How to Start a Group Bible Study
How can I teach others what Jesus says in the Bible?
These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently…and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
In our world today, the gathering of large groups may rapidly become more difficult to do. Yet, the Bible tells us to not forsake gathering together with fellow believers – Hebrews 10:24-25. People in Bible times did gather in small groups, in homes, to study the Word of God and keep encouraging each other to remain faithful to Jesus and His Word. We can do the same.
Choose the Subject
Begin the process by praying for both the people to be invited and the subject to be studied. Choose a book from the New Testament because these are the instructions for our time today. Use a Bible that gives you cross-references, so you can also see your subject's foundations in the Old Testament. Choose a subject that is relevant to what people in your area are facing. For example, if you see hopelessness, then 1 and 2 Thessalonians can provide hope. A search for truth about salvation would be the book of Romans. Philippians, a study of joy amid suffering, is an encouraging study.
Set a Time and Place
Accept that you will not please everyone, so work with those who are most interested. If you have several who cannot meet when you are scheduled, offer to do a second study with them at the time and place their schedule allows.
Stay on Topic
As you begin your study, know that the enemy will try to break your group apart through arguments. Make a pact between all of you that you will pay attention to this attack – both in yourself and also knowing how to defuse such an argument between others. Jesus has the answer for us in Proverbs 15:1 – “A soft answer turns away wrath.” There is a difference between discussion and argument; do not let the arguments destroy your purpose.
To promote discussion about an understanding of verses, use your cross-references to find other scriptures that also speak to the issue. There are no issues we face that we find no help for in the Bible. The Old Testament is full of examples of people’s lives which were either strengthened or destroyed due to any given issue we face today. Trust the constant truth you find in the Bible. A wonderful resource for specific subjects in the Bible is openBible.info.
Encourage Scripture Memorization
Make memorization of specific verses connected to your study an important part of your study. Encourage each person to be prepared to recite the verses at the following meeting, and then again at later meetings. In Psalm 119:11 we read “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” The Bible purifies our lives.
Look for Results
God’s incredible promise for your ministry is found in Isaiah 55:11 – “So shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I send it.” When we faithfully study and teach the Bible, it changes us. Encourage each member of your group to seek understanding from Jesus Himself through personal study and prayer. Jesus does not hide His treasure from those who seek Him and His way – Matthew 11:25.
Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, use me now, in this place and time where You have me living, to teach others around me more about You from Your Word. Teach me so I can pass Your words on to others who are also seeking You.
Do you feel unqualified to lead a Bible study? Ask one of our volunteers to help you begin a study and serve as your mentor and encourager.