After the excitement of last month’s issue dealing with blood moons and other “cataclysmic” events, it’s time for something more down-to-earth. In a very real way, this issue is about the book of Habakkuk. At the same time, I am not going to tell you anything about it. This is a DIY, a do-it-yourself issue. It will also be shorter than usual. The real content is in the Habakkuk study guide that I will introduce here and that is available as a free download for subscribers to the email version of this blog.
So if you are not a subscriber yet, sign up using the form in the sidebar on the right, and you will soon be able to access the study guide.
The guide will enable you to turn Habakkuk into a Learning Site, both for yourself and for others.
“Create a Learning Site”
There is after all a reason why I chose “Create a Learning Site” for a name. I started this site to create a learning experience for myself, and also as a platform to share what I am learning with others. And I would like those others (that includes you) to do the same, if I can help it: create a learning site not just for yourself, but also for others.
The guide is meant to help you do this. It has a small group Bible study in mind. You can also use it on your own, but preferably, you will be working your way through the four sessions together with a handful of fellow travellers, creating a learning site both for yourself and for them.
The Original Idea
I first created such a study guide for the book of Ephesians (available as “E Modul Ephesian”) in 2007 as part of my involvement with the School of Biblical Studies in Germany. At that time, we regularly did one day or one weekend introductory seminars to inductive Bible study, usually in a church setting.
In such a seminar, we spent our time exploring a short book of the Bible, such as Philemon or Philippians. We included very little theory. Rather than talk about inductive Bible study we let people do it by leading them through the process step by step and giving them short and concrete assignments. The feedback at the end was always overwhelmingly positive. For participants it was a great experience to discover all sorts of things in a familiar New Testament letter.
However, after a while we realized that it tended to stop right there: a great experience. It was not enough to effectively change the way people relate to the Bible and study it. So we came up with the idea of having a follow-up module: a study guide that would help a church to work its way through at least one additional book in order to get more acquainted with the method and practice of inductive Bible study.
It was a great idea, but I am not sure how much this modul and the one on Galatians (only available in German) were actually used. I was therefore surprised when two months ago I received evaluation sheets for this module. A former SBS student had used it in his home cell group. This old stuff was still working.
It made me want to do another module, but this time not on a letter and preferably for an Old Testament book. I decided to go with Habakkuk, since it has a clear structure and a story in the background. Plus, it is a very different type of literature from Paul’s letters.
So without further ado, here it is: my summer project, a module or study guide on the book of Habakkuk.
Route 66 Reading Groups
Since I am at it, let me share another “oldie” with you. In those SBS years in Germany, we also picked up the idea of a Bible reading group named Route 66, after the number of books in modern Bibles. The Google Drive folder with downloads includes an information sheet explaining this programme (“Route 66 Information”) and how to go about it. Basically, you meet regularly to read for one or two hours. If you do this long enough, you will make your way through the whole Bible (with two hours a week, it takes about a full year).
You don’t have to go for the whole Bible right away, of course. In fact, you could also do just one evening of Bible reading. Take a book of appropriate size (Mark or a longer epistle are quite doable in one or two hours) and simply read. Each person reads a paragraph or perhaps a chapter, and then the next one continues. There is great power in such soaking in the word. (And here is a secret: it takes no preparation time.)
Some Practical Information
The study guide includes four sessions of approximately an hour and 15 minutes each. It can be found in the Google Drive folder accessible to subscribers (file name: “Module Habakkuk”). There is also a help sheet (file name: “Module Habakkuk Help Sheet”). Both documents are available in Word and in PDF format.
In addition, there are two short YouTube videos as alternatives to the information sheets included in the study guide. You find them here:
Hebrew poetry: https://youtu.be/oGjCIck61H8
Historical background: https://youtu.be/fnWZIVelPHA
So how does the idea of making Habakkuk your Learning Site make you feel? Leave a comment!