If I teach anything in a Bible study now, it is about how to study. What one would call this is facilitating.
Typically, the group has not studied the text prior to the meeting. Before we jump into the method though, what are the benefits?
A positive of this format is that there is little to no pressure for group participants to pick up a new study. This is not necessarily because they do not want to or are not studying during the week. They may have other teaching or studying responsibilities. Therefore, they do not have as much time for intense study, or live a life too busy to complete anything outside of devotions and prayer.
A second advantage in this format is that the study seems much more organic. Another way of saying it is that the study seems less rehearsed and provides a more natural feel. Along this same line, new group members do not feel on the outside if they come in late.
One drawback is the study will take longer to complete. This is due to needing on the spot processing time, reading the text for those who have not read it during the week, and possibly being unable to move through the complete method for the agreed upon text in one week. The question remains though, “What does it look like in this format to study in a group?”
What follows is a suggested schedule for a one-and-a-half-hour meeting, that may need adjusting due to time constraints.
Fifteen minutes to meet and catch up informally
Five Minutes on an Ice Breaker Question
Ten Minutes to Pray and Read the Text
Forty-Five Minutes to Answer the Method Questions
Fifteen Minutes for Conversational Prayer
I recommend reading a gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and use a series of questions. These questions address the Plot, Position, Patterns, Parallels, Problem, and Profit Headings. If inquiries come up prior to the Problem heading, then it is suggested to record the query and discuss it later. This prevents the study from stalling on difficult problems or getting off topic. Encourage questions but address them at the appropriate time.
The questions to ask are as follows:
What was the problem or point in this passage?
How was the problem resolved or how does the main point end?
Who resolved the problem?
What happened in the story before and after this?
What are the repeated words or ideas in this story?
Does the Bible talk about these ideas anywhere else?
Do you have any unanswered questions?
How does the main theme or point impact your life?
What is God calling to your heart about?
These questions could easily fill a well moderated hour of discussion. The facilitator will need to kindly guide the process and keep the group on track. I find that everyone always appreciates a good moderator!
Please share your positive and encouraging thoughts below on group Bible study?
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