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.
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 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 immediate obedience to what was taught/learned.
And so, a Three-Thirds Bible Study structures every study in this way:
FIRST: LOOK BACK
- Highs & Lows — the group begins with everyone sharing a concise and focused update on their week highlighting the good and the bad (this is a time to pray for things that are mentioned)
- Accountability — built in to keep the group committed to obeying what was learned 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 — after the time of accountability then the portion of Scripture being studied that meeting is read aloud
- Questions & Discussion — the same five simple questions* are asked each study to help the group learn together instead of just listening to one person teach
THIRD: LOOK FORWARD
- Goals & Practice — built in to make sure information leads to transformation in our lives (goals for the upcoming weeks are set based on what was learned)
- Commissioning — pray to close asking God to help the group live out what they learned and to follow through on any goals that were set
* 5 Simple Questions
The following five questions are used for every study to help the group learn together and to make it easy for anyone to lead a small group study.
1. What gets your attention in this particular reading?
2. What is something that I learn about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit in this reading?
3. What is something that I learn about myself as a human being in this reading?
4. Is there a particular sin to avoid, command to obey, example to follow or promise to celebrate in this reading?
5. What is something that I am going to do in response to what I’ve learned?