Discovery Group Scripture Passage Sets

Here are some topics and suggestions to help your group, person of peace or his or her social network as they grow in the Lord.

While "all scripture is inspired and profitable ... for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16) not everyone is in the same stage of relationship to Christ so I've suggested passages for various stages of maturity to start.

When able I like to begin with Jesus' Parable of the Four Soils (Mark 4:13-20), the parable Jesus called "key" to the others (Mark 4:13).

Then you can continue below as appropriate to your group. Many passages of course are applicable to all:

Scripture Passage sets to engage seekers and pre-Christians

Remember an initial DBS conversation can be as brief as 5 minutes and as casual as asking a small group of people "what do you make of this?" - then reading (or quoting from memory) a verse or two relevant to your conversation and asking what it suggests God is like, people are like or how one would live differently if these things were true.

For example you could ask, "where do you look for strength on hard days?" and read Isaiah 41:8-10 leading to a brief DBS conversation. Or "is blessing just random for those who are lucky?" and read Matt 5:1-10 leading to a brief DBS conversation. Following the conversation on "How does God bless?" in invitation can be extended to continue with the Sermon on the Mount.

A mental health conversation may lead to a short series such as the source of "hope beyond our circumstances" focused on Christmas:  

Christmas – Our Wellspring of Hope
  • The promise of Light in the Darkness - Isaiah 9:2-7 /li>
  • The name of the miraculous infant - Matt 1:18-25
  • The announcement of angels – Luke 2:9-20
  • The worship of Kings from Afar - Matt 2:1-12

Other topics can serve those in need, struggling in areas such as grief, unforgiveness, abuse and addiction.

Stories of Forgiveness and Hope:

Forgiveness and hope are like a beam of light into a dark room. The light comes from Christ and transforms lives. 

  • A Disreputable Woman Anoints Jesus. (Luke 7:36-50)

  • The Pharisee and Tax Collector. (Luke 18:9-17)

  • The Rich Young Ruler. (Luke 18:18-30)

  • The Merciful King. (Matthew 18:21-35)

  • Christ Crucified: Two Responses. (Luke 23:32-49)

  • Jesus’ Resurrection Appearance. (Luke 24:33-53)

  • The Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32)

God's Promises

Human promises can be fleeting. God's promises are steadfast and unchanging on which we can rest with all our being.

  • Salvation for Everyone Who Calls - Acts 2:17-21; John 6:35-40

  • Faithful to Forgive - 1 John 1:5-10

  • With You Always and Everywhere - Joshua 1:1-9; Matthew 28:16-20

  • Steadfast Love - Romans 8:35-39; Psalm 103:17

  • Ears Attentive to the Cries of His Children - Psalm 86:5-8; Psalm 34:15

  • Every Need Supplied - Matthew 6:25-33

  • A Present Help - Psalm 46:1-11

  • Strength in Weakness - Isaiah 40:26-31; 2 Corinthians 12:9

  • Slow to Anger - Psalm 103:1-18

  • Everything for Good - Romans 8:18-30

  • Walking with us in the Reward - 2 Corinthians 4:1-17

  • Life Forever- Revelation 21:1-26 

Genesis to Jesus (Creation to Redemption) – Story of the Bible

The Bible is not a series of disconnected stories but one seamless story: God's love and rescue story of a fallen world.

  • God Creates (Genesis 1:1-25)

  • God Creates Man and Woman (Genesis 2:4-24)

  • Man and Woman Distrust God (Genesis 3:1-13)

  • God’s Responds to Sin (Genesis 3:14-24)

  • God Regrets His Creation (Genesis 6:5-8)

  • God Saves Noah and His Family (Genesis 6:9-8:14)

  • God’s Covenant with Noah (Genesis 8:15-9:17)

  • God’s Covenant with Abram (Genesis 12:1-8, 15:1-6, 17:1-7)

  • Abraham Gives His Son as an Offering Genesis 22:1-19

  • God Spares His People (Exodus 12:1-28)

  • The Commands of God (Exodus 20:1-21)

  • The Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-35)

  • God’s Righteous Servant (Isaiah 53)

  • Jesus is Born (Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-20)

  • Jesus is Baptized (Matthew 3; John 1:29-34)

  • Jesus is Tested (Matthew 4:1-11)

  • Jesus and the Religious Leader (John 3:1-21)

  • Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (John 4:1-26, 39-42)

  • Jesus and the Paralyzed Man (Luke 5:17-26)

  • Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)

  • Jesus and the Man with Evil Spirits (Mark 5:1-20)

  • Jesus Raises a Man from the Dead (John 11:1-44)

  • Jesus Talks about His Betrayal and New Covenant Matthew (26:17-30)

  • Jesus is Betrayed and Faces Trial (John 18:1-19:16)

  • Jesus is Crucified (Luke 23:32-56)

  • Jesus is Resurrected (Luke 24:1-35)

  • Jesus Appears to the Disciples and Ascends to Heaven (Luke 24:36-53)

  • Enter into the Kingdom God (John 3:1-21)

(Download above list:

Who is Jesus? - Jesus' “I AM’s” in Gospel of John

Jesus makes remarkable claims about himself. If true, no one like him has ever existed. Judge for yourself.

  • John 1:1-18 (Word of God)

  • John 6: 27-40 (Bread of Life)

  • John 8: 1-12 (Light of the World)

  • John 10: 1-18 (Good Shepherd and Door to the Sheepfold)

  • John 11: 1-44 (Resurrection and Life)

  • John 14: 1-20 (True Living Way)

  • John 15:1-17 (Vine who makes Fruitful)

Scripture Passage sets for New Christians (e.g. Alpha grads) and Nominal Christians

Alpha: the following shows Alpha topics and passages which could be used alongside this excellent discussion program.

SESSION 1: Is There More to Life Than This? (Psalm 90:1-6, 12)
SESSION 2: Who is Jesus? (John 14: 1-20)
SESSION 3: Why Did Jesus Die? (Luke 23:32-49)
SESSION 4: How Can I Have Faith? (Romans 10:6-17)
SESSION 5: Why and How Should I Pray? (Luke 11:1-13)
SESSION 6: Why and How Should I Read the Bible? (Deuteronomy 6:1-9; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 4:12 [11-16])
SESSION 7: How Does God Guide Us? (Hebrews 11:1-8; 12:1-3)

WEEKEND SESSION 1: Who is the Holy Spirit? (John 14:15-26)
WEEKEND SESSION 2: What Does the Holy Spirit Do? (Luke 3:21-22; Luke 4 with emphasis on v.17-21 but entire chapter)
WEEKEND SESSION 3: How Can I Be Filled with the Holy Spirit? (Acts 19:1-20)
WEEKEND SESSION 4: How Can I Make the Most of the Rest of My Life? (I Samuel 3:1-10)

SESSION 8: How Can I Resist Evil? Eph 6:10-20)
SESSION 9: Why and How Should I Tell Others? (John 4)
SESSION 10: Does God Heal Today? (Acts 28:1-10)
SESSION 11: What About the Church? (Acts 2:37-47)

Following Jesus

Following Jesus brings many changes to how we do life and may add values we'd not considered before. Come explore.

In Prayer:
God answers prayer (Acts 12:5-19)
Don't be anxious (Philippians 4:4-9)
Prayer brings wisdom (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Jesus teaches prayer” (Matthew 6:5-15)
Persevering in prayer (Luke 11:5-13)
In Obedience:
Love and obedience (John 14:15-24)
True disciples obey (Matthew 7:15-29)
Obedience when we think we know better (2 Kings 5:1-19)
Responding to Jesus authority (Matthew 21:23-32)
Hearing and doing (James 1:19-27)

In Serving:
Jesus teaches about serving others (Mark 10:35-45)
Jesus serves (John 13:1-17)
Serving strangers (Luke 10:25-37)
Woman serves (Mark 14:1-9)
What counts in the end (Matthew 25:32-46)
In Generosity:
Encounter with Jesus changes attitude to money (Luke 19:1-10)
Do not be controlled by money (Luke 12:22-34)
Giving to advance the mission of Christ (Phil 4:10-20)
Giving when we have not (2 Corinthians 8:9-15; Luke 21:1-4)
Giving as sowing (2 Corinthians 9:1-9)
In Bringing Others to Jesus:
People meet Jesus because others introduce them (John 1:35-50)
Where is God already at work (Acts 8:26-40)
If no one tells, who will hear (Romans 10:9-17)
Gentiles hear the good news (Acts 10:9-48)
Boldness in the face of opposition (Acts 5:17-42)

Scripture Passage sets for Committed disciples and disciple-makers

Paradigm Shifts implicit in Making Disciples (Facilitator Training):

How is attending church different from following Jesus? Let's explore how Jesus' higher bar brings deeper transformation.

  • Christ's Invitation: High Bar vs Low Bar (Mt 16:21-28)
  • Abiding in = Loving = Obeying Christ (John 15:1-17)
  • Sharing Begins Right Away (John 4:27-42)
  • Newness in Christ makes us Ambassadors (2 Cor 5:14-21)
  • Healthy Disciples Multiply the Next Generation (Isaiah 12:1-6)
  • Support in Suffering & Persecution (1 Peter 1:3-12)
Jesus Calls Disciples to Make Disciples:

Life begets life. A fruitful life involves adding, even multiplying, those who come to know and follow Jesus.

  • Parable of the Four Soils (Mark 4:13-20)

  • The Call of Jesus' First Disciples (Matt 4:18-25)

  • Jesus and the Harvest: John 4:21-38

  • Sending of the 12 (Luke 9:1-6 or, in more detail, Matt 10:5-20)

  • The Return of the 72 (Luke 10:1-4 and 16-24)

  • The Great Commission (Matt 28:16-20)

  • Paul's Final Word to His Disciple: build 4 spiritual generations (2 Tim 2:1-10)

The Heart of Jesus

The prayers of Jesus reveal much about his heart, priorities, vision and relationship with his Father in heaven. John 17 is the longest and most detailed prayer of Jesus recorded in the New Testament. So much to learn and emulate.

  • Jesus and the Father (John 17:1-8)

  • Jesus and His Disciples (John 17:9-19)

  • Jesus and Those Who will Come to Believe (John 17:20-26)

Jesus Strengthens His Disciples

The challenges of this world are many. Jesus enables us to reflect heaven on earth in many remarkable ways.

  • The Towel and Basin - John 13:1-20

  • Recognized as Jesus' Disciples - John 13:31-38

  • The Way to the Father's House - John 14:1-14

  • The Work of the Holy Spirit - John 14:15-31

  • The Fruitful Vine - John 15:1-8

  • Selfless Love - John 15:19-17

  • Bearing Witness to the Light in a Dark World - John 15:18-27

  • Ministering Truth from Heaven - John 16:7-15

  • Faithful in Tribulation till He Comes - John 16:16-33

Fellowship with the Holy Spirit

Jesus' promise to sustain and empower us from heaven is through God's own Spirit of Holiness.

  • Jesus' Promise of the Holy Spirit - John 14:15-21
  • Elements of Our Relationship - John 14:23-27
  • Holy Spirit makes us Fruitful in Jesus - John 15:10-17
  • Ministering Truth from Heaven - John 16:7-15
In Fullness of the Holy Spirit

The fullness of God's Holy Spirit empowers us for our mission in the Kingdom of God.

  • Jesus' Promise of the Holy Spirit - Acts 1:1-11
  • The Birth of the Church - Acts 2
  • Into the Gentile World with the Power of the Holy Spirit - Acts 13:1-11
  • The Guidance and Sustaining of the Holy Spirit - Acts 16:11-34

Scripture Passage sets for us All

7 Commands of Christ

If you love me, keep my commands - (John 14:15 NIV). Jesus gave many words of guidance and direction. Which could been seen as primary in multiplying disciple-making communities?

  • Repent (Turn) & Follow Jesus - Command: Mark 1:15 | Story: Luke 7:36-50

  • Be Baptized - Command-Matthew 28:19 | Story: Acts 8:26-39

  • Pray - Command: Matthew 6:9-13 | Story: Matthew 6:9-13

  • Make Disciples - Command: Matthew 28:19-20 | Story: John 4:4-42

  • Love - Command: Matthew 22:37-39 | Story: Luke 10:25-37

  • Lord’s Supper - Command: Luke 22:19-20 | Story: Luke 22:7-20

  • Give - Command: Luke 6:38 | Story: Mark 12:41-44

Parables of the Kingdom

Jesus' pictures of the Kingdom are simple, evocative and many. How will these focus the purpose of your life?

  • Growing till the End - Matthew 13:24-33

  • The Value of the Kingdom - Matt 13:44-46

  • The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:25-37

  • The Lost Sheep and Coin – Luke 15:4-10

  • The Lost Son – Luke 15:11-32

  • The Ten Young Women – Matthew 25:1-13


Practical wisdom to live in harmony with heaven and earth.

  • The Value of Wisdom - Proverbs 3:13-20

  • Building on the Rock - Matthew 7:24-29

  • Wisdom from Above - James 3:13-18

Salvation Now and Always

Salvation is freedom from bondage to the god of this world to the glory of heaven.

  • Effects of sin are everywhere – Romans 3:9-20

  • Jesus is the Way – John 14:1-9

  • Trusting Christ – Romans 10:6-13

  • Entrance into the Kingdom – John 3:1-17

  • Salvation into Eternity - Revelation 22:1-10

The Character of God

What is God really like? Are our ideas of God of our own making or in fact accurate reflections of His nature?

  • Psalm 103 (Could be three weeks: 1-5; 6-14; 15-22) - beautiful revelation of the heart and nature of God

  • Exodus 4:1-10 – loving justice, hating oppression

  • Isaiah 53 – servant to redeem His people

  • Luke 15:12ff – patient and generous in forgiveness

  • Luke 16:19ff - Favors the humble and poor

  • Revelation 4 – worthy of awe and worship

  • Revelation 5:1-10 – King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Our Anchor in Days of Trouble and Anxiety

We may experience personal storms or pressure from an ungodly world. Here is help so as not to be shaken.

  • Who is greater than worry? (Matt 6: 19-34)

  • With Jesus in the storm (Mark 4:35-41)

  • The demand to bow to the godless (Daniel 3)

  • Daniel in the Lion’s Den (Daniel 6)

  • Walking by faith and not by sight (Heb 11:1-12:3)

Jesus in the Gospel of Mark

The following is an example of how a Gospel like Mark or John or letter like Philippians or Ephesians can be engaged in bite-sized studies to help us grow as disciples and disciple-makers.

  • Jesus sent by God 1:1-13

  • Jesus declares his mission 1:14-20

  • Jesus delivers and heals 1:21-34

  • Prayer and Power 1:35-45

  • Signs of the Kingdom 2:1-12

  • Sinners made New 2:13:22

  • Lord of the Sabbath 2:23-3:6

  • Responses to Jesus 3:7-19

  • Misunderstood 3:20-35

  • Word and Soil 4:1-20

  • Power of Light 4:21-25

  • Power of the Seed 4:26-34

  • Jesus and the Storm 4:35-41

  • Power over Evil Mark 5:1-20

  • Power over Death Mark 5:21-43 etc... continuing to the end of the Gospel.

Other Topics and Needs

Marriage, Gender and Sexual Expression

Created in God’s Image - Genesis 1:26-30
Sexual Practices - Leviticus 18:1-30

Worshiping Creature or Creator - Romans 1:18-32

Marriage and Divorce - Matthew 19:3-12

Marriage and Celibacy – I Corinth 7:1-17
Faithful and True – I Cor 6:9; Rev. 22:6-19

Additional Scripture passage sets have been developed for your use by others. Several offer passage sets appropriate to various stages of growth. I'm happy to pass on below.

Persons of Peace: For those unfamiliar with the Bible's "love and rescue" story, you may want to introduce the chronological passages suggested in this PDF.

Following Jesus Discovery Series: five themes of five passages each providing a basic footing for those seeking to follow Jesus - prayer, obedience, service, generosity, telling others in PDF

Making Disciples: For those wishing to help new believers learn what it means to follow Christ, see "Discovering Obedience Based Discipleship" passages in PDF

Building Disciple-makers: For those wishing to help small groups further build God's intention for disciple-making communities, see "Discovering Church Planting" in PDF. For list of passages only, click here.

Leadership Development: For those helping 'persons of peace' join you in developing disciple-making movements, see "Discovering Leadership" for multiplication in PDF. For list of passages only, click here.