Reading Scripture with Others

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Reading scripture can bring up many emotions from exciting, to weird, to scary, to confusing, and anything in between. I realize not everyone is a pastor who got into this partly because he/she enjoyed reading scripture (me). And, if you’ve never been taught how to read scripture, it can be daunting. Let me start by saying, there is no wrong way to read it. Reading scripture can be as simple as picking a book of the Bible (Genesis, John, Romans, Esther, any of them) and making your way through it. The books of the Bible were originally ingested in larger sittings, but that doesn’t mean reading chunks at a time is bad.  

A practice we started with our core team at City Chapel was beginning our meetings by breaking off into groups of three to six people to read the Bible together. In hindsight, we started doing this later than we wished. We have learned that creating community starts with abiding in God together - this looks like dwelling in scripture, reading it out loud, and processing what God might be saying to one another in fellowship with the body of Christ. It has been so life-giving doing this together!  

Here it is. One simple way to read scripture (especially with others) and grow in your understanding of God and the world around you: Pick a section/chapter/passage to read with a few other people. If you need help deciding where to begin, here are five equally good suggestions: Matthew 5:1-11 -- Acts 10:34-43 -- Psalm 1  -- Colossians 3:1-17 -- Isaiah 58 -- Luke 10:1-20

  1. Read the passage aloud, slowly.

  2. Have someone else read it aloud, slowly (if a man read it the first time, have a woman read it the second time, or vice versa)

  3. Then ask this question: “What do you like about this passage?”

    1. This can be anything. You liked a word that was used. You liked what someone said. You liked what it means for your life right now . . . anything.

    2. Linger on this question for about two to five minutes, or as long as it stirs up good conversation.

  4. Ask this question: “What seems difficult? Surprising? Confusing?”

    1. Again, this can be anything. It seemed hard. I don’t understand what it means for me today . . . anything.

    2. Linger on this question for about two to five minutes, or as long as it stirs up good conversation.

  5. Ask this question: “What does this passage teach you about God?”

    1. Is there something new? Old? A new revelation about God?

    2. Linger on this question for about two to five minutes, or as long as it stirs up good conversation.

  6. Ask this question: “What does this passage teach us about humans? Humanity?”

    1. Is there something new? Old? A new revelation about humanity?

    2. Linger on this question for about two to five minutes, or as long as it stirs up good conversation.

  7. Ask this question: “What will I do to respond? How will I obey?”

That’s it! After your discussion, feel free to pray, thank God for his word, pray for each other, whatever you want. You can go back to the same passage again or pick a new one for the next time you gather to read scripture. Just remember to enter into this time with a spirit and mind that is ready to listen and learn. Both from each other, and from God. And, I pray that we all grow to hunger for God’s word more and more.

If you want a simplified PDF version of this, CLICK HERE :)

“Jesus answered, “It is written, “‘One shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:4

Written by Pastor Ron Radcliffe