“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.”
Leading a Bible study can be harder than it sounds and sometimes pretty intimidating. The goal here is to give a basic approach to leading others through a passage of Scripture in a way that is fruitful for all involved. It isn’t a guide on how to write a sermon, prepare a lecture, or even teach a class. All of those things are a little different from this. Here are some principles and steps you can take as you prepare a Bible Study.
Know the Text
In order to be effective you need to know the text as well as possible given the tools and skills you have access to. You don’t have to be a Greek or Hebrew scholar, have many commentaries, or be an expert on the Bible. You also don’t have to have the answer to every question. I have been a pastor for 25+ years (I started at 10 years old) and I still get asked questions I don’t have answers to…it’s okay not to know. Nevertheless, as the leader you should know the text as well as you can given your resources. Here are the basics:
Try to derive the main principle found in the passage
This is probably the most difficult part of the process, but these questions might help figure it out.
These are great questions to ask in a Bible study or small group context.
Do not skip to application before going through the previous two steps. Only once a principle is discovered can we ask the question of application. Once a principle is revealed determine how that principle can be applied in various context. This isn’t something the leader has to have figured out, this is a great time to invite interaction. Stat the principle discovered and ask how it might be applied in different circumstances. Think about how it might apply to you ahead of time.
Sometimes you will learn as you lead the group through this process. You may arrive at a principle you missed. As long as the group stays focused on the text, roll with it. Flexibility doesn’t mean letting the study leave the text all together, but there may be insights and observations that appear during the discussion that provide a principle or application that you didn’t see…that’s okay.
This is just a basic start, but if you are just beginning or if you want a basic outline to approach a Bible study, this will suffice for those purposes. Everyone should learn to lead a Bible study, and, in fact, they should do it as often as they have opportunity.
2 Tim. 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.