Bible study has to be tailor made. There’s no one size fits all.
When I was an undergraduate student in the seventies we gathered in small groups on the campus lawns, read a book of the Bible together, then marked up the text with our pencils – writing insights and questions in the margins. We used the insights and questions to share findings and fuel our discussions. We didn’t know it at the time, but Paul Byer of IVCF started developing a Bible study method along these lines in 1954. Paul’s method was later called the Manuscript Bible Study (MBS) and is extensively used by IVCF on college and university campuses today.
What works intuitively for university students may not work for children. Andy Deane, in his book, Learn To Study The Bible: Forty Different Step By Step Methods To Help You Discover, Apply And Enjoy God’s Word recommends the “Heart Monitor”, “Funnel It”, “Weather Report”, “Climb the Ladder”, or “Cross Thoughts” Bible study methods for children.
Andy’s methods are great, but there may be better Bible study methods for children geared to sports. Children at SU Canada’s sport camps or leagues receive God’s Game Plan (a sports themed Bible) and the Camper Playbook (a Bible Reading Guide). God’s Game Plan and the Camper Playbook have matching cover designs to visually remind children to use a reading guide when studying the Bible. The Bible study method recently developed for SU Canada’s sports ministry utilises a simple inductive five step approach built around sports terminology. The Sports Bible Study Method™ is:
- Warm Up – speak to God and invite Him to meet with you
- Jump In – carefully read the Bible text
- Dig Deep – think about what you’ve read and ask questions
- Do It! – apply what you’ve learned
- Huddle – chat to God and others
The Sports Bible Study Method™ works really well for sports ministry. Other methods like Lectio Divina, 4-K Method, Swedish Method, 5 Ps of Hearing God through the Bible, S.O.A.P Method and the E100 Challenge™ work really well for the contexts and people they’re designed for. Maybe you’ve used one or more of these methods. What’s ultimately important isn’t the Bible study method; it’s whether or not we’re engaging, internalising and incarnating the Word of God.
© Scripture Union Canada, 2012