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A Discovery Bible Study: In The Trenches

By Ron Surgeon  /  


In my last blog I used the term discovery bible study. What is a discovery bible study? It is a simple means of studying scripture that is highly participatory in contrast to being “preachy.” A series of simple questions are asked repeatedly in order to extract truth from the passage. Questions are asked and answered until the participant(s) feel that all the possible answers have been exhausted. One thing we must aim to do in discovery bible study is to let the participants actually discover what is in the passage. Don’t teach, don’t preach, just discover. Be sure to focus only on the present story without bringing in other passages. When answers seem to wander from the passage, sometimes we may have to ask, “Where do you find that in the story?” Let’s give it a try using the story of the sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50. I will include the discovery questions below the story. May the Spirit bless you to discover beautiful treasures out of this staggering story. Enjoy!

36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Discovery questions:

1. What did you learn about God (The Father, Jesus, Spirit) in this passage?

2. What did you learn about people in this passage?

3. Is there a command to obey or an example to follow?

4. Is there a sin to avoid or turn from?

5. Is there a promise to believe in this passage?

6. What will you put into practice from this passage?