In the first sentence of chapter 4 of my book (released May 1), Disciple-Making Encounters: Revolutionary Sunday School, I wrote:
The first encounter is meeting with God before meeting with His people and being prepared to lead them where He has spoken.
What do you do to hear from God before you prepare a lesson? Listening to Him is absolutely essential if we are to serve as His guides during the Bible study time on Sunday. How can we guide people where we have not been?
The power for changed lives comes from Him–not from us or from our efforts. That is as true for the teacher as it for those in our classes. For us as teachers to serve as His guides, we must meet Him and be changed BEFORE we lead others to do the same. In fact, for the teacher, time with God is the lesson.
In order for the teacher personally to encounter God in Bible study, the teacher must begin preparation early. I suggest reading the scripture several times on Sunday afternoon. Then continue to do the same daily throughout the week. Listen to Him about yourself first before beginning to put together a plan for leading the Bible study experience.
I would love to hear what you do to meet God in Bible study. Press Comments and share what helps you. For me, I have four simple steps:
- Bible Study. I read and study the passage asking two questions. First, what did God say in this passage? (I am looking for the point being made to the original audience.) Second, what is He saying to me? (I am listening for the personal message.)
- Prayer. Too often we separate two halves of a conversation with God. When He speaks (Bible study), He expects a response. That is our opportunity for talk to God. That means asking this question: What is my response to what God has said in His Word?
- Commitment. God desires more in response to an encounter than simply head knowledge. He desires commitment. He desires commitment to His will and His way. That leads to two questions: First, am I willing to do what He wants me to do? Second, what does He want me to do? Don’t get the order of these questions confused.
- Obedience. To know and not do is to sin. When we meet God in Bible study, God desires life change. Obedience is more than going through Pharisaical actions. It is desiring to please God with our actions and life–out of love rather than guilt. Here we ask ourselves: What did I do as a result of what God said? This requires follow up. A journal or an accountability partner can help here.
Evaluate your encounter with God in Bible study. What would you add? Which of these four steps are missing or need attention? Make disciples. Encounter God. Be revolutionary!