Small Group: Observation

Over the last year or so, I've grown to really enjoy detective stories: PD James, GK Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers.  I've yet to attempt Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes, but I did see the movie.

One of the things I so enjoy about these stories is that the authors create suspense through foreshadowing.  Throughout the stories, they give you clues to solve the mysteries.  Pay close enough attention and you might unravel the mystery before Dagleish or Father Brown or Lord Peter.

Observation.

Attention to detail is as crucial for Small Group Bible study as it is for mystery novels.  If the detective ignores evidence, has a failure of observation, the wrong person gets accused.  If the Small Group fails to observe, bad things happen.  I briefly mentioned this yesterday.

Here's a more thorough list of the costs of failure to do quality observation:
  • A Small Group may miss the main point of the passage
  • A Small Group may obsess over a minor point in the passage
  • A Small Group may mistakenly treat a minor point like a main point
  • A Small Group may get the main point, but miss the opportunity to discover the main point itself
  • A Small Group conversation may devolve into argument
  • A Small Group conversation may devolve into contradiction
  • A Small Group may fail to give people unfamiliar with the passage opportunities to participate in the conversation
  • A Small Group may lack the data needed to move on into Interpretation and Application of the passage
  • A Small Group may become repetitious, having the same conversation every week
  • A Small Group may become repetitious, having the same conversation every week
Every Small Group, when studying the Bible, does observation. 
The challenge is to do it well.

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