If you are a believer, then continually and consistently studying the Bible is hopefully a part of your daily life. The Bible is our guide, and our connection to God. And studying together with other believers is an amazing way to grow in your faith!
Why start a Bible Study?
Start with a purpose. Here are some ideas:
- I want to grow with other believers
- I want the consistency of a regular group
- I want to invite unbelievers to learn about the Bible
- I want to grow in a particular area or study a particular book of the Bible
Now that you have a “why,” this should make your “who” more obvious. If you want community, invite neighbors. If you want to evangelize, invite unbelievers. If you want to grow with other believers, coordinate with your church and invite your fellow church members.
Really anytime is fine. I’ve seen bible studies be successful at 6am on a Saturday morning, a weeknight, a weekday, a lunch hour. Look at your schedule and you family’s routines. Pick a time you can commit to consistently.
Also, consider the length of the study. People oftentimes will only commit to about 4-8 weeks. If it’s a 3 month study, they may get scared off by the length of time. Ask your bible study prospects what they’d be interested in and then go from there.
Another factor is the frequency. I would suggest one of two options: weekly or every other week. If it’s more frequent than weekly, people wont be able to commit due to schedules. If it is too infrequent, like only once per month, then there is no momentum and people forget what has happened previously.
I think the sweet spot is a weekly study, for 6 weeks at a time, with a two-week break in between studies. However, take into account the timing of holidays and seasons. For example, no one will start a study the week of Christmas. We have found in our community, summer is not a good season to begin something new either. People are busy with vacations and family time. So be aware of your audience and their schedules.
Well, obviously, you want to study the BIBLE! That’s really all you need. Sometimes we complicate it with published studies, video series, promotions, and so on! You can truly come to the study with ONLY a Bible, and you’ll have plenty to talk about.
You can pick one book of the Bible, and systematically read through it, gleaning as much as you can from each verse along the way. I’d suggest a book rich in theology and practical application to the believer. Some great books of the Bible to study this way are Romans, Corinthians, Ruth, Hebrews. Of course, any and every book of the Bible is valid and worthy of study.
Another option is to use a published study that teaches about a book of the Bible or a topic throughout the Bible. There is no limit to the kind of studies you can find. Stop by your local Christian book store if you want to actually flip through studies. Ask a fellow believer what studies they have enjoyed recently. Google a topic you’re interested in. The beauty is that if your study is Bible-focused, you can’t go wrong. You can always glean some new truth from the Bible. The bible says that the Word of God is “living and active,” which means that it is always relevant to your life.
-Consider location. Often, people enjoy the coziness of meeting in a home. But churches are a great meeting place too. Perhaps your workplace is a good location!
-Consider food. People love snacks, coffee, treats. Sometimes this helps break the ice.
-Consider the dynamics of the group. If possible, it’s always nice to have some strong, seasoned believers mixed in with new believers. Natural mentoring happens this way!
-Consider age and generations. You could always do a group of like-aged people (young adult study, 55+ study, etc), but there is something truly beautiful when people of all ages come together to study the Bible. Be brave in asking people who are not in your age group to join!
-Consider communication. How will you communicate to the group? Will you email? Text? Use social media? It’s always good to gather contact information on the first group meeting, in case of changes to schedule or location.
-Consider homework. Some studies have built in homework, with varying degrees of commitment. If you’re doing a Bible study with a group of college students who already have tons of school work, you probably want to keep the homework to a minimum. If you’re doing a study with a group of retirees, perhaps they have more time to commit. Ask your group and don’t make assumptions!
-Listen to the spirit’s guidance. As a leader, you may get into conversations that you feel unprepared for. You may stumble into controversial topics. Be as prepared as possible, but listen to the nudge from the Spirit. Enter each group prayerfully!
Go for it!
I encourage you to consider starting a study! You can do it. Any person can study the Bible. That is the beauty of the Word of God. It’s accessible to ALL. Push away your doubts and go for it!
I’d love to hear in the comments any studies that you’ve loved, or any other tips you have for those beginning a Bible Study for the first time!
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