One of the most effective ways to reach friends with the truth of the gospel is to read and talk about the Bible with them. Doing so allows them to discover truth for themselves. And after all, “. . . the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).
Here are six tips to get things started:
- Set the atmosphere. Choose a comfortable, normal meeting place, like a home or a coffee shop. If you decide to meet in a home, rotate between homes. Songs, prayers, and religious language are not part of this type of Bible discussion. Keep it simple.
- Small is beautiful. Participants can number from two to 10 at the most. If it gets bigger than that, true discussion becomes difficult.
- Timing. Don’t be late and don’t go over time. Stop talking before people stop listening. The schedule should be predictable so that people can plan accordingly.
- Stick with the Bible even if people are unfamiliar with it. Explain that there are two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Explain the numbering for chapters and verses. Don’t assume that people have any prior knowledge.
- Subject Matter. There are several good options as starting points, such as the meaning of work, child rearing, or whatever constitutes an open need for your friends. But all roads eventually lead to the single question: Who is Jesus? Help people get a fresh look at Him. The Gospel of John is a great book to start with for that.
- Prepare for a session with questions that help probe the text. Keep sessions interactive. Encourage people to read ahead, but don’t expect them to prepare. Create an environment in which questions can flourish. Everyone will be wondering, Is it safe to ask my real questions around here? Make sure it is.
Adapted from Reading the Bible with Friends Who Don’t Believe It by Jim Petersen. Used by permission from NavPress.