The Different Catholic Gospel Sharing Approaches and Methods

Bible on wooden table with People reading at the background.

The Bible is essential to the Basic Ecclesial Community (BMC). How can a Christian community flourish without the Word of God, when the Word of God is the very power behind the transformation of a Christian community?

The Biblical Apostolate aims at integral renewal by making the written and inspired Word of God available to the people as nourishment for their faith and spiritual life, as the basis for building Christian communities, and as heaven that transforms the world so that, “the life of the Church [can] be nourished and ruled by Sacred Scriptures” (DV #21)” ...until the entire people of God are penetrated with its spirit” (DV #25). As a movement for the renewal of the Church, the Biblical Apostolate wants to help discover the biblical roots of all pastoral activities and to integrate the scriptural message to all dimensions of life. As a pastoral ministry, it tries to implement the recommendations of Dei Verbum, Ch VI—to make God’s Word in Scriptures the center of pastoral ministry and evangelization.

Four Marks of the Basic Ecclesial Community

The experiences of South Africa and South America on BECs have influenced somehow the reflections of the BECs in the Philippines particularly on four defining marks, namely: A BEC is in the Neighborhood; A BEC is centered on the Word of God; A BEC responds to the needs of the community; A BEC is linked to the wider Church. The neighborhood level of different families and organizations make up the BECs. The Word of God forms and challenges the BEC: and nourishes their life through regular Bible sharing, the liturgy of the Word and Eucharistic celebrations. Linked together in the Word of God and living out the gospel values of peace and justice, BECs respond with active involvement in socio-political, economic and cultural issues that lead to social transformation. And from the smallest cell in the parish, it is linked to the wider Church through regular meetings and formation, with activities that implement the same vision-mission-goals of the parish. Certainly, a variety of approaches and structures abound, as there are a variety of descriptions and experiences all over the country (BECs in the Philippines—Dream or Reality, pp.266–267).

Community Building and Gospel Sharing

Bible sharing, or gospel sharing, means reflecting on a passage from the Bible in small groups. It is a prayerful reading of Scriptures in a small group in order to better understand, pray and live the Word of God. It involves faith sharing, a revelation of personal experiences of and responses to Jesus Christ among people who trust and value each other and God’s actions in their respective life journeys. Sharing helps members grow in God and in their Christian relationships, as a community. They grow together in communion in Christ, as Christ reveals Himself in their daily lives—in their feelings, perceptions, imaginations, thoughts, and deeds. Gospel sharing is an experience of the transformative power of the Word of God in each one’s life and in the community. It is part of building up the ecclesial community, where members become sisters and brothers to each other; where members help each other tackle tasks and issues toward a better life.

“As a book of a community of people, the Bible is a book for a community, When we read the Bible as a community, when we share the word of God in small groups, we enter into fellowship with one another; we strengthen O: community with one another as well as our community with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Basic Bible Seminar, JPIBC - 4th ed., p.57).

Different Gospel Sharing Approaches and Methods

Gospel sharing can be grouped into three types according to the purpose and aim of the gospel sharing: A Gospel Sharing that will lead to a Study of the Scriptural Text; a Gospel Sharing for Praying the Sacred Scriptures; and a Gospel Sharing that leads to a Confrontation (encounter) of one’s life experiences with the Gospel. The three types may use any of the following approaches: Bible to Life Approach—a word or a scriptural text gives light to reality or situation (like the 3RS and the 7 Steps methods); Life to Bible Approach—seeing the life situation and the burning issues with the eyes of God and feeling how God sees the situation (like Look-Listen-Love method); and the Amos Program Approach—looking for root causes to arrive at concrete action. The latter approach is for socially aware groups; it connects the gospel message to the particular issue through generative themes from the social, economic and political issues in society (analysis)—the Word of God shows God’s point of view in the situation. It is important to discover the whole dimension of the biblical message as expressed in Micah 6:8, “to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in constant fellowship with our God.” Bible sharing is done in an atmosphere of prayer and is always connected with life experience. Faith sharing unfolds the transformative power of the Word during the Gospel sharing.

Formation programs on different Gospel Sharing methods are given during the regular Summer Biblical Institute in Mindanao, the Word Alive Biblical Institute of the John I Biblical Center in Northern Luzon, (Vigan) in the Training Ministers of the Word Program at the East Asian Pastoral Institute (Ateneo, Quezon City), at the Pastoral Development (IPD, Manila), and in different diocesan biblical apostolate centers.

Requirements for Bible/Gospel Sharing: R.O.S.E

  1. A copy of the Bible. It is preferable that each has the same version.
  2. Proper attitudes for a meaningful and fruitful Bible sharing: Respect (listening attentively and not judging others); Openness (willingness to share insights on God’s Word and readiness to be enriched); Sincerity in Sharing (honesty, prudence); and Empathy (participating, understanding feelings) R.O.S.E.
  3. A Facilitator assigned or chosen by the group: not necessarily a Bible expert but one who knows how to lead properly with the chosen method.
  4. The Bible Sharing Methods (Bible to Life, Life to Bible, Amos Program).
  5. Check the mail for your postcard. Most postcards arrive within 14 days. Do not edit your business name, address, or category, or request a new code while you're waiting. This may delay the verification process.

Faith Sharing IS NOT:

  1. A scripture study or discussion.
  2. A show and tell of how much I know about Scripture, theology, etc.
  3. A time to resolve my problems and those of others.
  4. A time to tell my whole life story (public confession).
  5. Preaching to the group.
  6. Complaining and Debating.


There are many kinds of gospel sharing methods for different groups in diverse situations. We share the more commonly used methods as promoted by the Biblical Apostolate through the years: the Lumko methods, the Vigan methods and Bibliarasal. We trust that you develop more methods as you try to make the Word alive in your life and in the Basic Ecclesial Communities. We suggest that several gospel-sharing methods should be used alternately in the BEC.


The Seven Steps (7S-Lumko)


  1. To experience the presence of the Risen Lord.
  2. To allow each member of the group to be touched personally by the Word.
  3. To encourage mutual deepening in the faith by personal sharing.
  4. To deepen personal bonds among the members of the group.
  5. To create trust within the group.
  6. To create a “spiritual climate” for planning in the community.

First Step: We invite the Lord.

“Would someone like to invite Jesus in a prayer and welcome Him?”

Once the group settles down, the facilitator asks someone to volunteer, “to invite the Lord”. The living presence of the Risen Christ 1s the presupposition and basis of our meditation. We invite God to come into our hearts—We open our minds, hearts and soul to receive the Word. We remind ourselves that the Lord is with us. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

Second Step: We read the text.

“Let us open our Bibles to ...

(When all have found the Book and chapter):

“Word someone like to read verses....”

The facilitator announces the chosen text: first the book, then the chapter. She/He waits until everyone has found the book and chapter and only then does he/she announce the verse. When everyone has found the passage, the facilitator invites someone to volunteer to read the text. A moment of silence follows.

Third Step: We dwell on the text and meditate on them.

“We pick out words or short phrases—read them aloud prayerfully—and keep silence in between.” The facilitator continues: “Which words strike you in a special way?”

In doing so, almost the entire text is listened to again. The participants spontaneously read aloud the word or words that have impressed them. Whole verses are not read, only short phrases or individual words. The participants are encouraged to repeat those words silently to themselves three or four times. It is extremely important that a moment of silence be kept after each person has spoken, allowing the message to “sink in.” As a result of this step, “simple” words often take on new meaning.

Fourth Step: We are quiet. View with wonder. We listen.

“We keep silence for ... minutes and allow God to speak to us.”

After spending time on the individual word, the entire passage is read again slowly.

“Will someone please read the text again (from another version)?”

We “notice” the words or phrases that touch, stir, challenge, and correct our hearts. We pick our words or short phrases and repeat them in our hearts. We ask ourselves: How is my life touched by this scripture passage? Is there an invitation for me? “We allow ourselves to be loved by God. We let God look at us—simply open to God, to wait for him, to be with him. In fact, he is not far from any of us.” (Acts 17:27)

Fifth Step: We share what we have heard in our hearts.

After the time of quiet, the facilitator announces the next step: “We share with each other what we have heard in our hearts.” Which word touched us personally? We may share also any “spiritual experience”. We do not discuss any contribution, even though some may not share personally but comment on the text instead.

Sixth Step: We search together. We discuss any task that our group is called to do.

The facilitator announces: “We search together. What is God telling me (us) to do? How can we respond?”

We commit to some action individually or as a group.

Plan of Action: Report on the previous week; what new task needs to be done: who will do what and when; how have we applied the Word of Life in certain situations in life. Discuss everyday problems in the light of the Gospel. Difficulties are resolved because of the mutual confidence that now exists.

None of these problems need to have a direct connection to the Bible passage, which had been read and shared. However, they emerge and can be resolved because of the mutual confidence that now exists in an atmosphere of the presence of God. Things look different when God is allowed to be present.

Seventh Step: We pray together for God’s continuous guidance in our life.

The facilitator now invites everyone to pray. Anyone who wishes may pray spontaneously. In your prayer, use words of scripture that touched you personally from the text.

The participants are encouraged to incorporate in their personal prayer whatever has been of special importance to them during the meditation.

Only in the end is a formal prayer or a hymn known to everyone recited or sung.



    • What is happening in this picture?
    • Do similar things happen among us also? Give an example.
    • Why are these things happening? Any reasons?
    • We read the Bible text twice while all look at the Bible picture.
    • Then we keep silent for 2 minutes.
    • After the silence, we read the text again.
      • Who are the people in the picture?
      • What are they doing?
      • What are they saying?
    • What has our Bible picture to do with our picture of life?
    • What message does God have for our own lives today?
    • Why is God’s message Good News for us?
  5. CLOSING PRAYER: We give praise and thanks to God


Introduction: We are gathered together because we share with Paul his deep desire: “All I want is to know Christ Jesus…” One way of growing together as a community in this knowledge of Jesus is to take time, as a group, to keep our eyes on Him and to listen with care to His voice. All we need is a heart that knows how to WATCH. If we WATCH JESUS like this frequently, then something of his attitudes and personality will begin to penetrate us.

Our text is: (Check that all have Bibles. Wait till everyone has found the text.)


  1. Opening hymn to create a prayerful atmosphere and focus attention
  2. Short Prayer to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment
  3. Reading of the Text (twice, in two languages, for a mixed group)
  4. Silence (3-5 minutes)

    During the Reading and Silence, quietly focus on Jesus: LISTEN to His every word; WATCH his actions and gestures; SEE what he says and doesn’t say, what he and doesn’t do, his relating to other people in the story, LOOK at the effect Jesus has on other people, always in relation to Him. Something particular will probably strike you. STAY with that. Don’t feel you have to cope with everything in the text.

  5. Observations:
    • At the end of the period of Silence, the leader invites the group to share something they have noticed in Jesus.
    • When explaining what you saw, it is good to mention also the words of the text that triggered this. This helps others to follow your sharing better.
    • Listen carefully as each person speaks. The Holy Spirit often speaks to us through our insights and that of others.
    • Avoid preparing yourself while someone is sharing.
    • Observe short pauses after each sharing to let their sharing sink in.
    • Say what you want to say even if someone has expressed a similar insight already. The Holy Spirit wants us to hear it sevenfold times.
    • Say only what you saw and observed without applying to yourself the message you have received, e.g. “I will try to have deeper and stronger faith from now on.” Rather say, “I saw Jesus speak to the woman...”
    • Use the pronouns “I” and “me” NOT “we” and “us” to avoid generalizing.
    • No comments or discussions on what others share. Each person’s sharing is a free gift for all.
    • A person may speak more than once.
    • Each person is free to speak or not. Our very presence is already a contribution.
  6. Read the Text again: (optional: solo, group)
  7. Closing prayer by the facilitator (group) incorporating all shared messages (a hymn may follow if time still allows)

Note for the Facilitator:

  • There might be moments when one is inclined to comment, especially when one does not agree with what somebody else has said. This is where discipline comes in—to refrain from commenting on what was shared. Comments or discussions can be done after Bible Sharing.
  • While a hymn at the beginning or at the end would be good, there are times—especially when there are other groups nearby doing their own “Watching Jesus”—when singing might be distracting. A song may serve a good purpose if each group is far from other groups or if there are no other groups doing the sharing.

Suggested texts for “Watching Jesus Method”

  1. Matthew 19:13–15 — Jesus and Children; Matthew 19:16–22 — The Rich Young Man; Matthew 21:1–11 — Palm Sunday; Matthew 26:36–46 — The Agony in the Garden
  2. Mark 1:1–11 — The Baptism of Jesus; Mark 1:40–45 — The Leper, Mark 2:1–13 — The Paralytic; Mark 4:1–20 - Parable of the Sower; Mark 4:35–41 — Storm at Sea; Mark 8:1–10 - Feeding of the Five Thousand
  3. Luke 2:1–20 — The Nativity; Luke 5:1–11 — Call of the Disciples; Luke 5:17–26 — The Paralyzed Man; Luke 6:17–26 — The Beatitudes; Luke 7:11–17 — The Widow’s Son; Luke 7:36–50 - Mary Magdalene Anoints Jesus; Luke 9:28–36 — The Transfiguration; Luke 10:38–42 - Martha and Mary; Luke 11:1–13 — Our Father; Luke 17:11–19 — The Ten Lepers; Luke 19:1–10 — Zacchaeus; Luke 22:7–22 — The Last Supper, Luke 23:1–26 — Jesus and Pilate; Luke 23:27–49 — Calvary
  4. John 1:35–51 — Call of the Disciples; John 4:1–18; 4:1–309 — Samaritan Woman; John 4:43–54 — The Centurion’s Son; John 6:16–24 — Jesus Walks on the Water; John 8:1–11 — Adulteress; John 11:17–44 — Lazarus; John 13:1–17 — Washing of the Feet: John 20:1–18 — Mary Magdalene Meets Jesus; John 20:24–31 — Thomas and Jesus; John 21:1–14 — After the Resurrection; John 21:15–19 — Simon Do You Love Me?


We shall NOT share with each other how the Word of God has touched us personally. Today we rather think of our community and the problems that we have in our parish, barrio, town, city and province. After we have read the Bible text, we shall ask the questions:

  • Which problem in our community is mentioned in the text?
  • What is God’s will for us as a group?


  1. WE READ THE TEXT: We read the text twice. We pick out a word or phrase, read them aloud, and keep silence in between shared phrases.

    Let us now discuss in little groups. Each one should talk to an immediate neighbor. We discuss the following question:

    • Which problems of our parish, village, town or country are similar to the problems mentioned in the text?

    The same question in other words:

    • The text reminds us of which problems in our own community?
    We discuss this question for five minutes.
    After five minutes each group reports back.
  3. Let us choose one problem that we are going to discuss further.


    We keep silent for about three minutes.

    During this time of silence we ask ourselves:

    • What did God tell us in our text?
    • What is He telling us about our problem?
  5. After three minutes: We tell each other what we think God is advising us about our problem.

    Who will do What and When?

Note for the Facilitator:

    • When we use the method of “Group Response we are looking beyond our little group and ourselves. We rather look at the community around us and ask the question: “Which problems of our parish, our village, town and country are reflected in the Bible text which we have read?
    • Then the group is asked to “respond” and do something about these problems—inspired and encouraged by God’s message.”
    • Choosing from one of the readings of the coming Sunday will prevent us from being subjective and help us avoid being accused of choosing a text against a particular person or group in the parish or community. The Lord may also remind us of the problems of which we are not otherwise aware.
    • Each person should discuss the question with an immediate neighbor without leaving the room, and they should discuss in a low voice that also a beautiful way of allowing shy participants to take an active part in the search.
    • Repeat and explain the question, especially the first time you are using this method. Give an example to illustrate the question. For instance: After you have read the text of the Last Supper you ask: “Of which problem in our parish does this text remind us?
    • From time to time, you can also ask for “happy situations” which may be reflected in the text. For instance: “Of which happy situations in our parish, village, town, city, and province does this text remind us?” In this case, the group should “respond” with thanksgiving and praise.
    • Ensure that the group gets a chance to listen to God.
    • For instance:
      • Read the text in Step 1 in a meditative way.
      • Allow a period of silence in Step 3, during which each person can compare the problem or the “happy situation” to the message of the text.



  • To train leaders in preparing “Bible Study” notes for groups.
  • To learn how to use a Bible commentary.
  • To learn how to prepare guide questions for discussions of life issues in the light of a Biblical text.


    • The problem of our life today
    • Guide questions:
      •   Who knows more details and facts about our problems?
      •   How do people feel about this problem?
      •   Why do we have such a problem? But why...?
      •   Who suffers and who gains in this situation?
      •   Other questions which look at our particular problem from different angles.
    • A Bible text in which our problems are reflected
    • Guide questions:
      •   At which word or sentences did you think: “That is right, I am happy to hear that?”
      •   At which sentence did you think: “I did not expect that? Tell us why you thought differently.
      •   What is “public opinion” saying about our problem? What do we hear on the radio or see on TV about our problem?
      •   What do you think is God’s will about our problem?
      •   Other questions which can help connect our problem with the message of the Bible:
    • What does God want us to do?
    • “WHO will do WHAT and WHEN?”



  • To share a life experience in which members of the group are emotionally involved, feeling happy or unhappy about.
  • To listen to God’s call regarding this experience or event even if no biblical text can be quoted.
  • To start from a life issue and arrive at a common action.

After each member has had a chance to relate an experience, the group chooses one from the shared experiences as a cause for possible action. This method can help a group evaluate spontaneously a situation experienced by one of its members.

It will not be necessary to find an appropriate Bible text for a particular experience. The method works on the principle that all members of the group are believers and Bible readers who have “naturally” acquired good biblical foundation through the years of living the word. A suitable Bible text referring to a particular experience is of course best, but not be necessary. It is enough for the participants to “Look at the situation with the eyes of God.”

Therefore it is most important for the LOOK-LISTEN-LOVE method to analyze and evaluate together a personal experience from God’s point of view and do something about it. The L - L - L Method is related to the See—Judge—Act Method.

Main features of Look-Listen-Love Method

  • The starting point is a personal life-situation experienced by a group/member.
  • This situation is “analyzed” in a simple way by asking questions: “What exactly happened?” “Why did it happen?” “How do you feel about it?”
  • The group tries to look at the situation with the eyes of God, listening carefully to what God has to say about this situation.
  • There is no personal faith-sharing, but there is sharing among the participants about “God feeling” and “God’s point of view” in the situation. Sometimes the participants may not agree on “how God is feeling about our situation.” In this case, the group continues to pray and to search together until it reaches clarity about God’s will.
  • This method can be used even by People who cannot’ read. It sharpens the eye for daily events and opens the ears for what God has to say about them. After using this method, the group can then go back to using the 7 or 3 steps method.

Introduction: Normally we begin our meeting by reading God’s Word, but now we begin by looking at the reality of our daily life. We follow the steps of the “Look - Listen - Love” method.


Look - Listen - Love Method

When to use the Look—Listen—Love Method?

  • The method should be used from time to time, not at every weekly meeting of the community.
  • The Look - Listen - Love method is 4 simple forms of the well-known See - Judge - Act method is based on a more thorough survey and not on an experience related by one person. The advantage of the Look - Listen – Love method lies in its simplicity.


We call this method PARISH SEARCH because the whole parish reflects together on the same lite issue and the same biblical text. This is achieved by supplying all communities in the parish with written notes, which have been prepared by the leaders together with the priests.

The aim of this chapter is:

  • To help priests and their community-leaders compile “NOTES” for their communities.
  • To learn how to consult a biblical commentary with or without a priest or theologically trained person.
  • To select a life-issue or problem to be reflected upon by the communities in the parish.
  • To prepare ‘guide questions’ for the parish-communities, which will help them search together and find light in the Gospel.

This method helps priests, religious and leaders of parish-communities compile Written "NOTES FOR PARISH SEARCH? For use by all communities in the parish. Often, the leaders take the Sunday gospel and choose a life-issue that is reflected in the biblical text. Ideally, the priest or any other theologically trained person will be present in such a leaders meeting. It is advisable to use a Bible commentary.

In order to make it easier at a leader’s meeting to prepare “NOTES FOR PARISH SEARCH,” we suggest the following scheme or worksheet. It will be the task of the leaders to fill in the blanks during their meeting, duplicate the worksheet and provide it to all parish communities for their discussions.



  1. We read the text: _______________
  2. We explain the text: _______________
    •   Difficult words in the text: _______________
    •   Problem of THAT time in the Biblical text: _______________
  3. Light of our lives today:
    •   Our problem TODAY: _______________
    •   Guide questions on our problem today: _______________

      What does the “world” say about our problem?

      What is the “public opinion” on our problem?

      What do we read about our problem in newspapers and magazines?

      What do we hear and read about our problems in newspapers and magazines?

      What do we hear and see about our problem on radio and TV?

      What does our Bible-text say about our problem?

      Do you remember any example in the life of Jesus, or any advice he gave, which could refer to our problem?

  4. What can we do about our problem?

    Who will do what and when?

B. We learn how to “explain the text”

Use Bibles, which contain footnotes (Jerusalem Bible, New American Bible, New Revised Standard Edition, Christian Community Bible, etc.). These footnotes provide a simple and easily accessible commentary. We have to learn how to use these footnotes together with cross-references mentioned there. This will help us solve quite a number of difficulties arising from the text itself. When reading these footnotes, we shall have two questions in mind:

  •   What difficult words are in the text?
  •   What was the problem at THAT time in the Biblical text?

When the Bible was written, people in that time had certain b and asked certain questions, and the Bible text responds specifically to ems problems and questions. It is important for us to find out what these problems or questions were for us to understand the text in a much deeper way.

We summarize our findings in the “Notes of Parish Search.”

C. We learn how to use the footnotes of the Jerusalem Bible

What to prepare: Some Jerusalem Bibles with footnotes.

Duplicated worksheets of “NOTES FOR PARISH SEARCH”

Exercise 1: Amos 5:21-26

  •   We read the text (twice)
  •   We study the footnotes, especially “r” and “w”
    We open some of the “cross-references” mentioned under “r”
  •   We fill in our “Notes for Parish Search”
    Participants may “buzz” with their immediate neighbors, asking the questions:

    “What difficult words should we explain in our NOTES?”

    “What was the problem of THAT time in the biblical text?”

    The buzz-groups report back.

    The NOTES FOR PARISH SEARCH is filled in.

PRAYER RESPONSE (3 RSSP – Vigan Method 1)


Sharing in a prayerful reading of Sacred. Scripture- in a small group to better understand, pray and live the Word of God.


  1. Short Opening Prayer or Song
  2. First Round Reading: Contact with the TEXT
    •   Reading of the Text: One member of the group reads it aloud; the others ‘participate by listening and reading silently.
    •   Silence: After the reading, all observe silence for about three minutes, during which they go over the text once more. They choose word(s), phrase(s) or verse(s) that strike them.
    •   Sharing: After the three-minute silence, the facilitator invites the group members, to share the word(s), phrase(s) or verse(s) that struck them. They are not to give any explanation, they share only the striking word(s), phrase(s) or verse(s) with the corresponding verse number. For example: “I was struck by the word LIGHT in verse five.”
  3. Second Round Reading: God’s personal WORD/MESSAGE
    •   Reading of the same text: After all, have shared in the first round, the facilitator invites another member to read the same text aloud; the others again participate silently, as in the first round.
    •   Silence: After the reading, all observe deep silence for about five minutes, during which each member listens intently to God's personal message for him/her. Prompted by the text and/or the sharing of other group members about the striking word(s), phrase(s) or verse(s), one that is true to emerge as most meaningful to each group member; one that is true to him/her own experience or applicable to his/her life. This would be God’s personal message to him/her, confirmed by the voice within (or the conscience of the heart)
    •   Sharing: After about five minutes, (the facilitator invites the group members to share GOD’S PERSONAL MESSAGE to them. In order to keep the sharing on the personal level (instead of hiding behind the group and to retrain from moralizing (telling others what to do), sharers will use only pronouns of the first person singular: “I, me, my, mine,” They will not hesitate to do so if they remember the words of Pope Paul VI: “Is there any other way of handing on the Gospel than by transmitting to another person one’s personal experience of faith?”
  4. Third Round Reading: God's Word/Message calls for a RESPONSE
    •   Reading of the same Text: Alter all have shared, another member of the group reads the text a third time, while the others listen and read silently.
    •   Silence: After the reading, they observe deep silence once again for about five minutes while they pray in their hearts, they will answer, for example, the personal message of God to them, expressing their trust, if His word was a promise; their obedience, if it was a command. They may also give praise and thanks, repent, or ask for a petition or intercession—depending on the message received.
    •   Sharing: After praying in silence, each member shares his/her personal prayer, as a response to God’s personal message.
  5. Concluding Prayer or Song

ACTION RESPONSE (3 RSSP – Vigan Method 2)


Sharing in a prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture in a small group to better act on the Word of God.


  1. Short Opening Prayer or Song
  2. First Round Reading: Contact with the Text (Same as Prayer Response)
    •   Reading of the Text: Same as Prayer Response
    •   Silence: Same as Prayer Response
    •   Sharing: Same as Prayer Response
  3. Second Round Reading: Meditate on God’s Personal WORD/MESSAGE

    (Same as Prayer Response)

    •   Reading of the same Text:
    •   Silence:
    •   Sharing:
  4. Third Round Reading: God’s Word/Message calls for a Response in Action
    •   Reading: After all have shared, another member of the group reads the text a third time while the others listen and read silently.
    •   Silence: After the reading, they observe deep silence once again for about five minutes, as they reflect on how to respond to God’s word in action, remembering the word of the Lord: “Blessed are they who hear the word of God and do it” (cf. Luke 6:47ff; 8:21; 11:28).

      To make it concrete, the group

      • Selects as their resolution an action, suggested by a word/phrase/verse in the text and called for by one’s concrete life circumstances.
      • Think of possible applications of the resolution.
      • Pick or formulate a word or phrase as a motto by which the resolution could be easily and often recalled.
    •   Sharing: After reflecting in silence, each member will share with the rest of the group his/her personal action/resolution/motto as a response to God’s personal message. ‘Then in a second step, group members may try to come to a consensus on how to live God’s word, not just as individuals, but as a community. They may formulate this consensus in a group motto or group sculpture.
  5. Concluding Prayer/Song

A Four-Step Method in Bible Sharing

Lectio Divina (sacred reading) is a method of meditative Bible reading, which goes back to the early centuries of our church. It continues to be a source of deep spiritual growth, and is done in four stages:

Reading (Lectio): You read the passage slowly and reverently, allowing the words to sink into your consciousness. If necessary, you clarify the meaning of words or expressions that you are not familiar with. Meditation (Meditatio): You allow the passage to stir up memories within you so that you recognize in it your own experience or that of people who have touched your life. Prayer (Oratio): You allow the meditation to lead you to prayer—thanksgiving, humility and petition. Action (Actio): The prayer bears fruit with corresponding deeds of peace, justice, love, joy, truth, forgiveness, compassion, etc.

                              Step Four: Response in Action (actio)

                     Step Three: Response in Prayer (oratio)

            Step Two: Word of God (meditatio)

   Step One: Text (lectio)

I. LECTIO: READING of the Text (Oral, repeated, reverential, careful)


  1. Solo reading
  2. Verse reading
  3. Marking (words, short phrases, not long sentences or whole verses) which words to mark:
    • With straight line: words that uplift, inspire, “pleasing”
    • With broken line: words that bothér, challenge, “disturbing”
  4. Some practical points:
    • Allow the printed word to speak.
    • You are not shopping for the “best” word.
    • It is God who takes the initiative.
    • Listen to God first.

II. MEDITATION: Approaching the Text

  • Why is this word (marked) special to me?
  • What is the word telling me in this particular situation (or concern) in my life?
  • What do you, O God, want to tell me?
  • Some practical points:
    • Allow the text to shed light on your life situation: this is mostly done during the period of silence.
    • In this way, the text (words, phrases) will now become the Word of God to me.
    • The Word of God does not necessarily come from one’s own marked/special word but maybe prompted from other words.
    • Personal word.

    III. ORATIO: Responding to God in Prayer

    • Any form of prayer, which expresses the relationship between the personal Word of God and my response, a prayer that corresponds between the word and my answer. e.g. expression of trust if the word was a promise; obedience if the word was a command; repentance, if the word was a call of conversion; petition or deepening of a message received.
    • Take a (short) line or phrase from the text, Say it many times as in a “mantra.”

    IV. ACTIO: Responding to God in Action

    • For the individual members: what shall I do personally, concretely?
      • Select a resolution or action suggested by the text. (what, whom)
      • Think of a possible application of the resolution in a concrete way (who, when, how)
      • Formulate a “motto” to live out the resolution.
    • For the whole group: what shall we as a group do concretely?
      • WHO will do WHAT, WHEN? After sharing each one’s “motto” or resolution.
      • They agree on how to concretely live out or apply their group resolution—who will do what, when.
      • Come up with a “group motto.”

    BIBLIARASAL APPROACH (Fr. Efren O. Rivera, OP—UST Manila)

    How to do a “BIBLIARASAL” Session

    A BIBLIARASAL session is vastly improved when it is done with the help of a Catechist-Facilitator, that is, someone trained as a Biblical Catechist and experienced as a Facilitator. The two roles are different. A CATECHIST is a Teacher who is better trained or educated in the Bible than other participants in the Bible Study group. A Catechist gives the group a “summary of the Teaching” in the biblical passage being studied and points out some observations. It is also appropriate for the Catechist to take charge of step 6; when “what the Lord wants us to do” is related to Philippine Church Life today and to the country’s Cultural, Economic, Political and Social situation. The FACILITATOR encourages others to participate, a role exercised in Steps 1, 2, 3B, 5 and 7.

    A BIBLIARASAL session should NOT take more than 40 to 60 minutes. To adhere to this time limit, Sessions A & B deal with just one biblical passage. The four words of BIBLIARASAL: Mag-ARAL ng BIBLIA upang mag-DASAL at magbago ng ASAL”—“STUDY the BIBLE to PRAY and change your BEHAVIOR.”

    Step 1 INVITE THE LORD FACILITATOR invites a participant to lead the Opening Prayer. The Opening Prayers should come from one’s heart, each time done by a different person.
    Step 2 TEXT READING FACILITATOR divides the participants into two groups and take turns in reading. Participants in Group 1 read the odd numbered verses or paragraphs. Participant in Group 2 read the even numbered ones.
    Step 3 AGAIN LOOK AT THE TEXT… 3 A – CATECHIST summarizes and gives some observations on the Biblical passage or selection being studied.

    3 B – Then FACILITATOR invites the participants to PICK OUT A VERSE AND A VALUE ONE CAN FIND IN IT. – Round 1 is just for reading out loud your chosen Verse-Value. No sharing yet. Let everyone finish this round first. Round 2 is for SHARING on your chosen Verse-Value. Wait for your turn. Do not discuss... do not preach. DO PRAISE AND GLORIFY GOD FOR A STRIKING EXPERIENCE (not just an idea). He has given you, which you can CONNECT WITH YOUR VERSE-VALUE.
    Step 4 GOD SPEAKS WE LISTEN Observe silence for about 2 minutes, to reflect on what has been taken up so far. Conclude Session “A” with the shared prayers of one or two volunteers, to which everyone says “Amen”.

    Step 5 SHARE FACILITATOR invites one or two participants to take up a “Point of Sharing” from the Guide and do the sharing.
    Step 6 SEARCH CATECHIST relates the question, “What Does the Lord Want Us to Do?” 1) In the Philippine Church Life today and 2) In the country’s Cultural, Economic, Political and Social Situation. Participants may give FEEDBACK to the Catechist, and from time to time, they might decide TO DO SOMETHING AS A GROUP.
    Step 7 PRAY FACILITATOR invites one OF two volunteers to do a Recap of both Sessions “A” and “B” IN THE FORM OF A PRAYER FROM THE HEART.


    Step 7 “P” PRAY RECAP

    Use the Gospel of the following Sunday
    Use one of the Gospels for continuous reading or
    Refer to the Catholic Daily Bible Reading Guide


    1. Ephesians 4:1-6: Each Christian is called to share in the task of the church.
    2. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11: Make us the gifts of the spirit.
    3. John 13:1-7: We are Christians made to serve others.
    4. Matthew 25:14-30: If we all use our talents, we grow together.
    5. Luke 10:1-9: We are not only called but also sent.
    6. Acts 2:1-4/1 Corinthians 12:4-11: What is the Church?
    7. Luke 4:14-19: The relevant Church.
    8. Luke 4:31-41: Jesus fulfilled His task.
    9. Ephesians 4:3-6: Compare the Church with a family.
    10. 2 Corinthians 8:1-15: Financial self-supporting gives dignity.
    11. 1 Peter 2:4-12: Christians are one people—built on the one cornerstone.


    1. Liberating encounter: Luke 19:1-10: Zacchaeus.
    2. Unexpected encounter: Luke 7:36-50: Jesus in the house of Simon.
    3. Refused encounter: Mark 6:1-6: Jesus in Nazareth. 
    4. Inviting encounter: Mark 10:1'7-22: Jesus and the rich man.
    5. Encouraging encounter: Luke 24:13-35: Emmaus.


    1. Genesis 1:24--2:1: Equal in dignity, partners were both charged with responsibility.
    2. Genesis 2:18-25: Relationship between man and woman based on mutual love. (“Rib” close friend in Arabic)
    3. Genesis 3:7-21: Sin disturbs all peace.
    4. Genesis 24:48-67: The family takes precedence over individuals.
    5. Parents arrange marriages. How did we come together?
    6. Genesis 29:15 30: Jacob works for the bridal price. Laban was scheming too much, What is the motive of the parents when arranging a marriage?
    7. Tobit 7:1-8; 8:15-17: A home prepared by God.
    8. Proverbs 5:15-23: Fidelity.
    9. Sirach 26:1-23: Husband and wife examine their conscience.
    10. Sirach 23:16-37: Faithfulness in marriage.
    11. Proverbs 31:10-31: Responsibility of the wife.
    12. Malachi 2:10-16: Marriage is a solemn agreement before God.
    13. Jeremiah 3:1-20: The Covenant of God and marriage.
    14. Matthew 5:21-27: To build on rock or sand.
    15. Mark 10:1-10: No Divorce.
    16. Matthew 5:27-30; 18:8-9: Evil starts in man’s heart and uncontrolled desires.
    17. Matthew 22:35-40: Husband and wife as “neighbors.”
    18. John 15:9-16: Application to marriage.
    19. Romans 12:1-2, 9-18: Total response to God in living for others.
    20. Ephesians 5:21-33: The New Covenant and the love between husband and wife.
    21. 1 Peter 3:1-7: Behavior of husband and wife.
    22. 1 Corinthians 7:1-7: The call to celibacy and married life.
    23. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8: Married life should make husband and wife
    24. 1 Corinthians 12:13b-13:8a: The ways of true love.
    25. Matthew 14:28-33: We are not alone.


    1. 2 Samuel 16:5-14; 19:16-24: David forgave Shimei, even though Shimei treated him badly.
    2. Sirach 22:19-26: We should learn how to restore a broken friendship.
    3. Matthew 18:26-35: We should forgive others because God forgives us.
    4. Matthew 6:12-15; It is no good praying to God if we don’t forgive others.
    5. Luke 11:3-4: Forgive us our sins as we forgive others.
    6. Luke 17:1-4; How often should I forgive my neighbors?
    7. Matthew 24;34-40: The two great commandments.
    8. John 17:18-23: That they may be one...
    9. Matthew 5:21-26: Make peace with your brother before you bring your gift to the altar.
    10. 1 Corinthians 1:10-11: Make up the differences between you.
    11. 1 John 2:3-11: He who hates his brother remains in darkness.
    12. Luke 6:31-38: Love your enemies.
    13. Colossians 3:12-17: Forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins.

    Initiation to the Christian Community

    (A basic Catechumen course)

    Small basic communities should accept catechumens in their midst, initiating them into the Christian community by shared scripture meditations.

    Selected texts tor Gospel sharing with Christians and Catechumens combined:

    1. Mark 1:1-13: Jesus steps down into the pool of our sins.
    2. Mark 1:16-28: Jesus calls and heals us.
    3. Mark 4:35-41: Jesus stays with us in stormy times.
    4. Mark 6:1-13: Jesus sends his disciples to us.
    5. Mark 8:1-10: Jesus feeds us.
    6. Mark 8:31-38: Jesus invites us on his way of the cross.
    7. Mark 12:38-44: Jesus shows us how to judge people in a new way.
    8. Matthew 5:1-12: Jesus shows a new world of justice and peace.
    9. Matthew 5:13-16: Jesus gives us the task to give light to the world.
    10. John 3:1-21: Jesus wants us to be “born again.”
    11. John 6:47-56: Jesus promises to give us himself to eat.
    12. John 11:1-27: Jesus can raise us from the dead.
    13. John 13:1-20: Jesus gives us an example of how to serve each other.
    14. John 14:10-25: Jesus tells us about his Father and the Holy Spirit.
    15. Mark 14:32-42: Jesus invites us to stay awake with him.
    16. Mark 15:21-39: Jesus dies for us and draws us to himself on the cross.
    17. Mark 16:1-13: Jesus shows himself to those who believe him.
    18. Acts 1:1-14: Jesus does not abandon us; he is the Lord above.
    19. Acts 2:1-24: Jesus sends us the power of his Spirit.
    20. Acts 2:37-4'7: How we as Christians live together.
    21. Acts 6:1-15: How people in a Christian community work and witness.
    22. Acts 6:8-15 and 7:54-60: Jesus expects his followers to lay down their lives for him.
    23. Acts 9:1-19: The risen Lord is calling still today.
    24. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11: Each one of us has his task within the church community.
    25. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13: Love is our new way of life.
    26. Ephesians 4:17-32: We are called to live a new life.
    27. Ephesians 5:1-20: We are called to imitate God.
    28. Colossians 3:12-17: We should encourage each other in the faith.
    29. 1 John 2:1-11: We are called to the same kind of life that Jesus lived.
    30. Revelation 2:1-7: We should prove victorious.
    31. Revelation 3:14-20: We should not grow lukewarm.
    32. Revelation 21:1-8: We have a great aim to achieve: a New Earth and Heaven.
    33. Revelation 2:16-21: We are longing for our final salvation: Come, Lord Jesus.


    1. Matthew 5:1-10: The Beatitudes
    2. Matthew 5:13-16: You are the salt of the earth
    3. Matthew 6:25-34: Do not worry — your Father knows what you need
    4. Matthew 7:7-11: Ask and you will be forgiven
    5. Matthew 8:5-13: Jesus heals the servant of the centurion
    6. Matthew 8:14-17: The cure of Peter’s mother-in-law and many other cures
    7. Matthew 9:1-8: Courage...your sins are forgiven. Get up and walk
    8. Matthew 9:18-22: If I can only touch his cloak
    9. Matthew 10:26-31: Do not be afraid, you are worth more...
    10. Matthew 11:25-30: The yoke I will give is easy...
    11. Matthew 26:36-44: Not my will be done, but yours
    12. Luke 5:17-25: ...they lowered the sick man through the roof
    13. Luke 24:13-26: Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer and so to enter into glory
    14. Luke 22:14-20: The Last Supper
    15. Luke 24:28-35: Emmaus, their eyes were opened
    16. John 15:1-5: I am the vine — remain in me
    17. John 16:20-24: Your sorrow will turn into joy
    18. Acts 2:1-4: The sad apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit
    19. Romans 5:1-5: Suffering brings patience
    20. Romans 8:31-39: Our sufferings cannot be compared with the glory we await
    21. Romans 8:31-39: Nothing can separate us from the love of God
    22. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7: God comforts us when Christ’s sufferings overflow to us
    23. Colossians 1:24-27: It makes me happy to suffer for you...I join the sufferings of Christ
    24. 1 Peter 4:12-19: We have some share in the sufferings of Christ
    25. 1 Peter 5:6-11: You will have to suffer only for a little while. Be calm and vigilant
    26. Psalm 16:5-11: Look after me, God, I take shelter in you
    27. Psalm 25:4-15: Lord teach me your paths
    28. Psalm 34:15-22: The Lord is near to the broken-hearted
    29. Psalm 145:8-21: He, the Lord, is merciful and tender-hearted
    30. Psalm 84:1-12: Happy are those who live with you Lord


    Gospel sharing methods (GSM). (1972). May They Be One Bible: Good news translation, Catholic commemorative edition 2013 / Philippine commemorative Bible / Pope Francis / Imprimatur: Cirilo R. Almario, Jr. / Nihil obstat: Efren O. Rivera (2013 ed., pp. 8-27). Philippine Bible Society.

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