Often Zhan

5 minute read

I had a discussion with many of you about how to revamp the Inductive (Group) Bible Study Program (IGBS). Recently, I took a “ScaleUp Speaker Series” class with CH at MoFo in Palo Alto and want to implement their class style to IGBS. (Everytime I see IBS, I think of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. That is why I added Group to the acronym). Essentially, MoFo’s classes are a series of 9 modules that meets consistently every week on Friday and cycles back to module 1 once all 9 modules are completed. Each module can be taught individually but they also build upon each other. I thought that this style of “Credential Program” is really clever because (1) it is consistent and can build momentum, and (2) people can begin at any point in the series. This is great because we can invite people who are interested but cannot commit to attend all the classes. Visitors do not have to start off with “Lesson 1”, but can jump in at any time.

However, KYT shared a valid concern: Yes, this module style will increase the quantity of visitors, but it may lower the overall quality of resulting Bible Study leaders. In-depth programs—such as the Inductive Bible Study Program—often requires a linear progression of thought (where basic foundational lessons are introduced first and subsequent lessons become increasingly complex.)

I think I may have solved this problem.

Course Description

In order to make sure that the program is both invitational and rigorous and, I divided the program into two parts:

  • Introductory Course
  • Advanced Bible Study

Yearly Schedule

The proposed yearly schedule is shown in the year calendar underneath:

Month Week A Week B Advanced Season
JAN Intro 1 Intro 4 Adv 1
FEB Intro 2 Intro 5 Adv 2 Winter
MAR Intro 3 Intro 6 Adv 3
APR Intro 4 Intro 1 Adv 1
MAY Intro 5 Intro 2 Adv 2 Spring
JUN Intro 6 Intro 3 Adv 3
JUL Intro 1 Intro 4 Adv 1
AUG Intro 2 Intro 5 Adv 2 Summer
SEP Intro 3 Intro 6 Adv 3
OCT Intro 4 Intro 1 Adv 1
NOV Intro 5 Intro 2 Adv 2 Fall
DEC Intro 6 Intro 3 Adv 3

Introduction Course

This course is for people who want to learn about the basics of group Bible Study, gain a greater holistic appreciation for bible study, and approach bible study in a way that both edifies yourself and your bible study mates around you.

  1. History of the Bible The bible has not always been so freely available and ubiquitous as it is now. In this session, we look at the history of the Bible from the Early Church to the Modern Age to help provide a better perspective on the importance, benefits, and limitations of modern group bible study.

  2. Bible Perspective What does the Bible say about… well… the Bible? In this session, we will discuss biblical perspectives on (1) authority of scripture and the law ; (2) hearing and obeying the words of Jesus; and (3) the validity of the “inerrancy” of Scripture.

  3. Observation, Interpretation, Application What is the sequential thought process when actively reading the Bible? In this session, we will learn essential questions that we need to ask ourselves and in our bible study at every step of the process.

  4. Tiered Questions In this session we will learn how to use questions to guide discussion and foster discovery of God’s spiritual truths.

  5. Cultural, Historical, and Thematic Perspectives When we read scripture, we often cannot determine the author’s original intent because of the cultural and historical barriers of the passage. Even worse, we often misinterpret scripture because we place our own bias into the message. In this session, we will discuss ways of “putting ourselves in the shoes” of the author’s original audience.

  6. Unique Variations and Styles in Bible Study No two bible studies are the same. In this session, we examine different styles, approaches, and perspectives on successful and engaging bible studies that you can suggest or apply to your own.

Advanced Bible Study

This course is for people who want to take it to the next level and learn how to prepare and lead a bible study on their own.

Note: Attendance and completion of all Introductory Lessons is needed for the credentials of the Advanced Bible Study Leading course.

  1. Textual Grammatical Analysis Learn how to break down a text and examine a passage of scripture by grammatically organizing it into a logical sequence of events. Also, learn how to find the beginning and end of single-session or multiple-session bible study lessons.

  2. Generating the Essential Question Set Learn how to generate a set of questions based on the Textual Grammatical Analysis. Afterwards, we discuss how to determine the essential questions of the passage.

  3. Lead a Bible Study Put your preparation, practice, and training to the test. Lead a Bible Study and learn how to get and accept critical feedback from your friends and colleagues.

So if you are extremely serious about finishing the credential program (Introductory + Advanced), you could finish it in 3 months… (Three classes a month), but if you take it easy, you can finish it in 6 months with plenty of opportunities to attend classes that you’ve missed.

Let me know what you think!

Often Z.