Preparing a Summary

The summary of the passage is a short paragraph that helps clarify the heart of the passage and launches into application. It is the bridge between discussing the meaning of a Bible passage to discussing what it means for our lives. A good summary captures the main tension point of the passage as a whole; it is concise and exciting. Think of it like the highlight reel of last night’s basketball game. Or a Buzzfeed article capturing the key moments of your favorite TV show. 

A summary should capture the key moments in the passage without retelling every little detail.  When a summary includes the crucial points of drama and action, the core message of the passage will come into focus and motivate the group to act on it. 

Check out this sample summary of Mark 4:35-41:

After a full day of teaching, Jesus asks the disciples to row across the lake. A huge storm hits and the disciples enter crisis mode- “Are we gonna die?!”  To make matters worse, Jesus sleeps through the emergency. The disciples frantically wake him up. Jesus commands the wind and the waves to stop, and miraculously they do!  Yet Jesus’ handling of the situation creates another crisis for the disciples: “Who the heck is this guy?!” Jesus is more than they expected. He isn’t just a teacher, he is the creator of the whole universe. Like the disciples, following Jesus will lead us into situations that force us to confront how we really see him. Jesus will take us into crisis in order to reveal more of himself to us. 

This summary has the right balance of details and emotion. It resembles an exciting highlight reel versus a blow-by-blow retelling. So when you get to the final sentence, you can feel the momentum building, which will lead to a powerful time of application.