It seems like every chef has a special sauce, a family recipe passed from generation to generation, or secret ingredients that elevate their dish to the next level. This culinary treasure is guarded closely—never to be revealed to the public even from their deathbed. We at Faith Comes By Hearing have a secret recipe for personal transformation, but unlike famous chefs, we’re going to spill the beans and share it with you.
Personal transformation consistently occurs across cultures, races, and socioeconomic classes by interacting with Scripture in a familiar setting with a group of people. The secret is what happens in that group.
A Faith Comes By Hearing Bible listening group in Haiti, Kenya, India, or the U.S. is open to all people without exception: Christians and non-believers, young and old, rich or poor. It is not just for people who cannot read or write—both literate and non-literate gather to listen to the Word of God in their language. Many examples of this are found in the Bible. Deuteronomy 31:12 says, “Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law.”
Each listening group is characterized by open discussion. It is purposefully designed to be a safe place to explore and ask questions. Group members respect one another and have the opportunity to comment or share what God is doing in their lives. A Bible listening group is not a place for preaching or teaching; it’s a place to listen and interact.
One listening group member described his experience this way: “This program brings together people of all ages with the same purpose: to listen to the Word of God. It breaks down cultural barriers as men and women sit together and listen to the Bible. Everyone has the opportunity to ask and participate in the debate. We have grown spiritually since we started this program. Many of us learned how to pray here and in our families. We can now interpret the Bible at some level.”
The group meets at a predetermined time and place, generally on a weekly basis. The group leader listens to the Scripture passage ahead of time and prepares a few questions to get the discussion going. Objectives of group Scripture listening and engagement include a growing understanding the Bible, time for reflection on the content, and the ability to apply the truths learned.
“My husband George came to believe in Jesus in the listening group,” Sandra said. “He treats me well and comes home at a reasonable hour; he has stopped doing things that displease God. Now I know for sure that God is real, and I do not have to see Him to know that is true.”
Often, the hardest part of group dynamics is getting the conversation started. Faith Comes By Hearing implements a simple method that has proven effective worldwide: The group leader asks questions in three categories labeled Head, Heart, and Hands.
The Head questions help group members remember what they just heard:
· What happened in this passage?
· Can you retell the story in your own words?
· Who were the people involved, and what were they saying?
The Heart questions help the listeners think about the meaning:
· What does this passage mean to you?
· How do you feel about it?
· What are you learning from this?
Lastly, the Hands questions challenge the group to think about practical ways to apply the material to their lives:
· Now that you know what the passage is about and what it means, what will you do?
· Please give specific examples of how you could apply this in your life this week.
Personal application of truths learned in a Bible listening group leads to life transformation.
It’s important to track the changes and spiritual growth in the group members. Time is allocated to share testimonies, which encourage and challenge group members. Many times, the words spoken are backed up by a change in behavior.
The secret is out. Personal transformation takes place in the context of a group that gathers regularly to listen to, reflect on, and apply the spiritual truths found in the Bible. Great news: You can begin your own life transformation, too! Start a listening group with a few friends or family members and listen through a book of the Bible or one of the plans found on Bible.is. Work through the Head, Heart, and Hands questions above. Find out what God wants to tell you!