How to Prepare Small Group Bible Studies
There are certain guidelines that each of us should follow relative to the Word of God. If you will follow these guidelines, blessing will come to your heart and life. Prescription medicines, as well as any over-the-counter medicines or supplements, come with directions for their use. Even a small gadget that you buy at the dollar store may have directions for its proper and safe operation. If that is true of the things of this world, certainly the all-important Word of God should have a few directions and instructions on the study of it.
Study Bible Passages Thoroughly
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. – Psalm 119:18Here are seven very simple, yet basic, preliminary steps that will be a guide for the study of the Word of God:
- Begin with prayer
- Read the Bible
- Study the Bible
- Meditate on the Bible
- Read what others have written on the Bible
- Obey the Bible
- Pass it on to others
Those items are fairly straightforward and intuitive, so I will not expound on them further. But to learn more about each of the above items, I suggest you download and read “Guidelines for the Understanding of the Scriptures” by Dr. J. Vernon McGee.
Prepare a Lesson Plan and Handouts
The Bible – know it in your head; stow it in your heart; show it in your life; sow it in the world.Once you have thoroughly learned the Scriptures to be covered in your Bible Study, you are ready to prepare the lesson plan. It is helpful to put this in the form of a handout (if not already provided with the materials you are using) so that group members can easily follow the lesson and take notes. Handouts are also helpful to provide to those who were unable to attend the study and to invite potential new members.
- Preparation is the most important part of leading Bible study group.
- There is nothing more painful than to see under prepared Bible study leader. I am amazed to see that people spend so much time on assignments for a presentation at school or in the workplace, yet when it comes to leading a Bible Study, they are so under-prepared!
- Prepare well, spend lot of time in the Word of God and in prayer.
- Don’t think that since it is a discussion, you don’t have to prepare. A well-led discussion group can require more work than “Preaching”. When you are “Teaching”, you need to be prepared to answer questions from the group about the material and its application to their lives.
- Write down your thoughts, ideas, notes, questions, answers… it will help you stay on track; you will lose your hearers if you start rambling. Writing notes will also be helpful in future Bible studies.
- Jot down key questions to ask. Don’t just ask, “What do you think about this verse?” Form a question from that verse. Questions turn lectures into meaningful discussions relevant to the group.
- If you use study guides for preparation, use it as a guide only! You don’t have to exactly follow them, and certainly don’t read a study guide to the group. After all, they are just guidelines!
- Take advantage of Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and other references, but use your own insight as well (but that requires diligent preparation). In a sense, you are making your own commentary, which will be more up to date and meaningful to your group that something written by strangers. After all, you have much more common with your study group than the author of the commentaries you may have read. So glean truths from the Scripture and reference materials, then make them relevant to the circumstances and needs of your Bible study members.
- Guidelines to the Study of the Bible