Jesus is without a doubt, the most important person to have walked this earth. Not only is he the most important man to have lived, but he is also God. He remains active in the world seeking to bring life and salvation to broken and hurting people.
Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are the focal point of the Biblical narrative and have been recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John’s Gospels. As we seek to know God, it is crucial that we are well acquainted with Jesus Christ. Exploring the Good News of Jesus Christ through studying the gospels together will help us to experience the Good News of Jesus Christ as we follow God.
The Studying the Gospels Together (STGT) Method
The STGT method is an inductive approach that will provide prompts and questions to help us consider Jesus more fully. As we study the life of Jesus, we will note important ways he lived. We will also ask what each passage says about who he is, why he came and what it means to follow him. Finally, we will seek to bring application to our lives and ask ourselves how we can act upon what we have read.
Things to note:
The first step is to read through the passage and note when Jesus…
- (P) Prays
- (W) Reads or references God’s Word
- (F) Relates to God the Father
- In loving relationship with the Father, in exaltation of the Father and/or in obedience to the Father
- (HS) Relates to the Holy Spirit
- (R) Overflows in loving relationship with people
- Examples: Healing, casting out demons, calling disciples, showing compassion, teaching, preaching
Tip: One common practice when noting these activities of Jesus is to use five different highlighters (one for each type of action we are looking for) and highlight them as you note them. Another is to simply underline the five different activities you see Jesus doing and write the corresponding letter near what you have underlined. I personally use the second way.
Questions for reflection
Once you have noted Jesus’ actions, read through the passage a couple more times and answer the following questions:
What does this passage tell us about who Jesus is?
What does it say about why Jesus came?
What does it say about what it means to follow Jesus?
Questions for Application
As we read, study and consider the life of Jesus, it is important to seek application as well. “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only (James 1:22).” In the interest of bringing tangible application to our lives, here are two questions we also want to answer:
- In response to what you have read, what is one action step you believe God is calling you to make this week?
- What is one thing you learned this week you could share with someone else? Who do you plan to share it with?
Tip: It is helpful to have a notebook or journal to use throughout the study to write down your thoughts, reflections and prayers.
Suggested format for Discussion
We study the gospels together, because we believe that God will bring unique opportunities for growth through community. In the interest of growing together, here is a suggested format for discussing in a group what you have studied throughout the week on your own.
Reflect on last week
Ask your group to reflect on how they did with their application steps from last week. Invite people to celebrate their successes or share how it was difficult. Our weekly application steps will be more effective if we have the chance to reflect and share with others.
Discuss what was noted
Take some time for people to share what they noted from Jesus’ life. One great question to prompt discussion around this would be: What was one thing you noted that stood out to you? Why?
Discuss the questions for reflection
Simply take time to have people share about how they answered the three questions for reflection.
Additional discussion and questions
Depending on time and tone, you can provide an opportunity to make any comments or ask any questions people may have as a result of their personal study that week.
Questions for Application
Be sure to leave some time for people to discuss their questions for application. Encourage and affirm one another’s desire to pursue tangible actions steps that come from your personal study and time of discussion.
I initially developed the Studying the Gospels Together (STGT) Method for my own Adult Community Group (ACG). I have updated and revised the method, and most of our ACGs will be incorporating it at First Baptist Church during our upcoming series, ReMarkAble: Experiencing the Good News of Jesus. Please feel free to reference the Mark page found on this site, to receive more content to support your group as you study Mark's Gospel.