Reading the Bible with the Swedish Method

The Swedish method of Bible study is one of my favourite ways of reading the Bible with other people. It requires minimal preparation and gives everyone a chance to dig deep into the passage.

If you’ve never heard of it before, I’m going to give a quick rundown of the Swedish method. I hope you’re then inspired to practice it yourself with this free downloadable resource!

Origins

The Swedish method was first given its name by Ada Lum, a university ministry worker who observed it being used by a group of Swedish university students.

How to practice it

The Swedish Bible study method is super simple!

While reading the Bible passage, there are a few categories to keep in mind.


Lightbulb

Finding the key points of the passage:

  • what shines or stands out to you in this passage?

Question mark

Anything difficult to understand or something to learn more about:

  • what is difficult to understand?
  • what would you like to learn more about?

Jesus

Seeing the passage in the context of the whole Bible, especially relating to Jesus:

  • what does this passage tell me about Jesus?
  • how does it point towards or look back to Jesus?

Arrow

Finding the practical application of the passage:

  • how can you personally apply this passage?
  • are there any commands or encouragements to take up or sins to avoid?

Tell

Moving towards sharing the truth of this passage with other people:

  • who can I tell this week about what I’ve learned in this passage?
  • this could mean encouraging a believer or reaching out to a non-believer

If you’re in a group, take it in turns to share your lightbulb moment. If you’re doing this method by yourself, feel free to just write your thoughts down in your journal or Bible study sheet!

Then go through the same process with the other categories. This is such a valuable opportunity to discuss the passage together and hear how the Bible is speaking to each person.

Why do this?

The great thing about the Swedish Method is it encourages everyone to get involved in discussing the Bible.  It’s not just about the Bible study leader preaching to the group – everyone is able to personally hear from God through the Word. Each person has an equal opportunity to think about the Word and share their insights. This is particularly helpful for:

  • people who are new to personally interpreting the Bible
  • people who are shy or hesitant to share in a group

And if you’re doing this by yourself? It’s a simple, effective way to engage with the key points of the passage, and apply it to your life. If you’re new to personal Bible study, or you’re not sure about all those commentaries and dictionaries – I definitely recommend giving the Swedish Method a try!

Follow this link to download your free Swedish Method Bible study sheet!

Helpful resources

Faith Hacking: The Swedish Method, Tim Challies

The Swedish Method, Peter Blowes

Six Questions to Ask When Studying the Bible in a Group, Marshall Segal

Using the Swedish Method to read the Bible, Elisabeth Carter

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