Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)


Barnett College of Ministry & Theology


Department of Christian Ministries and Religion

Primary Advisor

Dr. Chris Owen

Second Advisor

Dr. Mike Cuckler

Third Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Archer


Because the Christian faith depends upon Christ's life, teachings, death, and resurrection, believers should strive to become more like Him daily. In this regard, the late theologian C.S. Lewis would argue that every Christian should become a “little Christ.” According to research conducted by Barna Research Group, four of five Christians list personal spiritual development and having a deep commitment to Christ as a priority. However, only one in five Christians is involved in any spiritual development activities outside of attending church services. Thus, few Christians are actually investing energy into their spiritual growth. Discipleship formation, known interchangeably as spiritual formation, is the process in which followers of Christ embark to become like Him— thus, transformation is the goal. Many spiritual disciplines facilitate the spiritual growth of believers; however, Bible study is fundamental, as it not only helps believers gain insight into God and the Christian faith but also regarding what it means to be Christlike. This thesis aims to demonstrate that Bible study as a spiritual discipline is essential for transformative discipleship formation for believers within the Christian community. Therefore, employing effective Bible study methods during personal Bible study is necessary so that it may shape the lives of those called to follow Christ. In this respect, four Bible study methods will be examined in this thesis paper and promoted for use in personal Bible study for discipleship formation for those in the Christian community.