When leading a bible study (at church, or a house group, or with youth) the majority of the work should be done before hand. A good bible study will need a fair amount of prep work to make sure you understand the passage you will be looking at and are ready to help the group dig into it too.
When preparing your notes it good to have a list of questions you can ask, rather than a whole load of notes. Also you shouldn't need to write your own answers to these questions as the answers should be easy to find from the passage. It can sometimes be a good idea to jot down useful bible verses for the questions so that you can point people in the right direction if they're stuck.
When it comes to the day of the bible study here is a running order that works well.
- You may have done hours of prep but without God's Spirit to help us to understand His word it will all be pointless so either pray yourself or ask someone else in the study to pray before you kick off.
- This is a great opportunity to get people engaged in the study. You can ask if anyone would like to read or if it is a long passage even go around the group a read a paragraph each.
- However, remember that some people may not be comfortable with reading aloud.
- When possible it's a great idea to have an opening question or discussion point. This will help to get people engaged even more and if chosen correctly can set up the main point of the passage that you will be covering in a bit.
- Start of with observation-style questions, where the answers can be found directly in the passage. This will help to ease people in and get a bit of discussion.
- Then you can move on to more complicated understanding-style questions (aka why questions).
- It can sometimes to helpful to split into smaller groups or pairs if a question needs more than one head to tackle it or if you would like to encourage quieter members of the group to get involved in a less intimidating setting.
- This can be the hardest part of the bible study. The application of your study will depend a lot on the type of group you are doing the study with.
- You should aim to come away with one or two points of action that the group can think about.
- Remember that members of the group may have application points that you haven't even thought of so in the right context it can be great to ask what other people took from the passage.
- It is great if after a study you can 'pray in' some of the main points from the passage aloud in the group.
- Praying aloud is a great way to encourage each other. However, if some members of the group are not comfortable with this you should let them know that silent prayers are heard by God all the same.
- One method that works if to thanks God for something that you learnt from the passage and then pray for one personal point as well. This can work well if the group is comfortable with praying for each other.
And there you have it. Hopefully now you feel ready to go away and start planning you bible study. I hope that those six points will help you to lead a successful bible study in whichever setting you find yourself. Don't forget to pray, as you prepare, before and after the study and that the group would be applying the truth of the passage to their lives throughout the following week. How about sending a text round a few days after to remind people of the good news they learnt in the study.
I hope that helped. Trust God always.