Gathering One-2-One For Bible Reading
Gathering One2One For Bible Reading
What does it mean to gather one-to-one to read the Bible together? Just meet with another believer, read through a passage of the Bible together, and talk about it!
The COMA Method of Bible Study
To get you started reading the Bible one-to-one, what follows is a simple method of Bible study called the COMA method. COMA studies a Bible passage in four steps: Context, Observation, Meaning, and Application. To study a Bible passage in this way, simply ask and answer together a few questions corresponding to each step. Note that not all questions apply to every Bible passage, and that you don’t need to ask every one of these questions—even just one or two per step!
“Context” refers to the “surroundings” or background of the passage and the circumstances in which it was written. Context questions include queries like: Who wrote the passage? Why was it written, and to whom? What is the literary “genre” of the passage—history, poetry, a letter, law, etc., and how should we read it? What happens in the chapter or section immediately before, and after, the passage you’re reading? Are there any themes or ideas that connect the passage you’re reading to the rest of the book?
“Observation” means carefully examining the passage you’re reading. Observation questions include queries like: Is there any structure or arrangement to the passage? Is there any repetition or comparison or contrast? Are there key words or phrases in the text? Does anything surprise you or stick out somehow? Are there characters and what do they do or say? What theological terms used and what do they mean?
“Meaning” refers to the main point or idea that the original human author wanted his original audience to understand in a particular text. Meaning questions include queries like: How does the passage describe, point to, or refer back to Jesus Christ? What is the reader supposed to learn about God from the passage? If you could sum up the main point of the writer in a sentence, what would you say?
“Application” refers to how the reader is supposed to respond to the text. Application questions include queries like: Does this passage challenge or confirm my beliefs? Is there an attitude or assumption I must change? Are there any changes to my actions or the way I live being urged by the passage? Is there a promise that I should be believing or an attribute of God’s nature that I should be trusting?
What Happens At A Meeting?
Gathering one-to-one for Bible reading has nine easy steps:
- Open in prayer. One person thanks God and asks for help studying and understanding the passage.
- Follow-up from previous session.Ask each other how each of you are doing applying the last session’s lessons.
- Read the passage aloud.Either take turns meeting-by-meeting, or break up the passage so each person reads.
- Context. Take turns asking some questions that explore the “surroundings” and background of the passage.
- Observation. Take turns asking questions that help you note features like structure, key words, and characters.
- Meaning. Take turns asking questions that help you to grasp the original human author’s point for his audience.
- Application. Take turns asking questions that help you know what to change or believe in light of the meaning.
- Schedule the next meeting.Date, time, and place!
- Close in prayer.The person who didn’t pray to start thanks God and asks for help applying the passage.
Going Deeper With One-to-One Bible Reading
If you’d like to dive deeper into the practice of reading Scripture this way with someone else, David Helm wrote an excellent book calledOne-to-One Bible Reading which explores several different ways to read through Bible passages with another believer. After you’ve gotten started with Gathering One2One, we highly recommend you use this book, especially as Helm offers other resources for reading different kinds of Biblical writings.
Why Not Start This Week?
Simply download a Gathering One2One Study Outline for Bible Reading below, print it out, ask someone to join you, pick a passage, and start reading together! Links:
(Two pages, formatted for 8.5 x 11 paper, printed double-sided in landscape orientation and flipped on short edge, and folded in half)
(Two pages, formatted for 8.5 x 11 paper, printed double-sided in portrait orientation and flipped on long edge. Can be three-hole-punched)
(One page, formatted for 8.5 x 11 paper, printed in portrait orientation)
More in Pastoral Blog
September 13, 2019Luther's Rose and Other Symbols in Stained Glass
August 12, 2019Sexuality, Gender and Christian Witness August 24 with Denny Burk
May 3, 2019Happy and Holy Christians