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How About Digging Deeper Into Doctrine?

Is anyone going to want to attend a Bible study that requires purchasing a $45 book, reading assignments before each class, filling out worksheets ahead of the next study, and having discussions about things like postmodernism, the formation of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the hypostatic union? Surprisingly . . . yes! Or maybe it shouldn’t be surprising.

In recent editions of Teach the Word, we have seen examples of Bible study offerings different from the typical Sunday morning study. We glimpsed growth groups in large congregations and in medium to smaller congregations. We observed examples of online growth groups and multigenerational studies. And now here’s another option: Digging Deeper Into Doctrine. Those who have taken the Bible Information Class and have been regulars in Sunday morning Bible studies may be up for a challenge to dig deeper into Bible doctrine.

Digging-DeeperNorthwestern Publishing House has published two doctrine books: God So Loved the World by Lyle Lange and Grace Abounds by Daniel Deutschlander. We use God So Loved the World for our Digging Deeper class. Martin Luther College (MLC) uses this as the textbook for their Doctrine 1 and 2 courses.

When I first offered the class about ten years ago, Professor Lange provided me with the lesson sheets he used in his MLC doctrine classes, which are based on his book. He also gave permission for me to share the lesson sheets with anyone who would like them. There is a link to each course at the end of this article. Part of the appeal of this course is that the Digging Deeper class is a college-level course and we are using the same materials as the students at MLC.

Here’s how the Digging Deeper study works:

  • Every household needs to purchase a copy of God So Loved the World. We did a sign-up sheet and then a bulk order. This book is a great resource for the home even if someone does not take the class or decides to discontinue the study.
  • Lesson sheets are given out in advance. Our congregation provides each attendee with a three-ring binder with all the lesson sheets for the study.
  • The participants are given the reading assignment and what lesson sheets they are to fill out before the next session. They are told it will take them usually one to two hours each week for their homework assignment.
  • We meet for one hour each week to review and hit highlights of what was read and filled out. Application questions are added and scattered throughout the one-hour study to bring some points closer to home.

I have offered a Digging Deeper Into Doctrine course at two of the congregations I have served, and people have responded positively. We currently have 25 enrolled in the course. This is about double from what our midweek class enrollment had been. I know of three other smaller to medium congregations who have offered the same course and have had similar results.

Is it a lot of work? You bet, especially since there isn’t a leader’s guide to the lesson sheets. But reading the book, filling out the sheets, and discussing what was read reward both the leader  and the participants.

301 - God So Loved the World lesson sheets

302 - God So Loved the World lesson sheets

Digging Deeper Bulletin Insert

Dan Schroeder