How to Get Started with One-to-One Bible Reading

One way powerful and easy way to share the gospel with an unbeliever and introduce them to Christ is by reading the Bible with them evangelistically. This is called one-to-one Bible reading. As a church, we want to create a culture of outreach where we routinely invite people to "come and see" Jesus in the Scriptures. This is one way to do that

The following tips will help you get started in one-to-one Bible reading.

Step 1 - Pray

Pray that the Lord would open your eyes to see the people around you and give you the desire to engage them.

Pray for a burden for the lost and a zeal for the gospel.

Pray that God would bring someone into your life who is interested in learning more about Jesus and who would be willing to read the Gospel of John with you.

Pray the Lord would grant you Spirit-given boldness to ask someone to read John with you.

Step 2 - Ask

Once you've identified someone, simply ask something like, "Would you like to read the Gospel of John with me?"

Your friend might say no. That's ok. The fruit isn't ripe. Pray that the Lord would ripen the fruit in your friend's life and, meanwhile, pray you'd find someone else to read with you.

When someone says yes, pick a place where you can read together and have a discussion. If you don't know the person well, you might choose a public spot, like a coffee shop or the library. If you know them well, you might choose your living room.

I highly recommend that you keep the time to no more than an hour and set that expectation. If you let the time consistently go longer than that, commitment usually drops over time.

Remember: We have Gospel of John books available on our hospitality table each week for you to give to your friend who says yes.

Step 3 - Read

When you get together, spend a few minutes chatting and then get right into it. I recommend you organize your time as Prayer-Bible-Prayer.

Open with a brief prayer, asking that the Lord would help you to understand and focus on the reading, that he would guide your discussion, and that his truth would be revealed.

Then simply read perhaps a chapter or two or three of the Gospel of John. You can take turns reading paragraphs or sections. Stop along the way if your friend has a question. Resist the urge to teach through the reading. Instead, let the word have its effect as it is read. At either the end of your reading or the end of each chapter, consider using the following questions to guide your discussion.

  • What does this passage say about Jesus?
  • What does this passage say about faith?
  • What does this passage require of us?

You can certainly use other questions, but by asking the same, basic questions each time, it will help your friend know what to expect and get in the habit of looking for answers to these questions during the reading. These questions will also help you routinely get to the gospel.

Ask your friend if there is anything he or she would like you to pray for. Then pray, being sure to give God thanks for his Word, for discoveries made in the reading, for your time together, and for Jesus.

Have confidence that God's Word does not return void. For some, he gives new life. For some, he hardens their hearts. Our success is not measured by how many conversions we see in our lifetime. We are simply to be faithful to His command to share the good news of the gospel with the lost.