Leading an Effective Bible Study

I. Personal Preparation:

  1. Pray: Ask God to help you understand the passage.
  2. Know what you are teaching: Always begin studying the passage on your own.
    1. Read the whole paragraph, chapter or the entire book at least 3 times. Use different versions of the Bible. [Compare and contrast] (e.g. NASB (literal), NIV (dynamic), NLT (free))
    2. Read the background of the book is a MUST. (You may use the “Study Bible” book’s  introduction)
      1. i.      Identify the author and the audience
      2. ii.      Identify socio-cultural background
      3. iii.      Identify the purpose of the book
      4. iv.      Identify how the passage’s idea relates to the purpose of the book
      5. Identifying the main idea of the passage.
      6. Use Bible Dictionary: Biblical terms, names, places and ideas.
  3. Know your materials: Read the BS material and guide questions. Interact with it based on your own study of the passage. Conflicting thoughts may arise, therefore study the passage further or ask your pastor to resolve the issue. (Principle: Make sure you are convinced on what you are teaching.)
  4. Personalize it: Carefully study the guide questions. Spend time in meditation and reflection as you consider how to respond.
  5. Expect the unexpected queries: Write your thoughts and responses in each question; this will help you express your understanding of the passage clearly.
  6. Application: Consider how you can apply the Scripture to our present day living. (What does this have to do with me?)
  7. Teaching is learning: You may consider the week’s lesson to be part of your devotion for the entire week. Personalizing the lesson will give more impact to leading your group. You are hitting two birds in one stone.

II. Leading the Study:

  1. Begin with a prayer.
  2. Be creative in starting a Bible Study. The first minute will set the tone of your group’s interest.
  3. Open the group for discussion, but be discerning in entertaining questions.  Be reminded of the following:
    1. Focus on the topic
    2. Maintain confidentiality within the group
    3. Listen attentively, maintain eye-contact and give everyone a chance to talk.
    4. Pray for each other.
  4. Avoid answering the guide questions yourself; instead lead them to the answer.
  5. Do not be uncomfortable in silence. Silence help people think and digest thoughts.
  6. Acknowledge all contributions.
  7. Don’t be afraid of hard questions. If you do not know the answer, tell them honestly that you need to check it out and give a reply the following meeting. Make sure to do your homework. (Common Temptation: Giving an unsure answer)
  8. At the end of the Bible discussion you may want to allow the group members to meditate or challenge them with applications.
  9. Conclude your time together with conversational prayer, praying for your group’s struggles and their families. Pray for them individually. (If group is small, it is encouraged that you pray for them by name.)

This material is adopted from “A Life Guide Bible Study” notes for leaders by Vineyard Books with some additional personal inputs.

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