Discovery Bible Study
The focus of Discovery Bible Studies - DBS is to help those participating in the study to find the Truth for themselves and discover Jesus in the way the Holy Spirit reveals the Word to them as individuals and as well as a group.
This transformative bible study method has become a catalyst for some of the fastest-growing disciple making movements in the last 30 years. With it's intended purpose of developing disciples who are obedient to the commands of Jesus and his mission, it has become an engine for growth without the need for over organization.
We are using our adapted versions of DBS to spearhead movements among primarily among Muslim background peoples in Kenya, Pakistan, and also the United States. In these places, we are seeing God use DBS to reach people who were otherwise resistant to traditional methods of outreach.
What is a Discovery Bible Study?
Also known as DBS, Discovery Bible Study is an interactive small group bible study method widely used by disciple making movements. The study method is designed to encourage all involved to equally participate and discover the scripture together for themselves. Through a format of questions, the facilitator guides the group through the bible text they are studying. Together they learn more about God and each other.
We use an outline of spiritual exercises and have certain questions that the facilitator asks the group during the bible study. This is all designed to encourage the group to interact with The Most High God and each other, while helping them retain what they are learning through discovery and sharing.
This video was sourced at DBSguide.org and can be downloaded freely with other resources to help you launch a Discovery Bible Study
What is the goal of a discovery-based bible study?
The goal of the discovery bible study method is to build a platform to multiply disciples who are obedient to Jesus' commands. The questions and exercises practiced in the study promote accountability to God and the sharing of what they have learned through storytelling.
By equipping them to interact personally with the Word of God and sharing what they learned promotes relational evangelism. Most Nations of the Earth are oral learners and very good at retelling stories. DBS is made to take advantage of that and multiply the gossipers of the gospel through storytelling and discovery.
Who can participate?
We use Discovery Bible Studies for both those seeking Christ and those who have become disciples through faith in His Name. The great thing here is that through DBS many have come to saving faith in Jesus Christ and have joined Him in His mission to the Nations.
Where do you start?
We start at Genesis and over 14 weeks bring the participants to the death and resurrection of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World. Through this journey of discovery, we build a platform of The Most High's promise to Abraham to bless the Nations of the Earth through his Seed and reconcile them to Himself.
What happens after that?
We have another 14 weeks of discovery on the command on Commands of Christ. Then that follows another 14 weeks in the book of Acts where the vision for the mission of the Church and ministry of reconciliation is discovered. During these 28 weeks if a person becomes a disciple they are actively invited in participating in missional outreach and evangelism in dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
Also, during this period they will be trained and encouraged to start facilitating DBS under oversight of a trained facilitator. Many times in this period new disciples have been successful in leading unbelievers into a journey of discovery. They are expected to care and facilitate the new group while being overseen by a more mature disciple-maker. Some have successfully taken full responsibility for a group by the end of this 42 week DBS disciple-making process and are being trained in further leadership skills.
How does DBS benefit Disciple Making?
- Those participating in the Discovery Bible Study are trained to remember the Bible story of the week. Together they learn to retell the passage and are encouraged to share it with others in the following week. This instills a habit of sharing the stories of the Bible from the start..
- It inspires the students from the beginning to trust in the Word of God and the Holy Spirit as their primary source of revelation, rather than another human being.
- Group participation allows them to flow in the receiving and sharing of their revelation from the Word of God. This brings life and mutual accountability to their time together and helps build a disciple-making culture. They learn to love one another in the journey of being formed into the image of Christ.
- The DBS questions are designed to help them not only to be hearers, but also learn obedience to to the Word of God.
DBS helps to develop a fruitful disciple-making culture that results in a vibrant local church that is on mission together.
Can I learn and facilitate a DBS?
A People For His Name would be happy to assist in that if you feel you would like some help. The DBS is not hard to learn or facilitate and can be easily held in small groups in virtually any place. The studies are being held in many Nations, some in houses, some under trees, a traditional church building and like this picture above in Kenya, anywhere you can find shade.
Can the facilitator correct?
Yes, we like the facilitator to correct the group only when necessary. But again, the correction is facilitated through discovery. The DBS facilitator is trained to either correct by asking the participants to re-read the scripture, ask a question that will help them to find the answer for themselves. We use the simple question of, "where do we find that in the passage" in most cases to help keep the study on topic.
Why doesn't the facilitator teach?
While we believe in teaching and the gift of teaching spoken of in the bible. We have found it is better to use the gift to guide them to discover rather than teach in a typical sense.
What does a Discovery Bible Study look like?
It's surprisingly simple! First, we take some time to talk about our week. Everyone in the group shares what they're thankful for and what challenges they are currently experiencing.
Next, someone reads through the selected Bible text out loud while everyone else follows along. Then without looking, someone else retells the story by memory. From there, others are free to include anything absent that may have been overlooked.
DBS uses three focused questions to help us discover the wisdom of the Bible.
- What does this tell us about God, Jesus or his plan?
- What does this tell us about humans?
- What needs to change in our lives?
After reading the passage again, the group discusses the first question, "what does this story tell us about God, Jesus or his plan"?
Then re-reading the text again, the group then considers the following question, "what does this story tell us about humans"?
By limiting the discussion to what we find only in the text, we allow the Bible to speak for itself. This is the essence of Discovery Bible study, we are always asking where do we find that idea in this text.
The wisdom discovered becomes practical as everyone answers these questions based on what we observe in the text. That then helps us realize where we are doing well and what needs to change in our lives.
We also take time to consider others we know who we can share this with and how could we go about sharing it. Then next time we gather, everyone is encouraged to share how we were able to put the wisdom into practice and who we shared with.
Discovery Bible Study inspires a shared atmosphere where we discover for ourselves what the scripture says as we discuss the wisdom of the Bible and how it can change our lives.