Guest Post By Discover App
“I’ve never shared my faith with my children, but having done this study I really feel I can do it!”
We were just finishing a Discovery Bible Study (DBS), asking each participant to explain “with whom do you plan to share what you just learned?” when a father with adult children shared this. Other people around the room nodded. Although some had been Christians for a long time, this was the first time that they’d been encouraged to retell a Bible story until they actually knew it. Someone else said that for the first time she “owned” the story. It was no longer words in book – it was living in their hearts.
We hear this kind of thing often. It’s one of the reasons we love DBS. It enables anyone to share what they are learning about God with others, even if they are only just discovering faith for themselves.
So what is a Discovery Bible Study?
The format is straightforward. We read or listen to a story from the Bible. Several times. Then we ask people to retell the story in their own words. There is no pressure to get it absolutely right – although other people usually chip in if they’ve missed something. Once people feel they know the story, we ask a few simple questions:
- What does this story tell me about God?
- What does this story tell me about people (or myself)?
- If this is God’s word for my life, how will I obey it?
- With whom am I going to share what I just learned?
If people are getting off topic, we find that the question, “Where do you see that in the passage?” is really helpful for pulling things back.
Why is DBS so powerful?
Here’s the reality: Discovery + Obedience = Multiplication
It is powerful precisely because it is simple. The first aim of DBS is discovery.
Allowing people to make discoveries for themselves means that they remember them. If I tell you what the passage means, you may well forget before I finish talking. If you find the passage speaking to you directly, you will still be telling people weeks later. People’s insights into the story never cease to amaze me – even when I have read it a hundred times.
Allowing people to discover the story also means resisting the temptation to answer their questions. Usually we pass their questions back to the group, or ask another one to help them find their own answer. The problem with providing explanations is that it makes people look to you as the expert. It is surprising how rarely Jesus answered questions. Often He simply asked a question, or told a story.
A key outcome of discovery is ownership. If people own what they are learning, it makes it much more likely that they will go on to tell others what they have discovered.
The second aim of DBS is obedience. People who learn to obey the scriptures even before they come to faith, continue to do so as their faith grows. Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to go into all of the world and tell people about Him. He told them to make disciples and teach them to obey Him (Matthew 28: 20).
When people do what God is telling them to do, He honors their obedience. Often it is when we obey that we actually see God starting to work in our lives.
Every time we do a study, we start by reviewing how people did with the things that they said that they would do the last time we met. This review process helps them to know that we’re serious about obedience–actually doing what Jesus says. It also sets us up for the third aim.
The third aim of DBS is multiplication. The final question we ask every time encourages people to tell others what they have learned or experienced. After one discovers the truth of a story for themselves, many people are enthusiastic to tell others. Enthusiasm is infectious. When someone asks to join this group, we say no (in most cases). Instead, we encourage the person who shared with them to ask if they have other interested friends who would like to start a new group with them. As a result, instead of simply adding an additional member to this group, we start a new group and now have two groups.
Most people are surprised that we let them facilitate new groups – yet, because the DBS process is so simple, it’s easy for anyone to do it. No one needs to be an expert, or have extra (more) knowledge. Encouraged by this freedom to just start groups, some people go on to start several new groups. This is multiplication in action.
Around the world, thousands of new believers are already obeying Jesus’ command to go and make disciples using this simple disciplemaking engine. Discovery Bible Studies are one way that you can do the same wherever you live.
Download the Discover App today and experience the power of Discovery Bible Studies for yourself.
If you are interested in trying DBS for yourself, why not check out the Discover App – a free Discovery Bible Study App for Android and iPhone. It has a a set of studies which take you from Creation through the Bible to Christ’s death and resurrection in eight different languages, with text and audio. You can also find the studies online.