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One-to-One Bible Reading: a simple guide for every Christian

One-to-One Bible Reading: a simple guide for every Christian

Product Review (submitted on 28 May 2013):

Bible reading made simple! That’s another title for an excellent little book that is actually called One to One Bible Reading. The subtitle says it well: a simple guide for every Christian. That is exactly what you will find as you read it. By the way, it’s also an easy read. You will finish it in one sitting! The author is David Helm, a pastor in Chicago, and what you will read is the result of his own personal ministry of Bible reading with others.

The basic message of the book is that every Christian can read the Bible with another person and gain understanding of God’s message. The early part of the book establishes the purposes of reading one to one: evangelism, discipleship, training, and relationship. You can do your reading with someone who is not a Christian, someone who is a new Christian, someone who needs training for ministry, or someone with whom you wish to strengthen your relationship. The focus is on God’s Word.

Helm then gives two different approaches to studying the Bible with the other person. One approach, the Swedish Bible Study approach, using simple diagrams of a light bulb, question mark and an arrow to highlight areas where a person is either impressed by something in the passage (a light bulb), has a question about something he/she does not understand (a question mark), or sees a specific application to their life (an arrow). These items are then discussed between the people involved.

The second approach uses COMA questions, where the readers focus on specific questions relating to Context, Observation, Meaning, or Application. This approach is a more advanced and in-depth way of studying the Bible.

The appendix of the book gives you some general questions to ask for the various genres that you find in the Bible (narrative, poetry, expository, prophesy, etc.). These questions are also available through the publishers website for free to be printed as needed (much better than copying the pages from the book!). The questions are based on the COMA Bible study method.

Allow me to share with you my own personal experience using the One to One Bible Reading approach. I have used it in small groups as well as one to one. I have used it with my wife. Though I have tried both approaches to studying the Bible with someone else, the COMA method has been particularly effective in getting to the meaning and application of the passage after determining context and doing the important work of observation.

I have been blessed by the insights I have gained as I shared thoughts with those who are reading with me. It does not require a great deal of preparation (you can do all the work when you are together or in advance, your choice!), nor does it require one person to be the teacher and the other a student (both are students, learning together!). Yes, there will be times when you will want go deeper by studying other resources (commentaries come to mind), but there is plenty of “gold” to mine right there in your Bible.

This book is an excellent tool to be used for evangelism and discipleship. I cannot give it any higher recommendation. Get a hold of a couple of the books and share it someone else so that you can begin the life-changing process of allowing God’s Word transform your life and the life of someone important to you.


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