Any believer can do it
October 15, 2020
For some time I’ve wanted – even longed– to do a Bible study with a seeking Muslim or new believer from a Muslim background. An opportunity has arisen, as well as an excellent study tool. Friends experienced in working with various Muslim populations have recommended Discovery Bible Studies (DBS), available on line here: https://studies.discoverapp.org/study/en-1-1. Text and audio are available for each Bible story series in 14 languages. A phone app is also available, or it can be printed and used for in-person groups of 4-12 people.
DBS works similarly to Chronological Bible Storying:
Step 1: Read a Bible story aloud together.
Step 2: Retell the story in your own words.
Step 3: Discover the story. Ask…
- What does this tell me about God?
- What does it tell me about people?
- If this is really God’s word, what changes would I have to make in my life?
- Who am I going to tell?
One person who recommended DBS says it has been “spectacularly” successful, and the others were 100% positive about this approach. It’s particularly suitable for people from Muslim backgrounds because:
- It involves reading Scripture, not Western Christian teachings about Scripture, together.
- Memorable Bible stories are read and retold aloud (many Muslims come from oral cultures).
- The questions make them think and consider their own responses to the story.
- It can be self-replicating. People who’ve been guided through a study can then guide someone else.
There are six series to choose from. I’m going to begin with “Creation to Christ”, a 30-lesson series that covers the whole Bible. The creation story opens with a common point of reference – God as Creator. Then it immediately addresses sin through the story of the Fall and unfolds naturally into God’s plan of redemption through Jesus.
Here is what is so exciting to me: I can do this! I don’t need extensive training. I can prepare by learning the story and praying, and then count on the Scripture to speak for itself and the Spirit to work in our hearts. Any believer can do this!
But I also wanted some tips from the experienced to get started, and I’ll share some of them with you.
- Prepare to tell a good story and engage the listeners. Pray for their involvement. Be expressive with words and body language as you read.
- Keep it oral and simple so it’s clear and reproducible.
- If you’re leading low tech people, don’t use high tech.
- Some Muslim women may be less literate than we expect. Adapt and use the CEV translation.
- Begin by recapping the previous lesson(s). Take time to retell. Elicit retelling by asking, “Who were the main people?” “What happened first?” If they get the story muddled, go back to the text. Repeating aids memory, and Muslims are good at memorizing.
- Don’t give answers; ask questions, pray they’ll get it.
- Don’t insist they tell others. They know for themselves the cost of exposing their faith.
Father, thank You for this excellent, accessible resource. Thank You for the power of Your word to speak for itself. Thank You that Your word is bread to feed the hungry. Lord, send workers into the harvest. Link them with those who are hungry for the bread of life! Thank You that we can labor in this harvest field from the comfort and convenience of our own homes.
Pray for yourself and others to have the joy of opening life-giving revelation of Bible scripture to Muslim seekers and new believers. Pray that all of us could have testimonies like this one, written by a young man to his teacher: “Thank you for teaching me all those Bible stories. It allowed me to know what God is like and my faith wouldn’t be where it is without it.”