The First Quarter Bible Study Guide
Download Bold for the Cities: 2015 | 1Q | Acts (PDF)
As we dreamed about the place and function of a Bible study in the life of Cities Church, several features stood out. I will mention four of them now to give you some background to this guide, and to give you an idea for how to use it.
1. Sermon Series
The guide is laid out to complement the sermon series on Acts that starts in February. The length of the guide follows a very simple quarterly schedule, which turns out to be three months at a time. So, when this guide was written we did our best to plan out the sermon passages as well. If this guide and the sermon passages get out of sync, that is okay — we will re-adjust with the second-quarter guide.
We plan to preach through Acts at a moderate pace—between a half chapter and a chapter per week. This should take us into September, just before we start a new series for the fall.
This guide has 12 weeks, which lines up with the first quarter, January to March. Each week is broken down in a three-day layout. Exactly how you use the guide is flexible, though. You may wish to take three days a week to work on it, following the layout in detail, or you might decide to spread the three-day layout over a full week.
There are three parts per day, each catering to different ways of taking in theBible. First, there is a chapter of the Bible to read. Second, there is a section of Scripture to look at that accompanies the sermon passage for the week. We’ve written questions for this section and also included relevant quotes. Third, we suggest a verse or two to reflect on. You can choose the way you want to reflect and mediate on the verses. As one option, I have included an appendix on how to do the inductive Bible study method.
Each week we’ve added an open page to be a place to take notes on the sermon. We think this will be a nice way to include the sermon notes into your study and have all your notes in one place. We’ve also included a blank page each week for extra reflection. This would be a good place to journal a prayer or work through some thoughts on an issue or question you have.
Lastly, we’ve added an article each week. The articles include relevant content to the Book of Acts or to Bible-reading in general. This guide also includes two stories from members of our church. These stories give us a front-row seat to the gospel at work in real lives, and provide another way for us to hear from one another.
One of our aims with this guide is to provide a means for consistent Bible-intake. We want to equip you for ministry, both for your personal growth in the gospel and in your love for neighbors. This guide is generic enough that you will have to put in some of your own work to mine the Bible for diamonds. And we wouldn’t want it any other way. This guide is sort of like us roping off an area to dig, but you’re the one putting the shovel to the ground.
Lastly, this guide isn’t mandatory for our Life Groups. We offer it with open hands simply as a tool to help. If this guide wouldn’t be helpful to you, then don’t use it. Our suggestion to you is that you have some plan to get more of God’s word into your life in 2015. This guide is one way, but there are many others.
May God bless Cities Church in 2015, and may he help us “hold fast to the word of life” (Phil. 2:16).