Yes, You Can Share from the Bible!

In sphere-of-life ministry there seems to be an authority challenge as well as an accessibility challenge. On the one hand, we can build into someone’s life with our own insights, which are comfortable and easily accessible to us. The problem is that our own insights have no spiritual authority in themselves. Conversely, we gain authority as we speak the Word of God to others, but expressing the biblical text meaningfully seems inaccessible to some.

Here’s how the latter challenge might play itself out: a sincere believer may tell himself, “I could never give biblical counsel or leadership to someone else. I just don’t know the Bible well enough!” But this sort of thinking need not stand in our way. Through a simple strategy like the Swedish method of Bible reading, every believer with a Bible and a brain can mine God’s Word for ministry insight.

In a previous training resource we mentioned a fantastic tool for ministry: David Helm’s One-to-One Bible Reading. In the original post, we included Helm’s COMA sheets for Bible reading, which builds off an intuitive strategy for working God’s Word into our hearts. Interestingly, though, COMA is the more developed of two Bible reading strategies he presents in the book.

Besides the COMA method, Helm also includes the “Swedish method,” which he attributes to Ada Lum of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. This method is easy to love for its simplicity. Essentially, those reading the Bible together look for three things in the passage: light bulbs, question marks, and arrows. Light bulbs represent something the reader deems to be important, question marks represent questions the reader has about the text, and arrows represent “anything that applies personally to the reader’s life” (page 44).

Looking for light bulbs, questions, and arrows is a great way to structure a time of one-to-one or group Bible reading, but it also works in personal study. In fact, you might benefit greatly by thinking in these terms when preparing to lead others or in your private devotions. I think you’ll find that your skill in the method improves as you practice.

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