Manuscript Bible Study


Communal Discovery Bible Study

Overview

This method of Bible study is sometimes called “communal discovery” because the community or group discovers the truth of a Bible passage together, by asking and answering good questions and seeking Jesus together in His Word. The leader assists the group in digging into the passage rather than the leader only sharing insights and answering the group’s questions.

The format used for this kind of Bible study is called a “manuscript” of the passage. The “manuscript format” is just the text of the passage, no verse numbers, chapter divisions, headings, or notes at the bottom of the page. This format helps the learners “see” the passage in a fresh way, and helps the learners discover themes and relationships within the text. There is lots of room and white space to mark up the text and write notes and questions on the page that can be shared with a small group.

Each “Communal Discovery” Bible study starts with a few minutes of personal time for the group to read and mark their texts. The group spends the rest of the hour sharing what they see in the text, sharing questions that arise from the text, and grappling with those questions as a group as they seek answers from the text. The leader helps summarize the main points or flow of the passage. Finally, the group discusses how the passage relates to them and how they could apply it. The leader’s role is to facilitate the discussion and the discovery process.

Strengths

1. This method is an excellent tool for discipleship because it is simple and easily reproducible. A disciple who encounters and learns about Jesus through this kind of Bible study will immediately realize that they can introduce others to him in the same way.

2. It does not require specialized training or expensive materials.

3. When done in an atmosphere of mutual trust – where the disciple-maker is learning alongside the disciple – it can be a very non-threatening way for people to encounter Jesus on their own through God’s word.

4. Since the only materials used here are the Bible, and since it emphasizes the “priesthood of all believers” there are no problems from a CMC theological perspective.

Weaknesses/Challenges

For people accustomed to materials-driven lessons, it does require that the disciple-maker take a patient approach and it requires reliance on the work of the Holy Spirit. We must believe that God will speak to us through his word and we must believe that God will speak to us through other participants – even those who are still in the process of becoming Jesus-followers!

For more information go to: http://www.intervarsity.org/bible-studies/communal-discovery-method