We love the Bible. Not because we like leather-bound books, but because the Bible is God’s word, all 66 books of God speaking to us. We love to hear God speak to us when we open the Bible and read it.
So since we love to hear and believe God at his word, we have found the best way as a congregation to do that is by using the iCOMA method. You may have heard of COMA, it’s an acronym that outlines a method of studying the text that doesn’t rely upon pre-packaged study questions. Well, we have taken this inductive method of studying the Bible that many faithful and fruitful churches use, and have tweaked it. The thing is, we love to use methods that teach people for a lifetime, you know the old “teach a person to fish” proverb? We love to use a method that a disciple of Jesus from Reforming Church could be equipped with to continue to grow wherever they go. So because of it’s universal use, we use COMA, but yes we have tweaked it to make it iCOMA. It was an easy change, we just like to have an introductory question at the beginning of time in the Bible.
So here is how iCOMA works by looking at:
introduction ~ This connects and launches into the text at hand. Connecting our hearts to why this part of Scripture that we just read, was written for us.
Context ~ What has gone before this section of text? How does this text or book fit into the whole Bible?
Observation ~ What does the text say? What do we observe stands out?
Meaning ~ What does this mean? What is the big idea, the threaded theme that all the supporting points show us? How does this connect to Jesus, and what does this mean therefore through the interpretive lens of the gospel of Christ?
Application ~ What needs to change for us? What ought we do now? What has Christ done that enables us do this?
As a church-plant we have been trialling iCOMA for a while in our Grow Groups and one to one’s and personal devotions – and the results have been what Jesus expected. In Matthew 28:16-20, we see Jesus give the church our mission: “to make disciple-makers of Jesus Christ”. And the key to that mission is often missing in disciple’s lives, teaching. Jesus tells us to teach disciples: “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus taught us God’s word, to teach others God’s word, so that they will be able to teach others God’s word. We haven’t made a disciple properly until we have taught someone how to teach someone else. This is what inductive Bible studies like iCOMA help us to do. There are other inductive Bible study methods out there like the Swedish method, (as seen here), but we have found iCOMA the best at getting to the heart of a text of God’s word, because of it’s focus on meaning.
Now, don’t hear us wrong, we are not dissing packaged studies. At times we do use iCOMA to prepare up to 5 questions for a group to use as a framework if they really need such a framework (a prepared and written question for each letter of iCOMA). But the game changer for us is that the whole thing is focused on teaching people to get into God’s word for themselves. Because we can.
This is how we do discipleship at Reforming Church, the iCOMA way. And we do this everywhere we go, so that disciples are equipped to be disciple-makers. Our discipleship series uses iCOMA, that means our Grow Group studies follow the same text that will be preached on Sunday, along with our one to one’s and every time we open a Bible really.
We use iCOMA so that we hear God and pray that we will be those who handle his word rightly (2 Timothy 2:15).
We use iCOMA so that we would be like the Bereans, “who received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11).
We use iCOMA so that we would hear the gospel word of God, so that we are reforming by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We love the Bible, and we love to dig deep into the Bible to discover it’s treasures in Christ for ourselves. That’s why we use iCOMA.