As a pastor I work hard to stay focused on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. One of the most important ways for a person to become more like Christ is to read and study the Bible. I have noticed that many times in the church we provide sermons, classes, and small groups but we fail to actually teach people how to study the Bible for themselves.
Beginning with the third session the course introduces a very simple method for reading and studying the Bible.
The acronym they use to help you remember how to read the Bible is COMA.
- What sort of writing is this? (A letter, a narrative, a poem?)
- What happened right before the passage you are now reading?
- What do you know about the author, audience, and situation that prompted the writing of the book?
- What do you learn about the main characters in this section? How does the author describe them? How do they describe themselves?
- What is the main point or points?
- What are the key words? What words or ideas are repeated?
- How does this text relate to other parts of the book?
- How does this passage relate to Jesus?
- What does this teach us about God?
- How could we sum up the meaning of this passage in our own words?
- How does this passage challenge (or confirm) my understanding?
- Is there some attitude I need to change?
- How does this passage call on me to change the way I live?
Instead of randomly reading the Bible I believe this is a simple process that will help Christians dig into the Word of God and apply it to their lives with the result that they are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.