Almost all Bible studies consist of a particular pattern that the group follows each time that they meet together. Whether it is identified or not, every group naturally falls into its own set pattern that we can describe as the DNA of that group. The most common DNA that we tend to see in small group bible studies consists of these three elements:
Time for taking prayer requests
Time of teaching by the leader/teacher of the group
Time for group discussion
Many people have had great experiences and have grown in their knowledge and understanding following this particular pattern. However, a potential weakness of this common pattern of Bible study is that it often requires a somewhat knowledgeable leader/teacher (or book) and it has a tendency to be primarily informational.
Jesus commissioned us to teach others to OBSERVE all that he commanded, and that we cannot declare him to be Lord and yet not DO what he has taught us to do. We believe that every Bible study must have obedience to the Word of God as a key element, and so, we recommend what is called a Three-Thirds Bible Study for all of your small group studies.
We cannot declare him to be Lord and yet not do what he has taught us to do.
A Three-Thirds Bible Study takes the common Bible study that focuses on information and builds in a couple key elements to highlight obedience and life-transformation. It is a DNA that is easy to replicate, and one that empowers ANYONE to lead a bible study.
A Three-Thirds Bible Study pattern is structured in a way that does not require a knowledgeable leader/teacher (making it easy to replicate and maintain) and in a way that focuses on an immediate response to what was taught/learned/discussed.
And so, a Three-Thirds Bible Study structures every study in this way:
FIRST: LOOK BACK
Care & Prayer — the group begins with everyone sharing an update on their week highlighting the good and the bad (this is a time to pray for things that are mentioned)
Follow Up — built in to keep the group committed to responding to what was read the previous meeting (this is a time to see if everyone followed through on any goals that were set the previous meeting)
SECOND: LOOK UP
Read Scripture — the portion of Scripture selected for that meeting is read aloud
Questions & Discussion — now take time for everyone to ask questions and just talk about what was read (here are four simple questions to help lead the discussion)
THIRD: LOOK FORWARD
Response & Goals — built in to make sure information leads to transformation in our lives (a response is expressed or goals are set based on what was learned)
Commissioning — pray to close praising and asking God to help the group respond appropriately to what they learned and to follow through on any goals that were set
In his last words here on earth, Jesus commissioned his followers to go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that he commanded. And so one of the first studies that we recommend for new small groups is our seven-part series designed to help teach new believers how to obey some of the basic commands of Christ.