I’ve been leading a small group Bible study this summer through the book “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin. In addition to reading and discussing the book, we’re learning and practicing inductive bible study methods through the book of Jude. I’m publishing my study notes and lesson plans for my own reference, but also to provide ideas for anyone else who is interested in studying or leading a group discussion of the book or Jude. If you find this helpful, please let me know! Some of my discussion questions are taken or adapted from here.
Week One – Introduction & Overview of Inductive Bible Study Method
Discussion of Intro (30 min)
1. Jen describes her “church pedigree” as “mixed breed.” What is your church pedigree? How has your exposure to different churches (or lack thereof) shaped the way you view Bible study?
2. On page 18, Jen describes her study method: “It intends to teach you not merely a doctrine, concept, or story line, but a study method that will allow you to open up the Bible on your own.” How equipped do you feel to study the Bible on your own? What tools do you currently use when you study?
3. What do you think has been the greatest obstacle to your study efforts in the past? In your current life stage? What do you think could be an obstacle in the future?
As Jen says in the introduction, moving the mountains of our Biblical ignorance will happen one small spoonful at a time. Each new Bible study “tool” we add to our “toolbox,” every few minutes spent studying and meditating on a passage, and each new beneficial habit we cultivate, will help to move those mountains of ignorance, apathy, or poor study habits and make us women who truly KNOW and LOVE the Word!
Introduce Observation / Interpretation / Application overview stages of IBS (15 minutes)
– Taught to and used all over the world by believers who have nothing more than a Bible of their own.
– Allows you to unlock and discover the meaning of both difficult and accessible passages for yourself, without RELYING on teachings, study Bibles, commentaries, etc.
– We are commanded to be WORKERS (implies labor, time, and effort) who aren’t ashamed and who can RIGHTLY divide the Word of truth
– ALL Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable – even those passages and verses that seem “un-useful”, difficult to understand, or which we don’t have a personal or emotional reaction to!
Observation (Comprehension) – What does it say?
– Using both a telescope to zoom out and see the big picture, and a magnifying glass to zoom in and examine and discover the details in a passage.
– Doesn’t seek to understand or attribute MEANING or Application, but stays in the questioning and discovery mindset
– Thorough observation lays a foundation for correct interpretation and application
– Comprehension: have you ever read a passage and walked away having no idea what you just read? Observation/comprehension seeks to slow us down so that we will walk away from having read a passage having truly seen and remembered everything there is to see in there
– We will be spending several weeks looking at different observation tools that you can use in your own study of the Word
Interpretation – What does it mean?
– Answers what the passage meant to the original hearers
– Answers what it means to a universal audience
– Presents doctrine or teaching – what does this passage teach about God, man, sin, salvation, love, faith, marriage, etc.
– Always to be done in context of the entire Bible
Application – What does this mean to me?
– How does this change or enhance my understanding of who God is?
– How should I respond?
Introduce book of Jude (30 minutes)
Introduce the book of Jude: moving the mountain of ignorance (or apathy!) one spoonful at a time
– Read through once together
Why the book of Jude? Because it’s one of the shortest books of the New Testament (haha)…but also because it’s not a book that most women naturally gravitate towards for our devotions. It’s not the easiest or most emotionally uplifting book, and it’s one that we may not have a lot of previous knowledge of. Most of us won’t bring memories of past sermons, illustrations, or Bible studies revolving around this book, so it’s a great book to practice inductive bible study methods on. And finally, because it’s in the Bible! It is an inspired, God-breathed, important part of the revelation of God to the world, and therefore we must take it as seriously as God does. My goal is that by the end of this study, we would have a greater appreciation for every word the Holy Spirit included in the Bible, be motivated to dig into difficult or uncomfortable passages, and have the tools to do so successfully and joyfully.
– Did anyone see a purpose statement? (v. 3)
Question: ask as many questions as you can as you read – some rhetorical, just to get yourself to think; any questions that ask for further clarification; if you don’t understand something or can’t figure out why it’s there.
Create questions for the first two verses of Jude (Who is Jude? servant of whom? what does a servant do? has he always been a servant? who is this servant’s master? what does the rest of the Bible say about Jude? who is James? why is it important that they are brothers?)
(Due to time constraints we couldn’t do the background research together, so I gave the answers to some of our questions, and we looked at a few verses together as well that helped provide the biographical information we needed.)
Who: Jude, the brother of James and half-brother of Jesus! Didn’t always believe in Jesus; rather believed him after his resurrection. But is now a servant of Jesus
To: called, beloved in God and kept by Jesus – to a Christian community, which seems specific but isn’t specifically mentioned
What: a letter/epistle
When: 65-80 AD, sometime during Jude’s lifetime (contemporary of Jesus)
Why: to encourage believers to contend for the faith that false teachers were misrepresenting and seeking to destroy
Other: 15 of the 25 verses in Jude have very similar parallels in 2 Peter 2; it’s unknown which author is referencing which, or if they were both drawing from a common source; contains quotes and stories that don’t actually appear in the Bible, from extra-biblical books that aren’t considered inspired by do obviously contain some truth
Interpretation: (provided by me, for the purpose of demonstrating the stages of IBS)
Jude, although once a disbeliever of his brother Jesus, is not now only a believer after Jesus’ death and resurrection, but a slave and servant to Jesus, his Lord and Master. He is writing this letter as Jesus’ servant, with Jesus’ authority.
The gospel transforms lives! Even those who have had a close-up view of Christianity demonstrated to them, who refuse to believe, are not beyond God’s saving and transforming power. Just as Jude was converted from disbeliever to devoted follower, so may our loved ones be. Let us not give up hope for those who need Jesus!
My identity also should be bound up and defined by my relationship to Jesus. No longer am I my own person, but a servant of Jesus. Jude was no longer a “brother of Jesus” but is now a “servant of Jesus.”
Introduce “rules” – no commentaries or study Bibles or listening to sermons; discuss materials needed: non-study Bible, bible with cross-references, markers, pens, highlighters, etc., journal, clean copy of text, English dictionary.
End with quote from conclusion, page 148
Homework: Begin observation on the book of Jude. Read it start to finish at least 3 times, summarizing the big ideas and main points in the margins, and asking as many questions as you can of the text. Read chapter 1 in WOW.