How To Do A Bible Study With Friends?
Six Tips for Reading the Bible with a Friend One of the most effective ways to reach friends with the truth of the Gospel is to read and talk about the Bible with them. Doing so allows them to discover truth for themselves. And after all, “. the word of God is alive and active.
- Set the atmosphere. Choose a comfortable, normal meeting place, like a home or an office. Songs, prayers, and religious language don’t fit here. If you decide to meet in a home, rotate between homes.
- Small is beautiful. Participants can number from two to 12 at the most. If it gets bigger than that, true discussion becomes difficult.
- Timing. Don’t be late and don’t go over time. Stop talking before people stop listening. The schedule should be predictable so that people can plan accordingly.
- Stick with the Bible even if people are unfamiliar with it. Explain that there are two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Explain that the big numbers are chapters and the little numbers are verses. Don’t assume that people have any prior knowledge of it.
- Subject Matter. There are several good options as starting points, such as the meaning of work, child rearing, or whatever constitutes an open nerve for your friends. But all roads eventually lead to the single question: Who was Jesus? Help people get a fresh look at Him. When they do, they will embrace Him.
- Prepare for a session with questions that help probe the text. Keep sessions interactive. Encourage people to read ahead, but don’t expect much preparation on their part. Create an environment in which questions can flourish. Everyone will be wondering, “Is it safe to ask my real questions around here?” Make sure it is.
You may for your own use or to share with your small group. Adapted from Reading the Bible with Friends Who Don’t Believe It. If you would like to read this booklet, you can purchase it by emailing Nav20s (The Navigators 20s Ministry) at
: Six Tips for Reading the Bible with a Friend
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- 1 Are there any Bible games?
- 2 How often should a Bible study group meet?
- 3 What is the ideal number for a small group Bible study?
- 4 How is a Bible study different from a small group?
How do you make a Bible study group fun?
5. Physical Learners – The physical learners in your group don’t always like to sit still! Physical movement engages their brains. Use hands-on activities. Let them role-play. When asking a question that calls for an agree/disagree response, place the words on different walls.
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How many people should be in a Bible study group?
5 Key Numbers Affecting Your Bible Study Groupand you Never Knew I’ve led the discipleship/groups ministries at three churches (so far!). As God allowed me to serve these churches, I discovered there are unseen forces at work in Bible study groups. If you are a group leader, there are at least 5 key numbers affecting your Bible study group.
- Did you know? The number 1,
- Is your group attendance plateaued? Are you in decline? The number 1 may be part of your challenge.
- The number 1 represents a key aspect of group life: your group needs 1 prospect for every active group member,
- If your group has 12 active members, you need a list of at least 12 people who are potential new members for your group.
A relationship must be cultivated with these adults, which means that every time your group does something fun, the people on your prospect list should be invited to spend time with your group. As your group serves together beyond the church campus, invite your prospects to join you.
Group members should regularly invite their friends, family, and neighbors to your group’s Bible study time. Groups don’t grow because they don’t have a group of people they are cultivating for membership in the group. Here’s a simple exercise to help your group discover prospects: ask each group member to write down the name of 5 people they know who do not attend church, but are the right age to attend your group.
If you have a group of 12 people, you would discover 60 new prospects in no more than 5 minutes! The number 18, Most ongoing groups tend to turn inward when they’ve been together more than 18 months – that’s what the number 18 reminds us. Former Lifeway Director of Sunday School, David Francis, was known for saying, “The natural inertia of any group is to turn inward.” He’s right.
- I’ve seen it in the Bible study groups I’ve led.
- If your Bible study group has been together more than a year-and-a-half, ask yourself how many guests your group continues to see.
- Not as many as at the start? That’s fairly typical, and that means group leaders must remain especially vigilant in keeping the group focused outwardly, welcoming guests warmly and assimilating them into the life of the group.
The number 15, This number represents the square feet per person that is needed in adult groups. People need personal space, and the place they meet needs enough spread-out room to make them comfortable. If your group is in a cramped space, people will stop attending, and possibly choose another group that has more room.
Let’s say the place your group meets has 300 square feet of space. Divide 300 by 15 sq. ft. per person, and you’ll see that the room could hold a max of 20 people. But keep reading, because that’s when the number 80 comes into play! The number 80, When a meeting space is at 80% of its capacity, it’s full.
There may be some empty seats, but visually the room looks like it is full, and that discourages people from continuing to attend. If people cannot sit where they want, and others are forced to sit on the front row, they’ll think twice before coming back.
How do you know if your meeting space is at 80% capacity? Do the exercise above and determine the maximum number of people the room should hold, and multiply that by 80%. A room with a capacity of 20 people will tend to max out attendance when 16 people regularly attend the group’s Bible study. Can a group push past 80% capacity? The answer is yesin the short-term.
When groups run close to 100% capacity, they almost always drop below the 80% threshold as time passes. The solution? Start a new group! The number 12, The number 12 is the optimal size for a Bible study group. You may be part of a much larger group, but those are not ideal for making disciples.
Yes, you can teach the Bible to a larger group, but discipleship requires proximity. Jesus poured his life into 12 men, and even went a step further with his inner circle of three (Peter, James, and John). In the book Countdown by David Francis and Rick Howerton, one a Sunday School expert and the other a small-group expert, agreed that 12 people per group was the ideal size (not just them, but other experts were surveyed, too).
There was a caveat, though. They said that the ideal size was 12, plus or minus 4. A group is optimally positioned to make disciples when it has a minimum of 8 people, and a max of 16. Pay attention to these key numbers, because they are in play at all times! If your group is too large, start another one.
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Are there any Bible games?
6. Bible Bingo – What kid doesn’t love Bingo? Instead of B-I-N-G-O, how about the B-I-B-L-E? This game is played exactly like regular bingo, but you are spelling out BIBLE instead. It comes with cards and chips. Kids of all ages can play this easy-to-understand game. It is perfect for your family or your Sunday school class.
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How often should a Bible study group meet?
Be consistent and plan ahead – The next step of this Bible study guide is to set up a consistent time to meet that works for your group. It could be once a week or once a month, it’s really up to you! Ideally, you won’t want too much time in between sessions so you can keep up the momentum built as a study group.
But, once again, it depends on the people in your Bible study. Talk through consistent times and a place (or places) to meet. The key here is that whatever you choose, each member should be as consistent as possible in attending. But that doesn’t mean that you or others won’t miss a session from time to time.
That’s okay! It happens. What you can do, though, is agree on a plan for those who can’t attend. They could still go through the readings on their own so that they will be caught up next time. And those in attendance could share highlights and prayer requests to those who missed the session.
Next, as a group, you’ll want to define the purpose of your Bible study. This is important to communicate ahead of time, so everyone knows what they are committing to. If everyone starts on the same page, there is less chance of members dropping out of a Bible study because it’s not what they thought it was going to be.
So, what could these goals look like? There are many options to choose from! Your group could read through the Gospels to examine the life of Jesus and his commands, you could learn from a book of wisdom like Proverbs or Psalms, discuss one of Paul’s letters or read about the history of the early Church, or even focus on a topic or spiritual discipline found in the Bible.
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What are good questions for small group Bible study?
» Did you learn anything new or see something in a different light through your study today/this week? » What does this passage reveal about the character of God? » What biblical truths were re- vealed and how might these look in action today? In your own life?
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What is the ideal number for a small group Bible study?
The Ideal Small Group Size In, I mentioned some numerical goals for group leaders to adopt within the context of inviting new people out to their group. Today, I want to provide more explanation to the reasoning behind some of those numerical goals. The reasoning is based on the mission and functionality of a small group.
- The mission of a small group is to grow in relationship, discipleship and leadership.
- Let’s break each of these down quickly.
- Relationships can grow more effectively in a small group setting, compared to a large service, because a person has the capacity to know everyone and be known by everyone in the group which creates a deep and significant level of connection.
Discipleship is then increased because each believer’s personal needs can be addressed and accountability is fostered organically. Leadership develops from new people expanding their commitment to the great commission (Matt.28:18-20) by extending their gifts and abilities to those in the small group, resulting in the eventual formation of new groups.
- With the above stated mission, the ideal size of a small group is 6-15 people.
- When a new small group is being launched, I set a goal with the new leader to start their first group meeting with at least 6 people in attendance.
- Why? If you have less than 6 people in attendance, a person who is introverted socially will be less likely to return a 2nd time because they will feel overwhelmed by the pressure to shoulder the bulk of the interaction and dialogue.
Groups that start out with 2-5 people in attendance run the risk of dying out quickly with no one showing up by the 3rd or 4th meeting. I have unfortunately seen this happen as a small groups pastor in my church. If you have at least 6 people there, a person can still contribute to the group discussion while being able to spend a good portion of the time observing and doing some introspection.
They will also be more likely to feel enthusiastic about returning to the group next time it meets. This dynamic gives the group good odds for momentum in their first 2-3 meetings. This initial period of consistency gives the group and it’s leader time to continue inviting people over the course of several weeks until there is a solid 8-12 people attending.
If you regularly have more than 15 people in your small group I have a news flash for you: You don’t have a small group, you have a church. Let me quickly point out, this is always a great problem to have versus not having enough people. At the same time though, you will inevitably have a handful of people that don’t feel as connected as others do in the group.
New guests will take longer to get assimilated and will potentially get lost in the “crowd,”-oops I mean small group. It will be harder to appoint new assistant leaders because they will be intimidated by their own perception of being responsible for a group your size in comparison to their lack of leadership experience.
The intimate dynamics of group life begin to diminish if the small group doesn’t reform and multiply into new groups soon. On a side note, I think it’s important to remind you that you don’t need 15-20 people attending your group before multiplying. All you need is a trained leader who has proven themselves as an assistant leader and is ready to put their shoulder to the plow (Matt.9:37-38).
In conclusion, if you’re starting up a new group this Fall, how many people have presently committed to attending your first meeting? If it’s less than 6 you’ll want to ramp up your personal invites. If it’s more than 15, it’s time to appoint 1-4 assistant leaders who desire to start their own group in the next 3-6 months.
God bless! Andrew Mason is the Executive Leader of the International Church of Las Vegas. He is Founder of SmallGroupChurches.com, an influential small group community, linking pastors and leaders to like-minded resources, events and organizations. He has also co-authored and published 7 different video-driven groups series and participant guides.
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How is a Bible study different from a small group?
Information vs. Transformation – A Bible study focuses on information, while a discipleship micro-group focuses on transformation. When you think of a traditional Bible study, you think of a teacher walking a group of people through a specific study to inform and equip those taking the study for a specific task or purpose.
For example, a study on the Armor of God specifically addresses how to arm ourselves as Christians for spiritual warfare. Most of the discussion is going to revolve around this topic alone, and a good Bible study teacher or leader will divert any off-topic discussion back to the topic at hand to reach the lesson objective.
While a Bible study can be interactive, often there is a “sit still while I instill” mentality surrounding it. A discipleship micro-group is all about transformation, how are we going to become more like Christ, the One that we are following. The questions that are being asked and the focus is on how we can take the principles and concepts we study and put them into practice and apply them to our daily lives.
- Each week the tough questions of “What did you do with the information that we discussed?” “How are you doing?”, and “Where are you struggling?” are asked.
- While a Bible study can be an important part of a discipleship micro-group, it is only a part of the overall objective of transformation.
- Most Bible studies are written with a specific time constraint built into them.
Some Bible studies can be 6, 9, or even 12 weeks long. However, a discipleship micro-group is not bound by the same time constraints. The commitment to this type of group is greater than that of a just a Bible study or class. Becoming a fully developing follower of Jesus is a lifelong process.
We will not fully “arrive” as a disciple until we are with Jesus in Heaven. It takes a lot of work and effort to keep our relationship with Jesus vibrant and growing, and we need help and accountability along the way, more help and accountability than we can get in just a 6-week Bible study. That’s where a discipleship micro-group comes in.
This type of group is committed to sticking with one another for an indefinite period of time in order to sharpen and strengthen each other, to celebrate when things are going great, and to mourn and weep when things are falling apart. A discipleship micro-group can do multiple Bible studies over the course of their time together, learning and growing through life’s ups and downs.
This doesn’t mean that people won’t come and go from a discipleship micro-group. That is a natural part of the process as people change and go through different seasons of life. People may even leave one group to start their own. But a longer commitment is there to stick with each other for as long as God allows and directs.
When I think of a Bible study class, the traditional, formal classroom comes to mind. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a place for that in today’s culture. Now more than ever the people of God need to be informed and strong in their faith so that they can stand against the lies and attacks from Satan.
Our culture needs strong voices of truth to stand for the Gospel. There is a place for discipleship classes and Bible studies in the church. But intimacy and close connection with other believers is just as necessary. We need each other. We were created for close community and intimacy with others, and discipleship micro-groups provide that type of environment and experience.
When you have 3-4 men or women in your life that you can count on no matter what, people who will pray for you and support you in time of need, you can face just about anything. There is power in community. Ecclesiastes 4:12 emphasizes just how powerful connection among believers is when it states that “a three-fold cord is not easily broken.” A discipleship micro-group provides this strength in believers’ lives and allows for individual names and needs to be known and met.
Institutions are important, but organic is essential. As a classroom teacher, I learned early on that my educational objective had to be met to provide my students with the essential information and knowledge they needed to pass the coming test. My objectives were the priority. I did not have the freedom and flexibility to walk into my classroom and proceed in an organic way letting my students decide what they needed for that hour or class period.
The organic relationship was left to after class, on the playground, or before or after school. A Bible study or class can fall into this same trap of objective over organic. A discipleship micro-group provides a more organic environment for relationships to grow and flourish.
It allows for space and time for the participants to speak freely and express what is on their mind and hearts. Often when there is a serious need or issue with someone in the group, Bible study may become secondary to the spiritual help and care that needs to be given to someone at that moment. Life is difficult and messy.
A discipleship micro-group allows for an environment of safety and healing for those within the group. Teaching or attending a Bible study is an important part of our spiritual growth, and it is one part of the discipleship process. Imparting Biblical knowledge is necessary in a time and culture where truth is eroding.
However, true discipleship happens in a small group of committed followers of Jesus Christ who are on the same journey of becoming more like Christ over the course of their life. Jesus had his group of men that He poured into and that He loved and trusted. We need our group of men and women that we can pour into, love and trust.
While they are distinctly different in scope and purpose, Bible studies and discipleship micro-groups are both a part of the discipleship process.
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Why study Bible in small groups?
Most of us will already be convinced that studying the Bible on your own is foundational to the Christian life. But how important is it to do it together? If starting or joining a small group Bible study sounds like an unnecessary commitment to you, here’s six benefits you may wish to consider: 1.
- It follows Jesus’ example As believers, we seek to follow Jesus’ example in all things.
- Although Jesus preached often to large crowds, he chose to empower and prepare his followers for ministry in a small group setting.
- The early church continued with this discipleship model; Acts 2:42 tells us that first generation believers met in homes and “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship.” 2.
It directs us in wisdom The Bible is a roadmap for life! It contains ‘everything we need for life and godliness’ (2 Peter 1:3). Yet just as sometimes we need someone to help us read a map, we benefit from others’ experience of digging deep in God’s Word.
They will have found gems of wisdom that we have not yet discovered. We can offer insights that they have not yet learned. This is the beauty of journeying through the Bible together.3. It creates meaningful connections Humans were not designed to be alone. We were made to be dependent on God first, but also on one another.
In an increasingly virtual world – where social media interactions can often be superficial and increase feelings of isolation – small group Bible study offers a powerful means of forging deep and life-giving connections with other believers.4. It provides necessary encouragement The group study context also provides a safe space for members to share their struggles.
Witnessing the faith of another believer encourages us to keep going when things get tough (Romans 1:12); gives us the opportunity to comfort those in trouble ‘with the comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Cor 1:4); and enriches us as we hear how God has strengthened, guided and directed others throughout their lives.5.
It keeps us accountable Small groups offer the optimal environment for meaningful belief and behaviour change. Every believer requires others to help them understand biblical truth and how to apply it. All of us need our knowledge sharpened, blind spots in our thinking corrected, and resistance to changes in our behaviour challenged.
We mature much more quickly in our faith when we can ask one another questions like, ‘What steps are you taking to change that?’ and, ‘How did that go for you this week?’ Accountability leads to more fruitful application of truth.6. It transforms our families, workplaces and communities We read, He speaks, we are transformed.
When we study the Bible together, God promises to reveal Himself, to teach us how to obey Him, and to show us how to love one another. When we are changed to become more like Jesus, our family, workplaces and communities will be eternally impacted. Group Bible study is transformational!
It follows Jesus’ exampleIt directs us in wisdomIt creates meaningful connectionsIt provides necessary encouragementIt keeps us accountableIt transforms our families, workplaces and communities
Can you think of some people you could invite to experience this transformation with you? The WordGo app provides a free and simple way to run a group Bible study with your friends – online, in-person, or a combination of both. Just open it up and follow the steps.
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