Disciple Bible Study for Personal Study

April 28th, 2014

In March 1986, a small group of people gathered Flower Mound, Texas, to talk about the need for a new comprehensive Bible study that would do more than teach the facts about our Scriptures. They wanted a study that would help people place themselves within the narrative of the Scriptures, develop a conversation with the Scriptures, and find their personal meaning for life in the Scriptures. Beyond that, they wanted a Bible study that would help persons grow in faith as they lived out a life of discipleship among the people of God.

DISCIPLE Bible Study was the result of those conversations. The plan called for a small group of people (modeled after Jesus Christ's twelve disciples) to spend 34 weeks intensively studying the entire 66 books of the Bible, with daily readings from the Bible, prayer, lessons in a Study Manual, and a weekly gathering for two and a half hours. Church governing boards would to approve the program, teachers would have to be specially trained, and students would pledge their commitment.

You may first have learned about DISCIPLE Bible Study many years ago. Perhaps at that time, you were drawn to this new study but didn't have access to a group. Or you didn't have the required time every day, or you thought that you had to already know Scriptures to be involved. So you didn't join a study. Now we have the Personal Study Guide which makes this Bible study available for individual use. Perhaps your earlier interest is revived! Perhaps the reasons you didn't previously begin DISCIPLE remain true.

Alternatively, perhaps you are just now discovering DISCIPLE Bible Study. But maybe group study seems impossible for you at this time, or maybe the time you have to study is so limited that you must pick it up whenever and wherever you can.

In either case, this DISCIPLE Personal Study Guide is for you. 

Please note that this Personal Study Guide is not a replacement for the DISCIPLE Study Manual. It is a guide for use of the Study Manual. Supplemental videos that feature leading biblical scholars in 10- to 15-minute sessions on DVD are also available for purchase. You might choose to borrow them from your local church. 

You may be wondering: If discipleship is about modeling the life of Christ in community, how can I study discipleship alone? It's true that you will spend time studying alone. In fact, several million people who have used DISCIPLE Bible Study did ninety percent of their study alone during the week. Unlike them, however, you will not gather for group study. The Personal Study Guide serves as a door from your personal study to the world beyond, where you will practice what you have learned.

Some features of the Personal Study Guide are unchanged from the original DISCIPLE course. You will still need the full Study Manual to guide your daily Bible readings. You will decide how to schedule each day's session. At the conclusion of each week's study, you will have an individual time of review and contemplation. You will reflect on the theme word, theme verse, and "Our Human Condition"; and pray the opening prayer. You will consider the "Marks of Discipleship" and how they relate to you. Then you will close by praying for those persons who are a part of your life.

Other features of the Personal Study Guide are different from the original DISCIPLE course. One significant difference is that the week-ending meeting with a group of fellow Christians will be replaced by a week-ending summary session-time alone to review; contemplate; plan for your coming week; and, if you so choose, view the DVD. The length of time you spend in this summary session is entirely up to you, but you should allow enough time to be thoughtful and thorough. In the Personal Study Guide, you will find plans for each weekly summary session.

When undertaking a comprehensive study like this you should consider strengthening your commitment to Christian community by telling at least two faith friends about your study. Occasionally, in the Personal Study Guide you will be asked to write to or phone a faith friend to share something specific. At the conclusion of your study, you will have the opportunity to include these friends in your celebration.

You will also find in the Personal Study Guide many suggestions for training yourself to study effectively. These suggestions include principles of Bible study, how to use each section of the guide, how to form good questions during your study, and how to take notes and mark your Bible.

You will be studying alone, but you do not live outside society. You can practice the Christian lifestyle with those you talk with and enounter at work and in church. Your community is truly all around you.

How will you express your belief in Jesus Christ through the way you live?

To answer that question, you are about to undertake the greatest study of your life, a study that may begin with DISCIPLE but will, by the grace of God, extend through all the days of your life.

If you are interested in using DISCIPLE Bible Study in your Sunday school class read more here.

comments powered by Disqus