Taproot Church

How Should We Study the Bible?

By Mike Littleton

I can still vividly remember one of the first bible studies I was part of as a young Christian. A small group of us would get together once a week, read through a particular text of scripture and then spend the rest of the time trying to decipher what exactly the particular text meant.

We were all well-meaning, but we had no idea what we were doing. 

We didn’t know what questions to ask. We didn’t have any guidelines to follow. We didn’t even know that scripture was something that had to be “interpreted” or what that even meant. 

The primary questions we asked revolved around what the text meant to us personally, and this was dictated primarily by how a particular text made us feel. Furthermore, we spent much of our time searching for and discussing the potential “deeper meanings” of a particular text.

There is a right way to read the bible

God is gracious and I don’t think much damage was done back in those early days of bible study. I’m thankful I wasn’t the leader, but I also wish I had a leader who was taught how to teach others that there is a right way to read the bible. 

It’s not like other books

I understand why people approach bible reading this way. We believe the bible is the word of God, and as such, we expect it to be different than “ordinary” books. We expect it to speak into our lives differently than ordinary literature. We want it to. We want it to reveal something beyond us and greater than us–and indeed it does. The bible is the only book, to use the words of John Piper, that reveals the peculiar glory of God. This is in fact its purpose.

It is like other books

At the same time, however, the bible is like other books. What I mean by this is that the bible is, like any other book, a work of literature. And what this means is that there are certain rules to follow. When we begin to read a book or an article or any other type of writing, the first thing we do is ask questions that will help us better understand what the author is trying to convey to his or her particular readers. It may not feel like this is something we do because it comes somewhat intuitively with more modern literature. But with ancient literature, like the bible, there’s a little (a lot) more work that needs to be done.  

In order for us to read the bible correctly, we need to understand certain realities. For example, the bible isn’t just one book, but a library of books. It is one book that contains 66 books–39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Not only do we need to know that the bible consists of many books, we also need to understand that these 66 books fall into various genres of literature which greatly effect the way we read and interpret them. The bible contains genres such as: historical narrative, prophecy, poetry, wisdom literature, gospels, and letters.

So where do we begin?

Sadly, it’s assumed that people (Christians in particular) just know how to read the bible. But they don’t. Abby made this clear to me a while ago when we were having a discussion about bible reading. She said, “I was always told by my pastor that I need to read my bible, but I was never taught how to.” 

That was a revelatory thought for me, as well as a reality I’m guilty of. As a preacher, I’ve admonished Christians on countless occasions of the importance and necessity of reading the bible, but often without putting the tools in their hands to do it well.  

The bible is something we need to learn to read. We need to do the hard work and study of learning how to read the bible so that we can read and study it well. This is a process that takes time (a lifetime in fact) and this is okay.

However, regardless of where you’re at in your understanding of how to read the bible, the best thing you can do is simply begin.

A method

Over the next couple of months, with blog posts like this and a sermon series we started on January 29th, we’re going to be working through a particular method of bible reading. One of our hopes in this is that you’ll be encouraged and helped in the process of learning how to read and study it yourself. 

As we do this, it’s important to understand that this is a method among many. If you have a method you already use and prefer, that’s fine. But don't tune out what you can learn here. 

The method we’ve chosen to adopt comes out of Jen Wilkin’s book Women Of The Word. Don’t let the title deter you men, this isn’t a bible reading method decorated with flowers and soaked in rose-smelling essential oils. This method is anything but a method for women only. The reason the book is titled what it is has only to do with the fact that Wilkin’s target audience was and is women. But the content and method is among the best and most accessible I’ve ever read. I’ve adopted this method myself and have noticed a dramatic difference in the way I comprehend and teach biblical texts.

The Five “P’s"

Wilkin has labeled this method the five “P’s.” I am only going to list and briefly summarize them here. Each of these headings will be a specific sermon in our sermon series Knowing Jesus In His Word. 

Study with Purpose –– Understand where your text fits into the Big Story of creation-fall-redemption-restoration. 

Study with Perspective –– Understand the “archeology” of your texts (its historical and cultural context).

Study with Patience –– Resolve not to hurry; set a realistic expectation for your pace of study, focusing on the long term. 

Study with Process –– Begin methodically reading for comprehension, interpretation, and application.

Study with Prayer –– Ask the Father to help you before, during, and after you study time.

The Goal

Our hope and prayer in laying out this method is that we’ll have a consistent way in which we’re able to approach the study of Scripture in Taproot. Furthermore, this will give us consistency in discipleship. Part of knowing Jesus and making him known involves knowing how to read the bible and also being able to teach (discipleship) others how to as well. With this “adopted” method, we’ll also have a consistent approach to discipleship when it comes to reading and studying Scripture. 

Our prayer is that we would ultimately be maturing as followers of Jesus. We cannot do this apart from knowing the glorious God of the bible. 

May we know him more, Taproot.         

Scripture in Community

By Jesiah Dorpat

God’s words bring life.

From the forming of creation, to the words of God given in the ten commandments, to the cries of the prophets who were God’s mouthpieces, to Jesus who is the Word made flesh- God’s words have always brought life to dead souls, clarity to confusion, and peace in times of chaos. In Isaiah 35, in response to the truth of God being proclaimed, the blind and deaf (and mute and lame!) are healed and streams of water break forth in the desert wasteland! This same miracle-working, life-speaking God is present with us today in His Word, and we get to gather as a community of believers to listen and be changed.

Personal study of scripture is absolutely imperative to the Christian life, and it is the backbone to Christ-centered Christian community. God instructs us in Colossians to make His word the center of our fellowship with other believers, telling us “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

We Gather to hear the Word

We need the word to counsel, warn, encourage and comfort each other. When we gather around God’s word, we are able to encourage one another well and avoid spewing “advice” or opinions that may be more destructive than helpful. In the trials of life, we need to hear the words of God spoken to us; telling us the good news of what Jesus has done and who we are in Him! If we are honest, there are times when we don’t want to hear the truth; times where we want to remain deceived. This is precisely why we need the community of the saints to speak the truth in love through the leading of the Spirit.

We need to hear the word in community to combat the lies of the enemy and our flesh. Like soldiers fighting in the dead of winter, our communities are to be huddles of warmth where we read aloud to one another these letters of hope sent by our loved one. These words keep us and hold us steady; they arm us to fight against the temptation to give up or disbelieve the truth. As a community, we get to speak these words to each other and combat our tendency to grow callous to our sin and God’s beautiful grace! Hebrews 3:13 says it well: “..exhort one another every day, as it is called “today”, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

We Gather to live out the Word

We must hear the words of God in order to believe the words of God, but it doesn’t stop there as we know that true belief always elicits action. Practically, this means when we gather together we  “encourage one another” and “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24-25) and that it spills over into the way we love one another outside of our designated gathering times. This could mean doing a good work for another couple by watching their kids so they can go on a date or sending a letter of encouragement to a friend in a tough spot. It means confessing sin to one another (1 John 1:9), praying for one another, bearing the burdens of one another (Gal 6:2), weeping with those who are weep, and rejoicing with those who are rejoicing (Rom. 12:15). We speak the truth in love to one another (Eph. 4:15). We fulfill the great commission (Mat. 28:19) by telling others about Jesus and inviting them into the family of God. We work together to seek the welfare of our city (Jer. 29:7). The Holy Spirit empowers us to point to our amazing King Jesus in the way we love one another and the world (John 13:34-35).

Jesus has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light! We are God’s ambassadors, showing those around us what the Kingdom of God is like. May the world see a community of believers, steeped in the wonderful Story of God, that sings with the Psalmist, ”How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

Theology of Scripture

By Will Bossert

Why should you read your Bible? Is it because God says so, or because it is good for us? Many of us might think off the top of our head it is a simple answer, but unless we traverse the depths of this important question we might never connect our hearts to an answer to this question that brings about an understanding, respect, appreciation and dedication the Bible deserves. What we know and believe about scripture affects us on a grand scale. The Bible is polarizing, there is no middle ground with it. It is either God’s written Word that should impact every area of my current life, or it is just interesting literature that I should give no more care in the world as I do my daughters Dr. Suess books (of which I do enjoy reading during bedtime, but have never allowed Fox In Socks to impact my life in a significant way). The Bible is such a big deal that it is important for us to know why it is a big deal and decide why and how it should impact our lives. This is called a Theology of Scripture.

In the book Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, these four characteristics of Scripture are listed: Authority, Clarity, Necessity, and Sufficiency. I wish I had the time to explain each of these more thoroughly, but since I don’t, I will do my best to summarize what they mean to us. If you wish to gain a more exhaustive understanding of these characteristics please read chapters 4-8 of Grudem’s book.

  1. The Authority of Scripture:

“The authority of Scripture means that all the words in Scripture are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.”

When we believe the Bible is actually God’s Word it changes us. We can no longer just read it with a sense of, “Oh that’s really nice, what Jesus did for us”. Instead, it should jar us into a realization that Scripture is literally God’s words. And just think, we have access to it,to the literary work of the almighty God! This is the God who created the entire universe.Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” He literally SPOKE things into existence. And He gave us His Words. This adds a unique level of gravity to the Bible and what it is trying to communicate to its readers. This is ultimately, who God is and how he has rescued humanity through His son Jesus. How awesome is that!

2.  The Clarity of Scripture:

    “The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it.”

I can remember a time when I would tell my Youth Minister, “I can’t read my Bible because I can’t understand it.” The truth, in my case, was that I was lazy and wanted an excuse to avoid reading it, and I was afraid I wouldn’t understand what I was reading . Once I decided to take seriously, the charge to be in the Word, my eyes were opened to the reality of this great book. One of the beautiful aspects of the Bible is that you do not have to be a scholar in order to read it and at least have a general understanding of it. What a loving God we have, that He would design it this way! This is not to say that we won’t have questions, but that as a whole this book is written to be understood. God wants the message to be comprehended in a way that it can be shared! Mark 16:15, “And He said to them,’Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature’.”  So please, don’t let fear keep you from reading your Bible, but instead, be encouraged and dig in!

When questions arise, a few things I have found helpful are: 1. Genuinely ask God for help. 2. Go to the scriptures and see if you can find an answer. 3. Use reliable commentaries (I’m sure Mike could direct you to a few great ones). 4. Be patient! We are not going to understand all of the things all at once. Some things will take maturity and time, and some will not be understood until God calls us home.

3. The Necessity of Scripture:

“The Bible is necessary for knowing the Gospel, for maintaining a spiritual life, and for knowing God’s will, but is not necessary for knowing that God exists or for knowing something about God’s character and moral laws.”

The reality is the Bible is a necessary component in the process of knowing the Gospel. Knowing the Gospel is not just a one time thing, we have to continually hear the Gospel work itself out in our lives and there is nowhere better to seek and search all of the facets of The Gospel than the Bible. Then beyond being necessary to know the Gospel, the Bible is where we must go in order to live a life that is transformed by God. We cannot just will ourselves into a new way of living, we need God’s good Word to teach, demonstrate, support, and convict us into a new way of living. Finally, comes the aspect of knowing God’s will. We often make this so complicated by thinking we have to discover God’s secret plan for our lives, but the truth is we can seek scripture in order to discover God’s will. Of course it doesn’t have specific specs for how your’s or my life should be played out, but with a disciplined depth of study one gets to know God more and more intimately and can distinguish between what is in God’s will and what is not and therefore be able to apply that to one's own life.

4. The Sufficiency of Scripture:

“The Sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contains all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.”

We can be confident that the Bible and it’s 66 books are the complete, sufficient Words of God. We do not have to go searching for anything more. There are only two halves of Redemptive history, pre-Jesus and post-Jesus or Old Covenant and New Covenant. It contains everything we need for that which is necessary to be a Christian. Our salvation is in it completely, i.e. The Gospel. It contains all that God has chosen to reveal about who He is to us and what it reveals is a perfect God who has brought us into His story through Jesus. Now the reality is that God has not revealed all that there is, but it does contain all that God intended to give us.

Hopefully these characteristics of scripture inspire you to look at God’s word in a new light. That you would read it often and intentionally. Read it with a sense of it’s true value as God’s actual word that He has delivered in a way we can understand. We can be confident that it is complete and that it contains information that is necessary for our salvation, life and mission. Most countries in the world have easy access to the Bible and with the technology of Smartphones that is becoming even more true. The reality is that the accessibility of the Bible is such a wonderful thing, because it means more than ever, most people can read God’s word easily and for the most part affordably. Adversely, the accessibility of the Bible means that we generally do not give the Bible the respect and awe it deserves. The Bible truly is a treasure and it is my hope that as we look at all it is as we craft a proper theology of Scripture we will understand how valuable it is and devote ourselves to it.


A New Pastor

it’s hard to believe that we’re in our third year together as a church. As I look back on what God has done, I can’t help but be thankful and more convinced of His grace. He has done much, and I anticipate He will do much more. 

One exciting evidence of His grace is the development and establishment of new leaders in the church. We’ve seen this over the years with Gospel Community leaders, and have prayerfully been moving toward appointing elders. Well, that time has finally come. 

Last month, John Spiers was put before you all as our first elder candidate. We have taken the month of November, and now the month of December, to give adequate time for any of you to meet with John or myself to ask questions and express any concerns you might have. One of the qualifications for any elder is to be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:1). This waiting period is an opportunity to allow the church to speak into this process. 

The office of elder (pastor) is not one to be taken lightly. Elders in the church are men who are called to the task to lead, pray, teach, and shepherd the flock of God. It is with great seriousness and joy that we approach the appointing of an elder. 

John and his family have been with Taproot basically since she was born. Over the years, I’ve seen John mature in several ways, and I’ve been repeatedly blessed by his leadership. He is a man who loves God and is passionate about His Word. I’ve found his input on several occasions to be invaluable. I believe John is called and qualified, and will love and shepherd Taproot Church well. 
During this month, I invite you to pray for the Spiers family. You can also be praying for Taproot as we continue to pray and move forward with installing John. We’re also praying that God would raise up many more qualified men to lead this church. If all goes well, we will install John at the beginning of January.

Below is a short interview that will help give you some more information about John and his family. Take some time to read it and be praying for him, his family, and the whole of Taproot Church. 

Christ is all,
Pastor Mike

A short Q & A with John Spiers.
1) I grew up a Roman Catholic/Unbeliever thinking that religion and the church is what got you to
heaven.  When Kim and I decided to get married we started going to a Calvary Chapel church where the pastor taught directly from scripture and the truth of the gospel was put on display.  Also, at that time I had determined to read through the bible to try and understand it myself and the Lord used both the preaching of the church as well as my bible reading to open my eyes.  Close to a year later I came to the understanding that I needed to repent and believe the truth that He had shown me.  There was not a specific moment in time that I felt that I was saved but around that time frame is when I began to understand that I did belong to Him.   
I used to think that born again believers and Christians in general were weak-minded and silly.  I also enjoyed partying and all the other things that an average unbelieving man normally does.  Thankfully Christ has given me a new heart and taken those desires away and replaced them with a love for Him and His people.  

2)  Kim and I have 6 children, 5 sons and 1 daughter.  We are a blended family and are thankful to God for how he has brought us all together.  We also have 1 daughter-in-law and 3 grandchildren who are the apple of my eye.  Three of our sons and our grandkids live in Salem, Oregon, one son is in the Army, one son lives in Twin Falls, and our daughter lives at home.  

3)  I think the Lord put on my heart early on a passion for discipling others.  My desire is to help others grow in their walk with Christ.  The apostle Paul says in 1 Cor. 3, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase”.  God has given me a passion, sort of as he gave Apollos, to help believers grow in their understanding of the gospel.  

4)  A friend and I were talking one day and he said that this young pastor was coming to town who was going to start a new church.  As a family we joined others on the first night Taproot met at Twin Beans coffee shop as a church body and met with the body every Sunday evening throughout the first few months before being certain this is where the Lord would have us.   

5)  Jesus gives us the parable of “the Talents” in which there are three servants, each receive talents which are to be used for His kingdom.  Two of the servants went out and used the talents given wisely but the third buried his talent.  The first two received a blessing from their master but the third who buried his talent was cast into outer darkness. I believe the Lord has called me to be an elder/pastor and I desire to use the talents He has given me for His kingdom and His glory.

6)  We would ask everyone to pray for humility and grace.  Also, that God will supply the strength to serve with joy and love for His saints and there would be a continued desire to grow in the gospel and that our love for you all would continue to abound. 


Hi! Welcome to the Taproot Church Twin Falls website. We're excited to launch this new resource and we're glad you've found us.

Taproot Church Twin Falls is a new gospel-centered church plant in the city of Twin Falls, Idaho. We exist to know Jesus and make him known. We do this as we preach Jesus, make disciples, and send. We love this city and are praying and working for it's flourishing and constant renewal. 

It is our prayer for you–whether you've been following Jesus your whole life, have just begun, or are still sojourning and asking who Jesus is–that the content you find here is helpful. As we continue to establish, we hope to see more content and resources added to further help and equip you in your process of learning about and knowing Jesus.

We encourage you to take a look around, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Thanks for visiting.