Lesson 11: Discipleship: How to use your skills to lead
other Bible discipleship discussion groups

Lesson 11: Discipleship: How to use your skills to lead other Bible discipleship discussion groups

So, when you finish a Traction Discussion Group, it can feel both encouraging and maybe even a little disappointing …because… now what? I mean, if you have grown even a little in your passion for discipleship, you may be wondering what can you do to continue studying and growing in your own walk… AND how can you continue discipling others.

Of course, our ultimate desire is that each of us would be able to open God’s Word for ourselves, to see it really come to life in our own lives, and to gain a deeper understanding of who our great God is! So, have you noticed that happening for you? Don’t stop pursuing Him. You will grow more and more as you continue to seek Him and ask Him to reveal Himself to you! Now, practically, for some, it will be a comfortable transition to go from a written study, like the one you just did in Traction, to studying straight from God’s Word on your own, especially if you’ve been able to do so before. For others, it may be a little more intimidating, especially if you haven’t had much of an opportunity. So, let’s ask some important questions. How can you draw out valuable truths straight from the scriptures? And then how can you take these truths and encourage others in their walk? THAT is discipleship. Remember, discipleship just means to come alongside someone… or to walk beside them …and learn. Whether it’s a small group or one-on-one, both are valuable. It’s like Paul said to the Corinthians… “Follow me as I follow Christ”… which means, “I’m learning and walking with the Savior … come on, let’s walk with Him together!” Right? And when we dig into God’s Word, transformation happens. You can count on it.

So here are a few things to give you some direction.

A. First of all, remember you are unique in your personality, your gifts, your learning style, and your experiences. None of us are the same. And this crosses over into your walk with the Lord; in the way you learn, and study, and serve Him. Paul also said in II Corinthians “ that those who compare themselves among themselves are not wise”. So don’t compare yourself to other people. Be confident that God will use you according to His plan for you, and only you. It says in Psalm 139 that God purposefully formed you … right from the start… in your mother’s womb and that you are perfectly and wonderfully made. Don’t worry about how other people teach or study. You just go to the Lord and ask for His wisdom… stay in His word every day, whether you read a whole book of the Bible or whether you study one verse. He will use it in your life to bring growth and to encourage those who you spend time with.

B. Now, there are many different ways to approach Scripture. One or two of these might fit your style of studying… but also think about being open to trying some styles that might be outside your comfort zone. It may surprise you how they will grow on you over time.

1. You could study a book of the Bible --

a. Some books in the Bible are more focused on encouraging you in your own personal walk with Christ. Now, when you first get started, whether on your own or with a discipleship study, choose a book that’s not too long and overwhelming so you can complete it in maybe two or three months at most. It will be so encouraging to see how much the Lord teaches you as you come to the end of that book! For example, you could study something like Ephesians, Philippians, or I John.

b. Other books of the Bible are more like a deep theological study. Depending on your own interest, and the interests of those in your discipleship group, you might like the details and doctrine in these books. They will take longer to study, but they will bring such richness and depth to your understanding of God’s work in your life. Galatians or Romans or many of the Old Testament books would fit this style.

c. A historical study of the Old Testament offers us a beautiful picture of God’s character as He interacts with His chosen people. Notice, as you study it, how it relates to us as His church, even now. It also allows us to see pictures of the coming Messiah, and the prophecies detailing His salvation plan that are then fulfilled in the New Testament. It’s really exciting to see. You can check out books like Genesis, Exodus, I & II Samuel, or Ruth.

2. When going through a book, you can study by section (which is often detailed in your Bible with titles to each section) or by chapter. Just read through a whole section or chapter of a book of the Bible. Pull out the main ideas within the context of the passage. Write down questions you have and see if you can find answers by cross referencing other passages in the Bible. While you are doing so, look for key words and define them.

3. Similarly, but in more detail, you could also study verse by verse – Literally study each verse one at time. Read within the context of the section or chapter first, then define key words. Find cross references to other verses in Scripture that have a similar context, and as you gain a deeper understanding through your study, try to rewrite the meaning of the verse in your own words.

4. Another option is a Topical Study. So, you would pick a topic that interests you and/or those you are discipling. Use reference books or apps that help you find multiple verses on the topic. As you collect and write down verses on the subject, discover what God is teaching you about Himself and how He relates to you. For example, you could do a study on peace, faith, joy, or patience… and so on.

C. Now, be sure to use your resources. There are lots of books ….or app resources available on your device…. that will help you as you study. (but don’t get distracted by your phone!) {Smile} You can use a concordance, look up verses for topics online, find a cross-reference guide, search the historical background of the Biblical book you are studying, compare your translation with other translations, and you can look up the Hebrew (which is Old Testament) or Greek (for the New Testament) so you can find the original or broader meaning of the key words that you are studying. (This is not as difficult as it sounds… and is amazing to go to the original language! You should try it!) There is a list of possible resources on our Web site for you to check out yourself. Take an opportunity to try each of these at some point. It will really be exciting as you see the fullness and depth of truth in His Word as you study!

D. Also, I mentioned this earlier, but one of the most important things you can do as well … as you read through Scripture, is to frequently stop and ask questions, like: What do these words actually mean? How is God’s character seen in this passage or verse? How does this relate to me and my relationship with the Lord? It might be helpful to have this list of question ideas:
- What is this verse is actually saying?
- What stands out to you in this verse or passage?
- How does this verse connect to the previous one (continuing in thought)?
- How does it lead to the next one? What words are important to you? (i.e. hope, salvation, faith, trust, grace, works, etc.)
- Do you know what they mean, exactly?
- How do these words fit in the context of the verse?
- Do you know of other verses that talk about the same thing?
- What does this verse/passage reveal about God and His character?
- How does this Scripture relate to me?

And when you do a study with others, encourage openness and honesty by your own example. Let them know you have questions too. And as you ask questions in your study time with them, be patient for an answer. Give them time to process it and think . I mean, it may be a little awkward at first, but it will be worth it! If the answer isn’t obvious, you may go ahead and offer other verses that speak on the same subject to help make it more clear. And, don’t be discouraged if you don’t know the answer to a question! This is what seeking the Lord is all about! Go home and dig into the Word while bathing it in prayer. Encourage the others to do the same. This will be a great time of genuine growth together. And remember, it is NOT your job to extract the meaning, or to have all the answers, or to transform lives. The pressure is off! THAT is the job of the Holy Spirit… and you can trust Him to do it in His perfect way and in His perfect time.

E. And again, most important of all…Pray, pray, pray! I mean, every time you open His Word … even one verse… ask for Him to open your eyes and heart. Like we talked about before… all of our wisdom and understanding only comes from the Lord. You’re simply saying to Him, “Lord, I want to know You. Please help me understand Your Word as I read and study it.” That’s it. And He will do it. Sometimes it may take a little while… but He will do it!

The most important thing is to start leading a Bible study. Don’t worry about doing it all exactly right when you first start leading Bible studies. Use the skills you have already learned and practiced in this course, and just start doing it. You will experience all kinds of blessings as you study the words of God with others!