In her book Grit, Angela Duckworth discusses the importance of what she calls “deliberate practice” (see pages 120 and following; Duckworth borrows the term from Anders Ericsson). She tells of Olympic athletes, accomplished musicians, and skilled artisans participating in deliberate practice, usually doing one basic thing better than they did it the day before. She notes that this deliberate practice propels these people to be the best in their fields. Fine-tuning the basics deliberately is what makes us better today than we were yesterday. How does this relate to Bible study?
In Arthur Flake’s journal, on the page where he outlined the steps for growing a Sunday School, in big letters and underlined are the words “All need it….all need to study the Bible.” Mr. Flake didn’t explain why that was true in 1920; he simply knew that being a part of a regular Bible study group was important for both the unchurched and the senior saint.
In Brad Waggoner’s The Shape of Faith to Come (2008), he identified the daily discipline of reading the Bible (Waggoner calls it “daily Bible engagement”) as the number one predictor of a person’s spiritual growth. Think about the different parts of this discovery.
- Daily: Implies a discipline much like exercising, brushing teeth, or eating a certain number of calories EVERY day. Marathon runners train even in the cold. Should we be any different when it comes to our spiritual training?
- Bible: Values God’s Word, not the thoughts of great philosophers, leaders, or theologians. The ideas of others can be helpful, but they must not replace God’s Word.
- Engagement: Implies participation in the act of reading, studying, and reflecting on His Word. Synonyms include engrossed, immersed, captivated by, wrapped up in.
In the new Daily Discipleship Guide, some of the Bible commentary is organized into daily segments. Bible commentary is provided for the group time (including the key words feature) that gives a building block for the following week. A Bible passage, directions for reading that passage, Bible explanation, and a reflection question are provided for each of the five days that follow each group time. These daily engagements will take the group deeper into the passage and connect to insights gained in the group time.
Learn more and preview four free sessions of the new Explore the Bible: Daily Discipleship Guide at lifeway.com/exploredaily.
G. Dwayne McCrary is a project team leader for ongoing adult Bible study resources at Lifeway, including the adult Explore the Bible resources. He also teaches an adult group and preschool group every Sunday in the church he attends.
This article was originally posted on the Explore the Bible blog.