Jesus commanded his followers, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations … teaching them.” (Matt 28:19-20) “Mission often involves sending individuals and groups, called “missionaries”, to foreign countries and to places in their homeland for the purpose of proselytism (conversion to Christianity, or from one Christian tradition to another). This involves evangelism (preaching a set of beliefs for the purpose of conversion), and humanitarian work, especially among the poor and disadvantaged.”
While missions have occurred since the first century, it has been the last 400 years, when Christians think of missions. However, the local evangelist will enter a new mission field: their own community. While most dictionaries do not recognize this new move, it is the best thing since the Reformation. Why? The foremost reason stems from Christianity being in almost every nation. The second reason is many of the countries that began the modern-day missions movement do not evangelize their own communities. A church will fund and send a young person to a foreign land feeling the person carries out Matthew 28:19-20. However, this obligation weighs on all Christians. The new attention must refocus those costs and energies on evangelizing communities.
Because very few churches have an evangelism program, few Christians have an awareness of the extraordinary joy associated with “making disciples by teaching them.” Paul and his more than one hundred traveling companions knew this joy all too well.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
2:19. Paul gives a glimpse into why he was so persistent. These people were his hope, joy, and crown. Paul understood life today in the light of the eternity to come. He built the present upon his certainty of the future. Everything pointed toward the day when he would stand in Christ’s presence. He knew that people were the treasure and glory for which God worked and suffered. Paul’s vision of life centered upon people because he knew that all of God’s revelation—from creation through the prophets to Christ himself—intended to redeem people.
2:20. To Paul, the Thessalonian believers were our glory and joy. God is interested in people. The heavens are his, the mountains are the work of his hand, the oceans are his handiwork—but people are his pride and treasure. Like Paul, we should express our love to others, treasuring the moments when people come to faith in Christ.
Paul was very aware of the joy that came with making disciples, which he wrote about in his letter to the Thessalonians. He knew the joy of watching the happiness of converts as they came to know the biblical truth and the life-changing effects as they applied those truths in their lives. Christians also can share in that joy, the joy of having spiritual children that have brought to Christ.
What is the new territory for missions?
The most effective way to make disciples is finding someone who will listen and eventually accept the truths shared in the conversation. You may find that person by informally witnessing to someone one-on-one; through a church’s phone ministry, street witnessing, or the house-to-house ministry; or within one’s family, friends, neighborhood, or coworkers.
Once an evangelist has shared truths with someone for a time, invite them to church or another Christian service, and this may require offering them a ride. After the person attends a few meetings, they need a structured one-on-one Bible study with you. There are three different books to study with this person:
- Basic Bible Interpretation
- Basic Bible doctrines
- Spiritual and Personal Growth
Here are several books recommended,
Basic Bible Interpretation
- Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy B. Zuck (Jan 1991)
- INTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics by Edward D. Andrews
- HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of God by Edward D. Andrews
Basic Bible Doctrines
- Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson (Aug 15, 2013)
- CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY: The Evangelism Study Tool by Edward D. Andrews (Jul 16, 2016)
- THE BATTLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN MIND: Be Transformed by the Renewal of Your Mind by Edward D. Andrews
- FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART SO I AM: Combining Biblical Counseling with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [Second Edition] by Edward D. Andrews
- APPLYING GOD’S WORD MORE FULLY: The Secret of a Successful Christian Life [Second Edition] by Edward D. Andrews
- PUT OFF THE OLD PERSON: Put On the New Person [Second Edition] by Edward D. Andrews
- WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD: Putting God’s Purpose First in Your Life [Second Edition] by Edward D. Andrews
How to Study With Others
The books that do not have chapter study questions will require the teacher to provide some for the student. This essentially designs the books as a Bible study course for the teacher and student. Proceed with the Bible study as follows:
- Assign material for the next study.
- Instruct the student to cover the material himself or herself, and to highlight answers to the end of chapter questions.
- Meet with the student for 60 minutes to 90 minutes.
- Have the student read the paragraphs that go with a single question, then ask the question to the student.
- After he or she has answered, correct any misconception, and if there are none, ask more open-ended questions, to create more reflection and understanding.
- Repeat this process until the study is over.
- Assign the student the next section.
- Make the needed adjustments with any material as it is needed.
- Tell the student to take questions that come up during his or her personal study, and to mark them in the book’s margins where it applies. Also, tell the student that unrelated questions should be saved until the end of each study session.
What are some recommended publications? What are some tips to studying with others?
What Is a Bible Study?
This is something quite new to most Christians, regardless of one’s denomination. There are some differences, which we must recognize, and we are going to add a new one to the list. The first type is something that every Christian should already do, which is a personal Bible study. Any believer should study the Bible as a personal religious or spiritual practice. A Bible study is different from the second type. Biblical studies occur informal setting—a teacher/instructor or professor if it is at a college or university. Most believers are familiar with these two ways of studying the Bible. However, there is a third type: Christian-student Bible study. This study may take between six and eighteen months. This is where a Christian sits down with a new convert or someone seeking the truth to systematically study a Christian publication, such as basic biblical interpretation and basic Bible doctrines, using the Bible as the main tool. This gives the convert or seeker a basic education in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. This study has a four-fold purpose:
- To teach the new person the essential doctrines of the Christian faith;
- To teach the new one the basics of how to interpret the Bible correctly;
- To help this new one put on the mind of Christ, the new person, so they eventually dedicate their life to God; and
- To become a disciple of Christ. (Matt. 28:19-20)
What is a Bible study as far as this book is concerned?
Carrying Out a Bible Study
While someone must have a systematic approach to studying a Christian publication, more is involved than reading paragraphs, asking questions, and looking up cited texts. The Christian teacher must acquire the skills to get the material down into the heart of the Bible student so that it motivates the student to make the needed changes in their lives.
Beginning: Any proper Bible study must begin with the teacher praying about the coming study. The teacher should incorporate any needs the student may have. (Col. 1:9-10) Pray about God helping the teacher reach the student, and the student fully grasping the meaning of God’s Word. As you look at the information that you will be covering with the student, consider the chapter title, the headings, and the subheading, as well as any images or charts. Mentally consider the main points for the next study.
Also, carefully consider the paragraphs, reflecting on the questions in the book, or the questions the teacher generated for the book. Do not over highlight, but mark answers in the book and key thoughts. As you go, look up every Scripture, reflecting on how they apply to the material. Use a notepad to make notes that the teacher believes will be relevant to their student.
After you have met and discussed issues for some time, the teacher will begin to know their student’s mindset. That helps the teacher prepare a study with even deeper interest to the student. Moreover, always be aware of the student’s spiritual maturity, what he or she must know to make progress. For example, consider illustrations on areas the student mentioned in a previous conversation.
What should a teacher do before he or she ever has their first study?
Reason from the Scriptures
Scripture: Make a note of specific Scriptures that will be read and discussed during the study, as you will not have time to read them all. Choose the ones that are the basis of the material being discussed, as well as those that are most pertinent to the student.
Leading Questions: Do not jump right into an explanation of the material or Scriptures; rather meet their questions with leading questions. A leading question is suggestive, which suggests the answer. If the Scripture is obvious, you may simply ask, “How does the text support the material in the book.” If it is not so obvious, the teacher could ask a question or a series of questions that guide the student along.
Do Not Overwhelm: As the teacher grows into this role, you must learn not to overwhelm the student with too much-unneeded information. Simply give the basics and do not feel the need to offer a lengthy explanation. For example, do not get caught off on studies of terms in the text if it does not relate. There may be some interesting terms, which would offer intriguing discussions but could create a mental fog for the student.
Life Application: Look for opportunities to help the student apply Scriptures in their lives. For example, you may have a student who has not committed to a regular attendance of the meeting. Therefore, when a text comes up that addresses meeting attendance, this would be the time to look closer at the text.
How do you reason from the Scriptures?
Training Your Bible Student to be a Ready Student
If the student fails to be ready for the lesson material, it will throw the whole study off course. If they have read the material, underlined answers, read the cited texts, and pondered their answers, the study will move along smoothly with far more spiritual progress. The student who is not ready will slow things down, including their spiritual progress.
Inform The Student: Take the first study to walk through how they should read the questions, read the material, and find the answer without highlighting everything. Explain to the student that a book can be written in and that they should write any thought or question in the book’s margins. For example, read a text out of a paragraph, then show them how that text supports what the author has said and write a note that expounds on the text in their margin, noting the point the student would share. Explain that at the end of a study it is good to read through the material one more time to refresh the mind. In addition, they may want to read it through the day of the study to refresh their memory.
Keep a Good Pace: Do not want to rush through a study because the student was unprepared. The material must be covered well enough so that it is fully understood. If a particular student needs more attention and time, give them smaller assignments. Inform the student both of you will do the study, and that social conversation comes at the end of the study. Keep the pace beneficial by not overwhelming the student with unnecessary information.
How do you train your Bible student?
Dealing with Questions
Questions that deal directly with the material should be dealt with at the moment. If the question is unrelated, address it after the study. Moreover, a question might require the teacher to do some research. However, the student should research it, as well. After the next study, see what the student discovered with that question, and correct any misunderstandings. It may require taking one study, in the beginning, to show the student how to research effectively with Bible study tools.
How should you deal with questions?
Prayer before the Study
The study should begin with a prayer, and end with a prayer and the teacher should offer the prayer. If perhaps the student is an atheist, you may want to go through a few studies before praying at the studies, because you want the atheist to see the benefits of the study, and to be comfortable.
Prayer: The prayer should be asking God for ability and humility to understand his Word. You should mention any needs the student has. Thank God for the Bible, the church that you attend, the denomination, the freedom to study, and for life that each person enjoys. Ask God that he bless the efforts to apply God’s Word in your lives.
How should you approach prayer?
The Bible study may be with someone who has never been to a church. The student may be reluctant or nervous about attending. Take the time to describe the different services offered by the teacher’s church, going into detail of what goes on and the people who attend. This way, when the student finally agrees to attend, it will be familiar to them.
Passing it Forward
The student may be reluctant to share what they learn. Nevertheless, disciples make disciples who make disciples, a never-ending chain. Caution them that not all people will be receptive, and some will even be hostile. Therefore, they should start with family, friends, and coworkers.
Evangelizing With Your Student
After completing the study to interpret the Bible, and the basic doctrines of the faith, take the student on opportunities for evangelism. At first, the teacher may speak to people, with the student possibly interjecting. Eventually, though, the student should learn to initiate and carry out conversations. However, they should not go out in public ministry with you if they are practicing sins, such as smoking.
Your Student’s Bible Study
There will come a time when the student will have a student of his or her own. Help your student prepare by going along with them and getting them off to a good start. If your church has an evangelism school, your student should sign up as soon as they are living a Christian life, such as attending church services regularly.
How should you approach the student going to Christian meetings? How do you get your student to the place of making disciples?
Biblical Interpretation: After reading 1 Corinthians 15:58, The student will explain the results of the steps that he followed:
Step 1: What is the historical setting and background for the author of the book and his audience? Who wrote the book? When and under what circumstances was the book written? Where was the book written? Who were the recipients of the book? Was there anything noteworthy about the place of the recipients? What is the theme of the book? What was the purpose for writing the book?
Step 2a: What would this text mean to the original audience? (The meaning of a text is what the author meant by the words that he used, as should have been understood by his readers.)
Step 2b: If there are any words in the section that one does not understand, or that stand out as interesting words that may shed some insight on the meaning, look them up in a word dictionary, such as Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.
Step 2c: After reading this section from the three Bible translations, doing a word study, write down what you think the author meant. Then, pick up a trustworthy commentary, like Holman Old or New Testament commentary volume, and see if you have it correct.
Step 3: Explain the original meaning in one or two sentences, preferably one. Then, take the sentence or two; place it in a short phrase.
Step 4: Now, consider their circumstances, the reason for it being written, what it meant to them, and consider examples from today that would be similar to that time, which would fit the pattern of meaning. What implications can be drawn from the original meaning?
Step 5: Find the pattern of meaning, the “thing like these,” and consider how it could apply to our modern day life. How should individual Christians today live out the implications and principles?
 Or presence (Gr parousia), which denotes both an “arrival” and a consequent “presence with.”
 Knute Larson, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, vol. 9, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 28.
 Again, any verse that this book recommends in a course project, can be set aside by your director the second time through the book.