able to be a guide on a journey of discovering God and His Word. For more on this, check out Small Group Leader as Sightseeing Guide and the series beginning with Leading Attenders to Meet God in Bible Study, Part 1.
The seven steps in this series are from an article entitled 7 Steps for Studying the Bible, based upon “Guidelines” by J. Vernon McGee, found on the Crosspurpose International website. In Part 1, I shared the first three of McGee’s seven steps: (1) begin with prayer, (2) read the Bible, and (3) study the Bible. In Part 2, I shared the next two steps (4) meditate upon the Bible and (5) read what others have written on the Bible. Many stop doing Bible study after the fifth step, but it is not complete. In Part 3, I will share McGee’s final two steps in all capitals followed by my commentary:
- OBEY THE BIBLE. Better said, obey God. As Jesus told us in the Great Commission, we are to go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them and “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This begins with us as teachers and leaders. The leader is the lesson. Life and example matter. We must do more than understand and apply the truth of God’s Word to our lives. We must do it! Our world would be revolutionized if Christians followed Jesus’ example and practiced the truth. Bible study groups are great places to help each other apply truth and to hold one another accountable to do it.
- PASS IT ON TO OTHERS. In order to pass it on, you must have practiced the first six steps. Without an encounter with God in Bible study leading to obedience, there is much less to share. This applies to every Christian, not just teachers and leaders. We are to be giving away what we know and have experienced about Christ and the Word. Bible study group leaders should be holding group members accountable to do so and expecting to hear testimonies about what happened when they did. Passing it on, affirms the disciple’s grasp of the truth. It clarifies and reinforces God’s Word in life. It challenges the disciple to obey in order for his/her words to be consistent with his/her actions.
Pray. Read the Bible. Study. Meditate. Read commentary. Obey. Teach others. Don’t rush these essential Bible study steps. The first four are what bring you into an encounter with God in Bible study. Then, listen to God before you listen to man (what others have written about the Bible). Then do it and share it! On which of these steps do you need to focus more in your private devotions? in your lesson preparation? What can you do this week to strengthen that step in your “routine?” Go back and read Part 1 and Part 2. Listen to Him. Practice the steps. Teach them. Be revolutionary!