The BIG IDEA
Reading the Bible isn’t difficult and brings big benefits.
Our lack of knowledge of how to read the Bible can keep us from reading it.
Become more comfortable with reading God’s word, grow to love it, and watch it change our lives.
Why THIS MATTERS
God changes us as we read his word and apply it to our lives.
I WANT MY STUDENTS TO:
- KNOW: Studying the Bible isn’t difficult and brings big benefits.
- EXPERIENCE: The satisfaction of knowing how to study the Bible.
- DO: Study the Bible with confidence and expectation.
- Give 3 Symbols a chance.
- Print out a bookmark for each of your students.
- In Question 5 and 6, be sure to give your input as well.
- Bring printouts of Matthew 6:25-34 with you for each student.
- Take the 30 Day Challenge!
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leaders like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
This launch is an activity about finding treasure. Bring a paper Bible with you to the study and hide three dollar bills somewhere in the pages. Put the Bible on the table and ask the students what they see. Hopefully they will notice things like the color, the words on the cover or its size. Then ask someone to pick up the Bible, look more closely at it and tell you what they see. They might say that it feels heavy or that the pages are thin or that it looks complicated. Then ask the student to pass the Bible on to others and see what they notice.
Encourage them to look deeper and flip through the pages. If someone finds one dollar, have them pass it on to someone else until all three are found. The object is to help them see there are layers of treasure in the Bible if we take the time to look.
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THIS?
The Bible is like a treasure box full of good things. Our job is to find these good things and be able to use them.
Read 2 Timothy 3:14–17.
1. What seems to be the thing Paul most wanted Timothy to do (verse 14)?
Paul wants Timothy to remain faithful to the things he has been taught.
2. Where do you see the Bible mentioned in this passage?
v. 15 – “the Holy Scriptures” or “sacred writings”(ESV)
v. 16 – “All Scripture”
3. According to this passage, what are three or four things the Bible can do in your life?
It can give you wisdom, help you receive salvation (15), teach you what is true, show you what is wrong in your life (16), correct you and train you to do good works (17).
4. Read Hebrews 4:12. What does it mean that the Word of God is alive and powerful?
- How is that different than any other book?
God is a real person who speaks to us directly in a personal way through the Bible. Because of God’s power, his words in the Bible are like x-ray vision; they are able to judge our thoughts and attitudes. It is also different from any other book because it was written by the One who created us, so it can answer our deepest needs like no other book.
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?
5. The Bible has helped people for hundreds of years. How could reading the Bible help you personally?
Allow the group to discuss. After the students have had a chance to share (try to draw some things out of them if they are not talking), take some time to share how reading the Bible has helped you personally.
6. Does reading the Bible seem hard, scary or boring to you?
- What keeps you from reading it more often?
Allow the group to discuss. Attempt to bring out any real reasons that might keep them from reading the Bible. Be prepared to also share what makes it challenging for you to study the Bible. Let them see that you struggle with it too, but then point them to why it is worth it for you to study the Bible. Why is it worth the time and energy to you to spend time in the Bible?
Reading the Bible can be hard, but it is worth it. All day long we are being bombarded by false messages about life. The world tells us that our main goal in life should be personal fulfillment, success, pleasure, friends, money, and being happy, but life is about so much more. To find out what life is really about, we need to regularly listen to messages from the One who created us. God made us and knows our purpose and what will truly bring us lasting satisfaction. The Bible is God’s main way of communicating those truths to us. It is where we can find real truth about life, not just the fluff that the world offers.
7. The picture at the top of the page is of someone digging and finding treasure. How is reading the Bible like digging for buried treasure?
It can be hard work but it is worth it when you find the treasure that is buried there.
8. Often, we don’t read the Bible because we don’t know where to start and we don’t really know how to study it. Today we are going to talk about one simple way to read the Bible called “3 Symbol Bible Reading.”
3 Symbol Bible Reading
1. Pray for God to speak to you through His Word.
2. Read – Read the next chapter in your Bible. The book of John is a good place to start. If the whole chapter is too long for you, just read a part of the chapter.
3. Stop reading when something pops out to you. Pay attention to the word or thought that pops out to you and how you feel about it.
4. Mark it up! It’s ok to write in the Bible, in fact, it’s really helpful!
- Draw an exclamation point beside whatever pops out to you as important. Write your thoughts about it in the margin of your Bible.
- Draw a question mark by anything you don’t understand or have a question about. Write the question in the margins of your Bible.
- Draw an arrow beside anything that you should apply personally to your life.
- If you are using your phone and can’t mark it up, use your notes app to write down your thoughts and any questions that you have.
5. Talk about it – When you’re done reading, talk to God through prayer or write in a journal to God about what pops out to you on the page and the questions you had. Ask God to give you the power to do what the passage says. If you’re in a group, talk with each other about what God taught you as you read.
If you weren’t able to find answers to your question marks, text a leader, pastor, or a Christian friend that might know a little more than you. Talking about our questions helps us all grow and learn more about God’s word together.
9. Let’s try this right now with a passage of the Bible. Open your Bible to Matthew 6:25–34 and study it with the 3 Symbol method.
Take them through the 3 Symbol method. Give them time to go through the passage silently by themselves, then come together and discuss their discoveries and questions. Be sure to go through the passage and mark “pops” and questions yourself, and tell them what you learned and discovered after you have them tell you what they found.
10. How can you see “3 Symbol Bible Reading” making a difference in your life as you do it regularly?
Allow the group to discuss.
The 31-DAY CHALLENGE:
Here’s a way to get started. Take the 31-day challenge and read the Bible every day for 31 days. Start in the book of John, read a chapter a day and see how a month in God’s word can impact your life!
Leader, reading the gospel of John is a great place to help your students start to read the Bible. When they’re done, encourage them to roll right into Acts to read the rest of the story. Alternatively, you can find a great 31 day Bible reading plan at thrivestudies.com/cru31day.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.