Dear Friends,

You are conscious you should read your bible but you don’t know what to read (which part) or what to make of it or what to do with it.

You are in a small group but your members don’t prepare – in fact they don’t come that often – and you yourself hardly have time to prepare.

Here is way forward – buy yourself a small notebook – the size of a cigarette box will work. Get one for each member of your group.

If you are planning your own quiet time –

  1. Choose a book you don’t know that well. If you are reasonably new to the bible pick a letter like Philippians, Colossians or 1 Peter.
    [What follows now will take you 6 minutes]
  2. Write at the top of the page of your notebook the section you will tackle and the date – for example – Philippians 1:1- 6. Pray the Lord will teach you and read the passage.
  3. Now give those verses a title or heading – one that is a good summary of the passage – for example ‘What a group!’ or ‘God at work’
  4. Then pick what you think is the key verse in your passage – it could be 1:2 or 1:3 or 1:6, etc.
  5. Then write down the key person in the passage – perhaps Paul or Philippians or Christ. [Jesus may be the goal of every passage but He doesn’t have to be the subject of every passage].
  6. Next write down five plain facts from the passage – for example –
    a) Letter from Paul to Timothy (1:1)
    b) To people in Christ at Philippi (1:2)
    c) They make Paul thankful (1:3)
    d) He regarded them as gospel partners (1:5)
    e) He believed they were really saved (1:6)
  7. Finally write down the main lesson for me today for example – let me rejoice that I am ‘in Christ’ or who can I thank the Lord for today? Or how good that God will finish what He has begun in us!

Your tiny page will look like this –

Phil 1:1-6                   4.3.18
Title 1. God at work
Key verse/person 2. 1:6       3. Philippians
5 facts 4. Letter from Paul and Timothy
     To people in Christ at Philippi
     They make Paul thankful
     He regarded them as gospel partners
     He believed they were really saved
Lesson today 5.   Today I will thank God for many who have helped me

Then pray your lesson in and take a phrase with you into the day!

This method will make two things impossible.

If you are leading a group (or in a group) and are studying a book together (such as 1 Kings or John’s gospel) get your members to find 6 – 7 minutes before they come to fill in their own answers.

When they come they will have considered the passage, have some creative and applicable things to say – which you can detail together.

This can be done before the day begins – don’t tell me you are too busy!

This can be compulsory for discipleship groups – don’t tell me it’s too much!

When you’ve mastered one book pick another. If this method gets dull then try something else but here is something that may beat those frustrations many Christians feel. Doing this on your own or in your group will revolutionise things.


Simon Manchester