A basic tenet of the Christian Military Fellowship is that God has chosen the Bible as His primary means of communicating with us - it is His Word! In the words of the Apostle Paul, therefore:
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Why? Because as he also said:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Key to a vibrant, robust, fruitful relationship with God is our attitude toward His Word (see Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1, 19 and 119; John 14:21, 23; Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 2:1-3 and many others!).
These" Discipleship Training Objectives" (DTO’s) are intended to get us into the Bible, studying for ourselves. Most often them are adapted with permission from" 30 Discipleship Exercises" by Charlie Riggs. They are divided into three levels: BASIC, INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED. This is not due to any degree of difficulty or intensity, but simply because the:
- Basic contains some fundamentals of Christianity, primarily what God has done and is doing for us;
- Intermediate contains some "how-to' s," primarily appreciation responses to what God has done and is doing for us;
- Advanced contains some realities of life as a Christian that are applied best when we grasp the basic and intermediate objectives.
By design, these DTO' s require more work than the average" fill-in-the-blanks" studies, but they are less exhaustive than a scholar would prefer (a bibliography of resources to help with both approaches is available in the CMF Home Office).
Hopefully they strike a balance by systematically guiding a person to develop basic Bible study skills while learning some foundations for Christian living (the "objectives").
If you will save your studies in a notebook, you will eventually have your own discipleship library. You can be tucking information into that “library" as you record your research, jot down questions, take notes of what others have discovered, find cross-references, and do supplemental reading. Then, rather than a "canned" method, you will have a customized resource; a "living," personalized document that represents how God is working in and through you. Something you "own" will be very much worth sharing!
The remainder of this ”Guide" contains instructions on how to study with the DTO' s and tips on using them for personal devotions, in one-to-one discipleship or as the basis for small group discussions. However or whether you decide to use them, we pray that God will:
..." fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding...in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins“ (Colossians 1:9b-14 NIV)
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The Discovery Bible Study Serices contains four lessons suitable for people who want to know how to have a relationship with God. These folks are often found in the context of following up an evangelistic event, a Sunday School class, or from among friends, neighbors, and relatives.
The lessons are taken from the Gospel of John and based on principles from a tract titled, "Welcome to the Family" (available from the Home Office), stated as follows:
- God loves you and created you to know Him personally.
- Man is sinful and separated from God, so we cannot know Him personally or experience His love.
- Jesus Christ is God=s only provision for man=s sin. Through Him alone we can know God personally and experience His love.
- We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience His love.
The intent of this study is to give people a chance to respond to the Gospel. If you plan to use it to that end, you should be prepared to share that message whenever you can (i.e. 1 Peter 3:15). To help you prepare, we suggest one or both of the following:
- Learn to use a gospel tract like, AWould You Like To Know God Personally?@ or whatever you prefer that contains the facts people need in order to enter a relationship with Jesus Christ and/or;
- Memorize a gospel presentation like the ABridge to Life@ illustration from the Navigators, the ARomans Road@ (Romans 3:10-11; 3:23; 5:8; 6:23; 10:9-10), or some scriptural Anutshells@ of the Gospel (like John 3:16; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 16:30, 31; 20:21; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:1, 2; 15:3,4)
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Knowing the reality of military operations that can make it difficult or impossible to access anything more than your Bible. It is not unheard of to have devotions on an empty mess deck, by the light of a red fire exit sign or under a blanket with a flashlight. In fact, with the exception of those with access to a computer, nobody ever deploys with a theological library in their locker, rucksack or flight bag. It is possible, however, to do very meaningful Bible studies with no more tools than paper and pen or pencil.
This method being shared can be a personally edifying, devotional approach that is time honored. It begins with opening the Bible and reading it! As you read a passage, seek to understand the context (the main topics of the paragraph, chapter and book in which the passage is located) so that any interpretations you make are consistent with the author’s intent. Trust the Holy Spirit to be your Teacher. Ask the Lord to speak to you and to lead you not only in hearing but also living out whatever you learn (see James 1:22-25).
The mechanics of this method come from the questions that the Apostle Paul asked when he was confronted by Christ on the road to Damascus, as he recounted in Acts 22:6-11. It is always appropriate to ask, “Who are you, Lord?” (vs. 8) and “What shall I do, Lord?” (vs. 10). he first question is seeking to know God, the theologians call it “proper theology.” The second question is seeking to know what to do about it, the theologians call it “practical theology.” he whole process is what they call “theological reflection.” But these are just fancy ways of saying that we
need to figure out who God is and how we should live in response to Him.
So this quick-step method is simply a way of asking those questions and deciding what to do in response to the answers. You could, in fact, just make asking those literal questions and seeking the answers from the passage the sum total of your routine. But as part of the process try to answer the two questions and pursue the two action steps that follow (you could call it the ASK & ACT devotional Bible study method):
ASK: What does the passage say about God the Father, the Son, and/ or the Holy Spirit?
ASK: What does the passage say about any specific person(s), people in general or me in particular?
ACT: Determine anything from the passage for which I can worship, praise, thank or ask the Lord — and d o so!
ACT: Determine any sins I need to confess and forsake, promises to claim, commands to obey, examples to follow, errors to avoid, actions to take, etc. — and d o so!
Jot down the answers to the questions as well as the actions you intend to take in response. Acting on what you have d iscovered begin with writing out and reciting a prayer. Praying through this process will really help your to understand and apply whatever truth you have gleaned from the passage.
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