Have you ever wanted to start a Bible study? Maybe you want it to be an informal group of people from your local church that get together to study an in-depth topic, or maybe you’re wanting to get a community Bible study together at your local library/coffee shop/Chick-Fil-a playground area (so the kids can play). Whatever your reason is, you can hardly go wrong with diving into Scripture with other people.
Benefits of Group Bible Study
The most obvious benefit, of course, is increased attention to God’s Word and practical discussion of its implementation in our everyday life. No argument there. But think of the other benefits that derive from studying Scripture with others:
- Closer Connections With Others. Whether you want to grow with people you know or are looking to form bonds with people in the community, a group Bible study offers a chance to connect with others over some of life’s most important topics.
- Accountability for Your Own Salvation. Sure, Paul says to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” (Philippians 2:12), but we’re also commanded to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and “stir up one another” (Hebrews 10:24). We can do that by studying with others.
- Find opportunities to Serve Others. Part of getting to know others is finding out ways that you can help them in their own life – physical or spiritual. Growth over an open Bible can morph into tears over a cup of coffee.
- Deeper Penetration Into Scripture. Studying on your own is important, but my own personal experience has taught me that I always go deeper when I’m with a group. Why? Because other people bring their own knowledge, insights, and experience to the table, helping me to see God’s Word in a way that I hadn’t previously thought about.
How to Start a Bible Study
The benefits are numerous, but the task of organizing a study can be daunting. Who should you invite? Where will you meet? What will you study? All of these questions are perfectly legitimate, yet shouldn’t stop you from starting a study with others.
Step #1: Pick a Subject
What are you personally interested in? It can be apologetics, book of the Bible, current events (and how we should respond to it as Christians), or a workbook written by someone you trust. Whatever you pick, make sure it’s something you are personally interested in. After all, if you’re not into it, why should anyone else? Ultimately your enthusiasm will start the study and get it trucking to the point where others are engaging too.
Step #2: Ask Around
Start asking around to see who would be interested in studying with you. My advice?Cast a wide net: you may think that only a few people will want to get together, but you’ll probably be surprised as to who responds to your invitation. If one of the goals is to form tighter connections with others, you’ll have to expand your social circle in order to forge those relationships. If you’re feeling really ambitious, consider posting on Facebook or sites like Meetup to find people in the community that might be interested in coming (also doubles as a great evangelism tool).
Step #3: Find a Spot
Some people prefer a coffee house, others head to a fast-food place, whereas some prefer the comfort of their own home. Make sure that it’s some place that’s easily-accessible and doesn’t put too much of a burden on any one person, whether in the form of hosting or driving long distances. Picking a place everyone wants to go to improves the chances that people will show up.
Step #4: Set Goals
How long do you want to take to go through a book? How long should each session take? Will you start with discussion or will someone start with a brief synopsis of the material? Finally, what are you all hoping to get out of it? Have clear, firm objectives for why you meet and refuse to let anyone throw the group off course. The last thing you want is someone that has different objectives for being there, or only wants to use the group as a way to voice their own opinions/pet peeves/hobby horses. Stay on track with the goal at beginning and don’t be afraid to ask people to leave who don’t abide by the group rules.
Step #5: Pray, Pray, Pray
You can’t have a group Bible study without God, period. So whether you pray at the beginning, pray at the end, or pray throughout, make the study a time of prayer with each other. Ask for help understanding and applying the Scripture. Ask for help serving each other and growing together. Thank God for the opportunity you have to even study the Word openly. Keep Him front and center, and no matter what happens, your study will be a success.Last modified: January 21, 2020