The goal is helping each other grow in faith and understanding of the Scriptures through one-on-one relationships. Here are some basic steps (as outlined by David Helm in his book, One-to-One Bible Reading):
- Pray for Guidance: Before you approach someone to read the Bible with, pray for wisdom and guidance. Ask God to lead you to someone who would be open to and benefit from the experience.
- Choose a Partner: Look for someone who is interested in spiritual growth, whether they are a new believer, a non-believer interested in Christianity, or a more mature Christian.
- Select a Time and Location: Decide on a convenient time and place to meet. It should be a quiet location where you'll be free from distractions.
- Introduce the Idea: Clearly explain what you're proposing—reading the Bible together—and why you think it could be beneficial.
- Set the Scope and Duration: Decide how often you'll meet and what you'll read. (Helm suggests starting with the Gospel of Mark for its brevity and straightforwardness.) You shouldn’t need to meet for more than 45-60 minutes.
- Agree on Format: Discuss how the meetings will generally go, like whether you'll both read aloud, or take turns, etc.
- Daily Reading: Read through the portion of Scripture you’ll be reading together by yourself once per day.
- Open in Prayer: Always begin your time together by acknowledging God’s presence in your study.
- Read the Text: Read the agreed-upon passage out loud.
- Discuss The Passage Using One of the Following Structures:
- Helm’s 'COMA' Method
- Context: Understand the setting and circumstances in which the passage occurs.
- Observation: Note what is explicitly stated in the text.
- Meaning: Discuss what the passage means.
- Application: Apply the insights to daily life.
- Harmon’s Four Interpretive Questions
- What do we learn about God? (His character, conduct, concerns)
- What do we learn about people? (From three angles: image of God, fallen condition, redeemed people)
- What do we learn about relating to God? (Reasons to praise God? Confess? Repent? Promises to believe?)
- What do we learn about relating to others? (How should we rightly love, serve, and care for others?)
- Gruendyke’s Six 'C' Questions
- Crux: What is the crux (main point) of the passage? Can you sum it up in a word, phrase or verse from the text in front of you? How would you express it in a single sentence?
- Context: How is your understanding of this passage shaped by what comes before and after it? In what way(s) does this text support the theme of the book? How is the passage informed by the Old Testament or fulfilled in the New Testament (check the cross-references)?
- Characters: Identify the characters in this text. How do they act and react to each other? How do these interactions affect the dynamics of the passage?
- Christ: How does this passage directly or indirectly point to Christ (promise, analogy or type)? In what way(s) does the text highlight the gospel and/or kingdom of God?
- Curiosities: What is curious (surprising) about this passage? What would you not have known unless God had revealed it here?
- Conclusion: What is the conclusion (application) of this text? Express it in terms drawn from or shaped by the passage. Remember, whatever this passage meant to the original audience, it means to us.
- Helm’s 'COMA' Method
- Pray Together: Close your meeting by bringing what you've learned before God in prayer, asking for wisdom and strength to apply it.
Review and Repeat
After you've completed your first book or series of studies, review the experience. Discuss what you've learned, how you've grown, and what could be improved. Choose another book of the Bible or topic to explore and continue meeting.