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(Matt Rogers writes:)  There is often a vast disconnect between the awareness of the need for disciple-making and practical tools that actually aid in this work.

The seven arrows of Bible reading were an attempt at developing a tool to help people understand the Bible and know how to apply it to their lives. 

Arrow 1: What does this passage say?

Start by summarizing the main point of the passage as succinctly as possible, ideally in one sentence.

Arrow 2: What did this passage mean to its original audience?

Seek to discern authorial intent for the passage by asking what it meant to its original audience. Since a text of Scripture can never mean what it never meant, it is necessary to begin by discerning what the text meant. Often this may require consulting other study tools or cross-reference other biblical texts to arrive at the meaning of the text.

Arrow 3: What does this passage tell us about God?

Thirdly, we asked what the text tells us about the nature and character of God and specifically His work through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Arrow 4: What does this passage tell us about man?

Fourthly, the text was analyzed to see what it tells us about humanity. Bryan Chappell refers to this as the “fallen condition focus” of the text. What does the text reveal about sin and humankind’s need for the gospel?

Arrow 5: What does this passage demand of me?

Then we move to application. Since we have rooted ourselves in the meaning of the text, we are now positioned to rightly apply its meaning to our lives.

Arrow 6: How does this passage change the way I relate to people?

Apply the Scripture to our relationships with others. Discuss how the text shapes both how we relate to other believers and how we live on mission in the world.

Arrow 7: How does this passage prompt me to pray?

Finally, we root our prayers in the Scriptures. Hopefully, the previous six arrows kindled the flames of passionate prayer in our lives—both for our sanctification and for our mission to the lost.


Scripture, Simplicity, and Stickiness

With this model, we touched on three important areas for discipleship:

  • Scripture—Disciple-making was rooted in a rightful understanding of Scripture and not in simply doing life together, unpacking another sermon, or dependence on classroom instruction.
  • Simplicity—Disciple-making was simple enough for everyone to get involved. All believers could take these principles, a Bible, and a relationship with a young Christian and get to work.
  • Stickiness—Disciple-making through understanding and applying Scripture was etched in the minds of our young church. They could use these same arrows not only to guide their cluster discussions but also their personal Bible study, small group leadership, and comprehension of sermons.

These arrows have proven to be a unique tool in our disciple-making toolbox that the Lord is using to call and build faithful and fruitful followers of Jesus.

Originally published on 

This post is written by Matt Rogers. Matt is the teaching pastor at The Church at Cherrydale in Greenville, South Carolina. His church developed the Seven Arrows tool to help people read and understand Scripture within their small groups. The concept has gone on to form the basis of a 52-week devotional for teens from Lifeway Students, the Seven Arrows Bible from B&H, and is featured in The Gospel Project for Adults and Students.