Apr 6, 2015 Richard Mansfield

N. T. Wright's For Everyone Bible Studies

What if N. T. Wright offered to lead your Bible study? Most of us would jump at the chance for one of the world’s most acclaimed New Testament scholars to guide us through the pages of the Bible. With the newly released For Everyone Bible Study Guides such an opportunity has now become a reality.

NTW-Study Guide iPhone
Grow on the go! Above: N. T. Wright's For Everyone Bible Study Guides on an iPhone 6 Plus. Click the image for a larger view.

I first discovered inductive Bible studies—that is, the kind of study that focuses on making conclusions from observations about the biblical text—in the late eighties. The first few Bible studies I had taught before then had been “mini-lectures” with a handful of token questions thrown in to make certain those in attendance were actually awake. Inductive studies brought a fresh dimension to Bible study because of the emphasis on asking questions—the ancient Socratic method re-introduced to modern audiences—and facilitated discussion rather than one person (me) talking until everyone was nearly asleep from boredom.

Books like Walter Wink’s Transforming Bible Study (out of print) changed the way I taught the Bible. Many times I would come to lead a Bible discussion, and I would show a group a sheet of paper and say, “See, all I have is a list of questions. The success of this study depends upon you.” And I would also make the promise, “You can’t give me a wrong answer.” Well, I learned over time not to make that last promise. I’ll be honest: I’ve received lots of wrong answers in Bible studies I’ve led over the years. Of course, in reality, there was always more to my Bible studies than questions. I had already spent hours studying the passage in depth, and I also had a particular direction in mind that I was trying to lead the group. We really were trying to go from point A to point B whether the participants knew it or not.

Looking at the For Everyone Bible Study Guides from N. T. Wright, I’m pleased to see that published inductive Bible studies have evolved for the better. In this series from Intervarsity Press, Wright covers every chapter in the New Testament with questions, commentary and insights. Each study begins with an introduction that sets the stage for the passage being covered. An opening question helps to focus participants’ thoughts toward the primary theme. This is a question, that in the classic inductive tradition, is “safe” for all participants because it draws upon individual experience rather than Bible knowledge or interpretive ability.

Following the opening question, the Bible study departs from many of the “question only” studies I was familiar with years ago. Many published inductive studies are merely lists of open-ended questions on a biblical passage that require no previous biblical knowledge from the participant. This series is different in that in addition to questions, the reader also has access to N. T. Wright’s commentary interspersed with the questions. Wright provides both commentary and background information that gives a certain amount of guidance to the study—taking it from point A to point B—and keeping it on track. Wright explains concepts familiar in ancient culture that modern readers may not be able initially to understand on their own.

NTW-Study Guide iPad
On-the-go Bible Study with N. T. Wright's For Everyone Bible Study Guides! Above: Romans study on an iPad Air. Click the image for a larger view.

Following the discussion questions, there is a section for focused prayer. In some, but not all, of the studies, there is an additional section in which Wright offers some final comments. These extra sections of commentary are often included with passages that might leave readers with more questions after the study. He tries to anticipate certain scenarios—such as Jesus’ words on divorce in the Sermon on the Mount—and provide additional counsel. This is where N. T. Wright’s experience as both a scholar and a pastor combine to add a unique approach to inductive Bible study.

There are a total of 282 individual studies in this series! Studied on one’s own or in a group, the For Everyone Bible Study Guides provides enough content for nearly six years of weekly studies. And now with the ability to add one’s own notes to any title in Accordance (a feature coming soon to Accordance Mobile!), a group participant can answer questions and record insights directly in Accordance!

NTW-Study Guide Win tablet
Take it all with you! Above: N. T. Wright's For Everyone commentary AND For Everyone Bible Study Guides on an 8" Toshiba Encore 2 Write Windows tablet.

The text of the For Everyone Bible Study Guides has been carefully analyzed by our developers, and content has been tagged allowing users to make precise searches for the following fields: Reference, Titles, English Content, Scripture, Transliteration and page numbers. Included page numbers allow for mixed participation of print and Accordance editions in the same group study.


NTW-Bible Studies

For Everyone Bible Study Guides

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New Testament For Everyone Commentaries

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