Read the Bible with Someone Else: Preparation and Methods

(Brothers Al and Kenny talking at First Southern Baptist Church in Bellflower, CA)

Jesus has commissioned us to go and make disciples of all ethnic people groups. Disciple-making is pressing God's Word (in general) and the gospel (in particular) on a person's life while letting God's Word be pressed on you in their presence. So if you want to fulfill the great commission (Matthew 28.19-20) then one way you can do that is by reading the bible one on one with someone else, whether the person you read with is Christian or non-Christian. I was first put onto this by my brother Colin Marshall and it has born enormous fruit in my life and ministry. It's my prayer that part of our church's culture would be bible reading as part of intentional discipleship, edification, and evangelism. Here are four steps to preparation and three different methods you can try out and modify for your word-ministry to others.

Four steps to preparation (from One to One Bible Reading: A Simple Guide for Every Christian, p. 35):

  1. Pray for understanding and that God will use these meetings to grow your mutual faith in the power of the gospel.

  2. Read through the assigned portion of the Bible at least twice.

  3. Write down your impressions after reading the text each time – observations, main points, questions you have (depending on what sort of framework you are using).

  4. Pray based on what you have read, and pray again for your forthcoming meeting.

Here are 3 different methods of reading the bible with others, whether Christian or non-Christian:

The Swedish Method – (here’s a Swedish Method Template)

  • No prep time

  • Pick a passage or book to go through regularly

  • Look for an insight, question, application, and who you want to share what you learned with.

  • Discuss together and pray


  • Choose passage or book

  • See prep time above

  • Read passage out loud

  • Ask questions of Context, Observations, Meaning, and Applications.

  • Pray together about what you learned

  • Use these sheets

6 Steps to Encouragement

  • 15 minutes prep time for everyone before meeting – writing 5 things about the passage (insights, application, questions, etc).

  • 30 minute discussion time – read the passage aloud together and discuss your 5 things

  • Pray

Col Marshall has a good article introducing the concept and ministry of one to one Bible reading that everyone who reads this post should consult.

What blessings have you experienced by reading the bible with someone else? What challenges do you face in bible reading? Let us know in the comments.