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USING THE BIBLE STUDIES

OVERVIEW: How to get the most out of the studies

It's best to do the Knowing Better study first. We say it's a journey from the beach to the deep. The Fighting Better study can be done without doing Knowing Better but it gets into deeper issues quicker and the lessons are slightly longer so it may feel overwhelming to those new to Bible study. Even if you have been doing Bible studies for decades, we still recommend starting with the Knowing Better study to get powerful insights, tips, and resources that you won't want to miss and will prove helpful as you continue with the Fighting Better study. 

 

Using the study books:

ALONE

Both Knowing Better and Fighting Better Bible studies were designed to use on your own. In some ways, this is the best way. The whole goal of these studies is to not only meet God but to learn to experience Him in life-changing ways. The studies are written conversationally and should be easy to understand even if this is your first introduction to Jesus. The only resources needed are a Bible and something to write with. These are perfect for loved ones who are incarcerated, away at college, or feeling alone. It's also great for yourself if you are in some deep waters and absolutely need something to change in your life. While perfect for gospel sharing and new believers, neither is a "beginner" Bible study. Both are designed to teach you how to ENGAGE with and EXPERIENCE God in life-changing ways. Sometimes when we have a great deal of shame, guilt, or doubt, working with others doesn't work. These studies offer a safe place to find answers and hope in the presence of God.

 

ONE-ON-ONE

If you are a believer who wants to help someone else understand who Jesus is and to know God deeply a good way is to do the study together. Do the daily work on your own, then get together each week to discuss what was most impactful, interesting, and thought-provoking. Some have used each week's Wrap-Up to spark conversation and questions. 

One caution: Make it clear going in that you will not be sharing all your answers. Often people will not answer honestly if they know others will see their responses. Some people will not feel comfortable "getting real" yet. This needs to be a safe place for them to meet God and learn to trust.

WITH A SMALL GROUP

While doing Bible study in a small group is a fantastic way to develop fellowship with our family in Christ, these studies are a little different. Read the bold orange text in the paragraphs above and the sentences that follow them. In order to truly experience God and the transformed life He has for us, we need to feel safe enough to be authentic, unearth some things that are buried, face things we avoid, and confront uncomfortable topics. There is comfort and safety in doing that with God, but not with everyone else. Leaders will need to be considerate of that dynamic and make sure to maintain a safe small group environment.  

FOR JAIL/PRISON/REHAB MINISTRY

Depending on your ministry, situation, and restrictions within the facility you serve, one of the ways mentioned above may work for you too. Here are some different ways we've seen others use the books with inmates and those in recovery programs.

Jails. Many churches make the Knowing Better study available to the inmates who attend a weekly Bible study hosted by church laypeople. Because inmates are in for different durations of time and new inmates are always coming in, the study is given for the inmates to use on their own. Oftentimes, when a few inmates are working on the study within their pod, others get interested and more want to do it for themself. One group told us that they used the devotionals (in the back of the Knowing Better study) to do a daily group session and encouraged each other to keep going in the study on their own. Your group will need to make Bibles available to the inmates as well - which you probably are already doing. The thing we hear over and over is that those who never knew HOW to read their Bible learn how to get into it and see how valuable it is in their lives.

Prisons. One pastor we work with goes into the prison each week and meets with several guys one-on-one who want to visit. When she feels they would benefit, she gives them the Knowing Better study to work on at their pace. Each week she checks in and asks what stood out to them this week. Sometimes they've only gotten through a few pages but they always seem to have something meaningful to share. Sometimes they come back with eye-opening revelations. 

One church member faithfully visited an inmate during a 3-year sentence. He gave him the Knowing Better study to work on. He was so impacted that the rest of his time there he formed 6-week-long small groups of 5-6 guys and had them all go through it too. More and more guys kept asking him to include them. He took dozens of men through the study during his incarceration.

Because of the success we've seen using the Knowing Better study in prisons, we knew we wanted to keep the momentum going and provide them the next step on the journey with the Fighting Better study. This will allow groups to help inmates connect to God in real, experiential, life-changing ways over a few months - building relationships with God, His people (you), and potentially to a community of believers inside the walls.

Rehab. The methods for use in rehab situations will be the same as many of the scenarios we've already mentioned. One story that stands out is a young woman who works with kids in a juvenile detention center. For some of her teens, she knew needed God in big ways, she'd make a deal with them: Complete the KB study and she'd give them $100! She knew it was a big motivator but she put some parameters around it. They'd have to have a conversation with her after each week was completed to report on what they got out of it and she needed to see that all the blanks were filled in. Kids took the challenge. One teen that completed it got the $100, but I asked if it was truly impactful for him. She had two words for me, "Death to life!" 

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