Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
What is Sword Sparring?
We will take some time encouraging each other and testing each other to better handle the “Sword of the Spirit”. Each man will take a section of verses (one thought) and expound on those verses. The goal is to encourage each other to correctly handle God’s word. This isn’t meant to be burdensome, but it is meant to be challenging.
What is the Format?
We will only go over one thought per week.
- 15 minutes to go over the verses. (Time management is important.)
- 15 minutes to comment / ask questions on the verses. We may not use all of this time, and that is ok.
- The last 15 minute period will be for others to critique how you did.
Basically you are responsible for 15 minutes. Not too long, but enough time to go over a single thought. The morning Bible study is in a flexible format so that you can be adventurous and use your own style. (You could use handouts, ask lots of questions, just talk, whatever fits your personality.)
Yes, there are other boundaries for sparring. We don’t want anyone to get hurt, but it should be thought of as training.
- Read your verses immediately. Don’t procrastinate!
- Pray about your lesson. God promises to give us wisdom if we ask. (James 1:5)
- Validate with a partner at least 3 days before your turn. This is to validate that you have the correct main thought of the verses you will cover. You could also validate your entire study, but that is up to you. This means you should have a plan to meet with another man in the study. It could be coffee, lunch, a phone call, etc.
- Don’t quote another author. Sometimes you read something that perfectly sums up what you are trying to say. That is great! It is confirmation that you are on the right track. However please don’t quote the author. It is only 15 min, and it we are training on handling God’s word. We are interested in how well our swordplay is, not how a well known author might handle God’s word.
Use your own style. God made you the way you are for a reason. Don’t try to “mimic” a teacher. If you are excited about what God has said to you, we will be too. Get that across in a manner that seems natural.
- Observation. What does the passage say? You don’t need to find something new. Look at what is obvious and clear.
- Interpretation. Look at the context of the message. If it doesn’t work in context it doesn’t work. Also, keep in mind that God’s word doesn’t contradict itself.
- Correlation. Does the Bible say the same thing somewhere else. This is often helpful, and should give you confidence in what you are saying. If God doesn’t say it somewhere else, you might be misunderstanding the verse. You don’t have to present the correlation, but it is good to be prepared.
- Application. This is essential. What good does it do if we can’t apply God’s word to our life. If possible think MEN. This is a men’s study, and how it applies to us men is relevant.
The goal of doing a critique is to get feedback so that we can get better. It is never meant to be judgmental or discouraging. Also we often have our own style that we prefer, we shouldn’t criticize the way someone delivers the Bible. Here are some things we should critique.
- Time constraint. Was it too long, or too short?
- Did they “get” the main idea of the passage?
- Was the interpretation of the passage correct?
- Was there an application to the passage?
- Was the application relevant?
- Bonus points if they can incorporate sharks and / or lasers.
Sometimes you get stuck. Here are a few things that might “unstick” you.
- Does the passage point to Jesus? How?
- Can you compare something to Jesus?
- Can you contrast something with Jesus?
- Does it point to the Cross?
- Does it contain the Gospel?
- Get others involved. Can you ask a question that will get others to think.
- Don’t use a Bible tool (concordance, commentary, etc) to start with. Use them to validate or clarify. Start with the Bible use the tools as tools.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16,17)