The Sword Method of Bible Study
Disciple-making is a multi-generational endeavor. This isn’t just a statement about the age of disciples; it is also a statement about the transmission process of the Gospel. Note that Paul admonishes Timothy in his letter to him:
2 Timothy 2:1,2
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Here we see four generations of disciples represented in a single verse.
It stands to reason, then, that when we learn disciple-making skills, we need to learn them in a way that is transferable to others. When it comes to Bible study, many of our methods are so complex and individualized that they are virtually impossible to pass on. To combat this we want to offer you a simple and reproducible strategy today called the Sword Method of Bible study, developed by East-West Ministries International and widely used around the world.
Here’s how it works. Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a sword on it. At the top of the sword write, “What do I learn about God?” At the bottom write, “What do I learn about mankind?” On the left of the sword write, “Are there any examples to follow?” On the right of the sword write, “Are there any commands to obey?”
Now all you have to do is search the passage for the answers to the questions you have written down. For each passage you study, try to write down at least one item on each side of the sword, unless the passage doesn’t answer one of the four questions. You’ll want to make sure that you or your group have read the passage thoroughly before you attempt to answer the questions, and you might do this in a group by having two different people read the passage aloud and then having the group facilitator summarize the passage in his or her own words.
Give it a try and let us know how it goes!
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