Simon Peter is a wonderful disciple for many reasons, not least of which is his ordinariness. Peter had neither fame, riches, nor advanced educational opportunities. Peter made his living as a fisherman, an occupation that wasn’t at the bottom of the food chain but at the same time was certainly not at the top. He excelled at what he did, and his livelihood provided a house large enough to care for his extended family (Luke 4:38). He knew his business well and would have stayed with it his entire life, had he not encountered the Messiah, the Lord Jesus.
His world was his boat, the sea was his field, and for him, work and passion intertwined to give him both a living and a love. One day, however, Jesus came to the seaside where he fished and began to teach, actually using Peter’s boat as His platform for teaching. After teaching, He told Simon to launch out into the deep part of the lake and let down the nets. Peter used a polite term for “master” and explained that he had already been out all night, and had caught nothing; he did not need to add that they had just finished washing and mending the nets. At the word of Jesus, however, he let down the net.
He could not have envisioned what happened next. The net immediately filled to bursting with fish, and the haul was so heavy that he called his friends to help him pull it in. Instead of being overjoyed at his catch, he was overwhelmed. Jesus’ words and actions rocked his world, and all he could do was to fall to his knees, confess his sinfulness, and call Jesus, “Lord.” Immediately afterward, he left that boat and that life, and he began to follow Jesus. What happened? Peter experienced change at the core of his being; his worldview was transformed, and he was never the same.
What is a worldview? Worldview is the core of a person’s life, an atlas of maps built in by culture and especially parents to guide him or her in every facet of existence. Like a GPS, worldview draws up the appropriate directions in every situation to help the individual navigate that situation in a culturally appropriate manner. These assumptions are learned from childhood; they are both unrealized and unquestioned.
One primary core assumption is allegiance; to what does a person owe ultimate allegiance? Worldview defines that allegiance because that allegiance guides every aspect of life. The contemporary American worldview instills a strong allegiance to the individualistic self. “Let your heart be your guide,” “Follow your heart,” and, “Trust your inner voice,” are some of the mantras that set the allegiance of the contemporary US worldview. This worldview covertly opposes God’s Word by denying human sinfulness, exalting human ability and goodness, opening heaven to a “good” people, and rejecting Jesus as the only Lord and Savior.
How does Chronological Bible Teaching Change Worldview? Chronological Bible Teaching challenges these faulty worldview assumptions and allegiances by a countercultural approach that exposes the false, unbiblical allegiances of the contemporary worldview and replaces them with a life-changing allegiance to Christ. This countercultural approach emerges in several ways.
- CBT demands time, both in the length of the study and in the time required meeting each week. Many other Bible studies last from four to six weeks, assuming that people cannot keep their attention or interest any longer.
- CBT requires at least a year to develop the habits and unpack the stories that bring true change.
- Further, CBT asks students for 1 1/2 to 2 hours weekly to review, rehearse memorized verses, and unpack the story.
CBT is countercultural because it changes the locus of authority from the teacher to the text. The current situation sets up media, education, and government as authority figures who tell hearers what they want to know. CBT elevates the text and uses questions to elucidate the meaning of the text. The question is not subjective, “What does this passage mean to you?” but rather objective, “What does this passage teach us about God? Man? Sin? Grace?” The student learns to trust the text and grow through interacting with God’s Word.
CBT is countercultural because it pierces through the surface studies and demands accountability in Scripture memory, Bible reading, and prayer together. As the Bible unpacks its truth, it simultaneously unpacks the hearts of the disciples, exposing them to areas where the Lordship of Christ has either been unexamined or ignored. Since God’s Word deals with real people who have real problems, CBT addresses the core issues of life in a refreshingly honest way. God’s Word studied in depth, over time, exposes Abraham’s lies, Jacob’s deceptions, Joseph’s cries, Moses’ anger, and the depravity of humanity in all of its ugliness. The Bible strips away pretensions. This honesty toward God brings a new level of allegiance to the God who can love such sinners and save them by giving His own Son as the Innocent Substitute on behalf of the guilty.
CBT is countercultural because it unpacks the Old Testament (the only Bible Jesus had) and develops faith in the same way that Joseph, Moses, and David developed faith. They learned the stories, saw how God worked in ordinary people, and realized that they could trust the living God. The section of the Bible so many shun—the Old Testament—comes alive as disciples learn its great stories, see its powerful truths, and apply its life lessons to their own situation. All the stories relate to one another and to the grand meta-narrative of Scripture. They are one story, and the CBT student learns that story as God’s story and as his own story.
How to get started today? Make a plan for reading the Bible daily and chronologically. God promises wisdom to those who listen to Him daily (Proverbs 8:34). Reading the Bible daily is not a boring religious exercise; rather, it is the only consistent way to hear God speak. As you read, ask specific questions of the text. CBT applies four types of discovery questions that force readers to interact carefully with the text of Scripture: Factual questions ensure that you get the story straight and see the details; Inferential questions explore what you see about God, human nature, faith, sin, grace, and other doctrinal themes; Connecting questions ask where you’ve seen God work in this way before; and Application questions take the truths of the story and relate them to your life today. Taking notes while you read reinforces the truths you learn and integrates them into every facet of your thinking.
How do these questions work out in Peter’s story? Peter ingests the facts as he listens to Jesus’ message and sees Jesus’ actions. As the facts unfold, Peter interprets Jesus’ action—the great catch—as something only God can do, so Jesus must be more than mere man. His inferences lead him to make connections in Scripture—only God can do what he’s just witnessed, as He did for Moses with manna and Elijah with bread. Finally, Peter applies this truth to his life by confessing Christ as Lord and leaving all to follow Him. This is true worldview change.
Just like Peter, you must be willing to listen to Jesus; He speaks today through His Word, the Bible. Second, like Peter, you must be willing to obey Jesus, even if the requests He makes seem to go against what you think is right. Third, you must be willing to confess your need of Jesus as Peter did. You must also follow Him, for He calls people to be His followers (“disciple” means both “learner” and “follower”). When you begin to follow Him, He will give you power, for He transforms worldview from the inside out. He never calls for new behaviors; He always calls for a new heart. His transforming power changes a person at the core; this is why He told Nicodemus, “You must be born again”(John 3:3). Only Jesus—through His Word—brings worldview change.