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Helping women read the Bible

by on March 20, 2014

We have a bunch of local women who want to learn the Bible. We’re starting a women’s reading/discussion group for them. Here’s the plan:

A one hour meeting:

  • 20 minutes reading individually, and making notes on what is read.
  • 30 minutes sharing their ideas about what they read.
  • 10 minutes prayer.

Chatting and general catching up can happen before or after the hour.

So this is what they call an inductive approach to bible study. Sometimes called the ‘Swedish method’. Rather than a study sheet that guides you through a passage, prompting with leading questions, to arrive at a pre-determined outcome, this is kind of the opposite. The women are more ‘in charge’ of the process. The questions are their questions. The things they learn are the things they or others in the group have noticed from the passage.

There are less wrong or right answers in this approach. People share what they’ve thought as they read, and it is discussed, but not corrected.

For control freaks like me it’s kind of scary, letting go like this. What if they don’t see the important thing in the passage? (I.e., the thing I see) What if they misunderstand it all?

Why use such a risky approach? A bunch of reasons.

First, it works well for different languages. The women can read the Bible in their ‘heart’ language, without having to cope with a stack of English, or a wordy study-book.

Second, longer term it’s hopefully empowering the women to read for themselves, without needing a ‘guide’ in a study book. They learn key reading skills, and although at first they won’t be skilful in using them, over time they will become expert readers! So it’s an investment in a skill. rather than an information download from me.

Third, it doesn’t need a knowledgeable leader. No one is in the position of power in this approach, to say what is what. It could do with a facilitator, someone to make the plan happen, and make sure everyone gets heard. But the leader is not teaching. In theory, anyone with a bit of leadership ability could do this. Without preparation!

When we started planning this, we didn’t have anyone who would feel able to be the leader. So we’ve gone for an approach where leadership demands are minimal.

What do you think? Worried? I am! But also excited, for these women who are about to come face to face with Scripture, without anything much in the way of a mediator.

Here’s the reading template I’m going to teach them to use.

womens bible study template

click on image to enlarge

From → General

One Comment
  1. 4. It makes speaking of the God of the Bible natural

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