Bible Study Methods

Me to a potential small group leader: “Would you like to be a small group leader for ____ group?”

Wonderful and qualified person: “Oh no!  I don’t know anything about the Bible!  What could I possibly offer?”

This is a very common interaction when I am looking for a Sunday school teacher, youth leader, small group leader, etc.  They feel like because they didn’t go  to seminary (which I didn’t either) they are unqualified to lead anything biblical.  This is completely false!  

We are so fortunate to live in a world where experts on any subject are just a google search away.  (Disclaimer: There is a not of worthless junk out there so make sure that you are using solid internet sources.)

The trick to leading a good bible study is not knowing all of the answers, but learning how to lead the group through a solid study.  I have 4 methods below that are easy to follow and very different.

*Hint* Always have the group work out of real Bibles.  This helps learn how to navigate a Bible.  Do not print out the verses for them.  Which passage do you use?  Stick with whatever the reading of the day or look towards the Gospel of the following Sunday.  Whatever your group is meant to get out of it, they will, no matter the passage.

  1. 5 Ws – Read the passage aloud.  Split into partners.  Answer the questions – Who? What? Where? When? Why?  Come back to the group and share
  2. Standout phrase (version of Lectio Devina)- Read the passage aloud.  Answer the question “What word or phrase sticks out to you?” Ask a different voice to read aloud.  Answer the same question.  Repeat a total of 3 times. 
  3. 2 questions with partner – Split into partners.  Have each pair read the verses aloud and come up with 2 questions to bring back to the group.  Assemble back together and make a list of all of the questions.  Decide as a group which 2-3 questions they want to explore. 
  4. Version Compare – Find at least 3 different translations of the Bible. Examples: King James version, the Message, Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version, Youth Bible, Children’s Bible (not picture bible). Ask 3 different people to read the same passage aloud from 3 Bibles.  Discussion the differences
  5. Rose/bud/thorn – Read the passage aloud.  Ask 3 questions:
    1. What was comforting? (Rose)
    2. What was itchy? (Thorn)
    3. What are your going to continue thinking about this week? (Bud)
      Try and stay clear of language such as good, bad, like, dislike.