The introduction alone to Unleash the Word is a good enough reason to buy this book! But there is more — much more — to this guide into how to lead a small-group Bible study.
Here is a most helpful resource to aid us in preparing and leading such studies. In little more than 100 pages we have a treasure trove of ideas, suggestions and advice to help with this responsible task of preparation.
Karen deals most helpfully with some of the problems that can loom large and prove daunting to many preparing to lead such studies. Her analysis of the problems we face is both sympathetic and wise, for hidden behind her easy-to-read style is a depth of theological knowledge which gives this book a solid biblical foundation.
The footnotes at the end of each chapter provide extra reading suggestions for any who wish to follow up a particular issue.
After discussing several approaches to leading a study, Karen assesses the merits of each but warns of the pitfalls that may await the unwary. She then develops her essential theme, which she calls ‘the big question model’.
This revolves around three main questions with which to lead the group through the passage of Scripture. First, ‘What does the passage say?’ Following a discussion on this point, we probe further by asking, ‘What does the passage mean?’ And lastly she suggests a ‘So what?’ question, or, more formally, ‘What is the implication of this passage?’ The beauty of this outline is its simplicity and yet its all-inclusive nature.
A mere head knowledge of Scripture is of little value unless we seek answers for this final question and so apply the text to our lives. Nor is this outline just a question of methodology, for we are urged to give time to personal prayer and meditation on each passage of Scripture studied.
As an added bonus, Karen concludes Unleash the Word with 13 model study guides based around these three questions. Five are from the Gospel of Mark, followed by eight centred on chapters in 1 Samuel.
So, for those whose task it is to lead such study groups, we may say a sincere thanks to Karen for the excellent help this book affords.