The Emmaus Challenge

Our culture makes fads out of month-long challenges, diets, and workout routines. Yet Jesus says we do not live on gluten-free bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). The Emmaus Challenge is a 31-day challenge for those who want to feast on God’s Word, one chapter each day for a whole month.

Who Are Emmaus Partners?

Emmaus Partners are two Christ-followers walking together through the Emmaus Challenge. Jesus walks with you both as you read a chapter of God’s Word each day and pray for one another.

The concept comes from the account of Cleopas and a second, unnamed disciple walking with Jesus in Luke 24:

13 Now that same day [that Jesus rose from the dead] two of them [disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.

Luke 24:13-15, NIV

In the original account, these two disciples were kept from recognizing Jesus (Verse 16) until he broke bread with them later that evening (Verses 30-31).

Emmaus Partners, on the other hand, walk with expectation that Jesus is walking with you. Trust that Jesus will:

  • Open your EYES to SEE Jesus [on a daily basis] (Verse 31)
  • Open the SCRIPTURES to you, that your heart would BURN within you (Verse 32)
  • Open your MIND to UNDERSTAND God’s Word (Verse 45)

You commit to:

  • DISCUSS what you are learning with one another (Verse 15)
  • Be WITNESSES of what Jesus is doing (Verse 48, also Acts 1:8)

How Does the Emmaus Challenge Work?

  1. CHOOSE A PARTNER. First select someone to be your Emmaus Partner for one month. We recommend that person be of the same gender and someone with whom you have a friendship, even if they are not close. Trust will be a key to making this experience work, so pick someone you can trust. Make sure to exchange phone numbers!
  2. SCHEDULE YOUR MONTH. We selected one month as the length of time for each Emmaus Challenge to last because it’s long enough to be a challenge but short enough to be realistic. Each challenge should begin at the beginning of each month and go for the entirety of that month. The reading plans go for 31 days, so for months that have 28-30 days, some doubling up will be needed on 1-3 Saturdays. This makes it easy to keep track of where you are in your reading plan and allows you to share with other Emmaus pairs what you’re learning.
  3. SET DAILY REMINDERS. Set an alarm on your phone for a particular time of the day to remind you to read that day’s chapter. This doesn’t need to be the same time for both partners, but it should be before you discuss it.
  4. TEXT YOUR PARTNER. Each day, set a time to text/call your partner to share what you learned from that day’s reading. Use the discussion questions as a starting point. This does not need to be a drawn out conversation or a whole Bible study! 5-10 minutes will suffice. Prayers can also be shared during this time.
  5. MEET WITH YOUR PARTNER FOR A MEAL. Just as the disciples invited Jesus to break bread with them, also so you should meet with your partner for a meal once during the month.
  6. PRAY FOR ONE PERSON WHO DOESN’T KNOW JESUS. Just as Jesus told the disciples that they would be witnesses of Jesus’ actions, so too we should be witnesses to those who do not know Jesus. We start simply by praying for ONE person and asking God to give us opportunities to share the love of Jesus with that person.

What Do Emmaus Partners Read?

Because the disciples on the road to Emmaus were walking with Jesus, the suggested reading plans always begin with one of the four accounts of Jesus’ life: the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Additional readings from the New Testament expand on what Jesus teaches:

  • MATTHEW PLAN. Matthew, 2 Peter
  • MARK PLAN. Mark, Colossians, James, 1 John, 2 John
  • LUKE PLAN. Luke, Galatians, Philemon
  • JOHN PLAN. John, Ephesians, Philippians

Each plan has 31 chapters, to be read one each day during the month. Saturdays should be used to double-up if a month has only 28, 29, or 30 days.

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