On Wednesday I will be teaching a class on “How to use the Bible devotionally in small groups”–part of a series for a class at Willow Creek, my home church.

I’ll be talking about listening to God through his Word, about reading for “formation” rather than just “information.”

Our culture also puts emphasis on individual reading and study. But the New Testament letters were never studied individually at the time they were written. They were read aloud to the church, in a corporate setting, and immediately discussed. What if we were to do that in our small groups?

I wonder how many small groups turn to books about Christian living, or about relationships, rather than the Bible itself. I lead a small group, and I have to admit, it’s sometimes hard to draw applications and make the ancient texts relevant.

But that’s why I said yes to teaching this class. I think study is an important foundation, but true transformation occurs when we let the text touch our hearts. So I’m excited about not only sharing this with the leaders who will gather for the class, I’m inspired to put it into practice in my own group. The class will be available on-line after I teach it, I’ll post the link.

Are you in a small group? Do you study the Bible, or another book? Would you say your approach is more analytical, or devotional?