Many find that gathering with friends to study the Scriptures is a holy experience, filled with both learning and fellowship. “I rejoice at thy word,” writes the Psalmist (119:162), and what joy it gives as we explore God’s Word more deeply.
Here are some Group Bible Study ideas that may be helpful:
- How many should be involved? Think about starting with a small group, maybe 6 to 8. You might want to find your footing before opening it to people of all denominations in your community. One of the challenges is learning how to really delve into the text and let it teach us, describing what we read in our own language, vs. denominational language that some are used to using. As groups become more proficient at using Biblical language that is free of “denomination speak,” opening up and including others can be a great blessing for all.
- Where do we meet? Either in participants’ homes or at a Reading Room or in a Sunday School, if church members agree.
- How often do we meet? It completely depends on people’s availability. Some groups find that starting with once a month meetings, perhaps 2 hours at a time, is just about right. Others find that is too infrequent and go to a biweekly model. And still others love this study so much that they agree to meet weekly. Whichever you settle on, you may want to start less frequently and scale UP rather than BACK, if modifications need to be made.
- How much of the Bible do we cover at each meeting? Many have found that about a chapter an hour is as fast as they want to go. Moving at a faster clip than that leaves a group unable to plumb the depths of a verse, which is often so rich that it requires really delving in. A number of groups find that two hours, or two chapters per meeting, is just about right.
- How do we best prepare? Again, this depends on your group’s preferences. Some choose to follow a guideline, such as Foundation Stones, which is published by Bible Study Seminars and is available at their website. Foundation Stones provide both background and study questions but do not go consecutively, chapter by chapter. Other groups choose to have a facilitator prepare five or so study questions per chapter, send the questions out ahead of time via email, then come prepared with individual answers. People may find different translations and commentaries helpful in their study, and their monthly or biweekly meetings become a way of sharing. Of course we are relying on prayer to illumine these texts, but the Bible study is often just to help people understand the context and background for each book, which in turn helps us penetrate the spiritual meaning of the verses.
- Where would I find study questions if I don’t have time or interest in writing my own? Check out the shop page on this website to find workbooks for those Bible Study groups that want background and study questions for every chapter. If there is an accompanying audio track, some Bible Study groups will get that and play it ahead of their study to amplify the book being studied.
If you have any questions about how to proceed, please feel free to email us using this form.