From my experience, a major obstacle standing in the way of many Christians engaging in discipleship, leading Bible Study, or helping start a simple church is the perception that they are an unqualified Bible scholar. While deepening knowledge and understanding of Scripture is to be desired, the lie that we are not qualified is major tool of the enemy in keeping Christians from helping friends and family understand God’s Word and grow in their faith.
However, for centuries missionaries have helped new believers in places where no such qualified teachers exists to quickly and simply learn and teach others the Bible through Discover Bible Study (DBS). DBS can empower any believer, regardless of Bible knowledge, to grow as a disciple and help others to do likewise as they trust the Holy Spirit to be the teacher.
While Bible Study is not all that simple church is about, growing in understanding and knowledge of God’s Word is essential for anyone to stay encouraged in the faith and gaining a greater knowledge of God and his love. In addition, God’s Word is our only offensive weapon against the lies that are tempting to believe. So if you choose to study the Bible weekly in a simple church gathering or in perhaps groups of two or three outside of that gathering, DBS is an important study method for any one interested in the Bible to consider.
How Does DBS Work?
The basic idea of DBS is that you examine a passage of scripture with others and engage the passage with several probing questions. I often describe these questions as prayers. For example, a DBS question is, “What does this passage teach me about God?” Essentially, this is a prayer. You simply are asking God to reveal to you his ways, nature, and character as you look at his Word and trust that His Holy Sprit inside of you and others will illuminate the answer and give you wisdom. This question/prayer and a commitment to stick to the Bible in pursuit of the answer has helped millions around the globe grow in understanding God and His Word.
Additionally, simple church communities can learn from God’s Word in a way that doesn’t create a dependency on any one person, preacher, or Bible guru. Simple churches, through DBS, learn to teach one another and those with the gift of teaching are able to emerge and contribute to the Body of Christ within the context of a discussion.
While there are many variations and not single formula for what constitutes DBS, the general idea is captured well in this video:
A DBS Outline
Similar to the LTG idea shared on this site before, the following is an outline of how one could conduct a simple Discovery Bible Study.
To begin the study, each person answers these questions:
- What are you thankful for?
- What is causing you stress?
- Who needs our help? How can this group help them?
Look Back (session 2+)
- Retell story from the previous meeting.
- What did you do differently because of this story?
- Who did you tell and what was the reaction?
Read & Re-tell
- One person reads the Bible passage out loud, and the rest follow along.
- Someone else retells the passage by memory, if possible. Others can fill in what is missing.
- Read the passage again.
- Discuss what this passage says about God, Jesus or his plan.
- Read the passage once more
- Discuss what this passage says about humans.
- According to this study, what am I doing well?
- What do I need to change?
- Who needs to hear this story?
- How can I tell them?
- Who can I invite to study the Bible?
Question to Consider
- In what ways is a Discovery Bible Study different than a church?
- How might encorporating Discovery Bible Study into our family, simple church, and/or discipleship friendships be encouraging to me and others?
This video and outline are found at the site www.dbsguide.org along with suggested passages for starting a DBS. Also, we have discussed here at length the Life Transformation Group discipleship tool. This also incorporates DBS.