My goal in facilitating a bible-study like this is to create an environment in which I am not the teacher or authority. When I’m studying the bible for the first time with people, I want to affirm ignorance and seeking as positive qualities of a disciple. Appropriate responses to questions might be something like “That’s a great question, what do you think” or “let’s read it again and see if it’s clearer.” Another good practice is to take people with questions to another passage in scripture where they might find the answer themselves: e.g. if a parable is confusing, take them to a similar parable and ask if it makes the point clearer. The goal in all of this is to create a culture for those being discipled where they can discover for themselves what scripture teaches and to be self-feeding. This is an inductive form of teaching which allows for and respects ignorance and empowers people to ask questions and be seekers even from the position of facilitator.
So back to my Korean friend. Every week, as we continued the study, I would take a moment to ask, “Have you found the answer to your question yet?” After a few weeks went by she said that she had. She explained, “It seems like Jesus wants us to see that there is more than one kind of poverty. My family has money, but we are poor in other ways. I think that this would be good news to my father.” That week she called her family and shared the story with them. When she moved back to Seoul five months later she gathered her family and began studying the bible with them. It never seemed to occur to her that being a new disciple would be an obstacle to sharing the gospel with others. That’s the power of discovery based bible study: it empowers new disciples to be disciple makers. I challenge you this week help facilitate discovery for others.
By S.B. in NYC