Starting a Bible study group can be intimidating. If you’re considering starting a small group Bible study, you probably have many questions swirling around in your head, like: What Bible study or Bible passage should I choose? Whom should I invite to participate? Can I even lead a Bible study? What preparations need to take place? Does my pastor need to know? Let’s tackle these questions one at a time to give you confidence in what God has called you to do!
What Bible study or Bible passage should I choose?
There are so many options for Bible studies these days. We know; we publish many of them! The Bible has 66 books, many of which could be studied in sections. Then there are Bible studies that are topical, some are verse-by-verse, some are on a specific book in the Bible, some are on a shorter passage. The options are pretty much unlimited. We have many posts on this blog about choosing your next Bible study and more on which studies we’re recommending for different seasons or topics.
Ask your group what they would like to study or know about in Scripture. A theme or specific book or passage may emerge as something everyone would like to study. Perhaps your group can only meet for a certain number of sessions, so you could look for studies based on the amount of weeks. Maybe you love the way a specific author writes, so you could see if she or he has any new studies available.
Most importantly, pray about what study or passage you should be in for the next several weeks. Ask for God’s guidance in choosing a book of the Bible or a topic He would have you study at this time in your life.
Whom should I invite to participate in the study?
You might open the Bible study up to everyone in your church, women only, or just a small group. Again, we always recommend prayer as a guide for this decision. Maybe in this season, it would be easier for you to get with two or three moms and study together while your kids play. Or you might get together with coworkers over a lunch break. Or maybe you could invite your neighbors to attend a Bible study at your house. Bible study doesn’t always have to happen with just your church friends! You may be surprised who would love to learn more about God’s Word.
Can I even lead a Bible study?
Yes! You don’t have to have a seminary degree or have been in church your whole life or read every page of your Bible to lead a Bible study. You can do it! In all of the Lifeway Bible studies, we provide leader helps just for you. Many of our studies also feature video teaching, so you don’t have to be intimidated by the factor of teaching the study each week. You can certainly teach as much as you’d like, but we want to make our Bible studies doable!
Even if you don’t choose a set curriculum, there is so much to be gained by just reading the Bible with friends each week. You can ask everyone to jot down questions they have as they read the Word and discuss them as a group next time you meet. Many tools for study are available online—we list some here—if you’d like to dive into commentaries and word studies. You can also download a free online library at MyWSB.com with commentaries and study tools.
The Word of God is living and active and the Bible promises it won’t return void. This means that any time you are reading it as a believer, you are growing in Christlikeness.
What preparations need to take place before I start the Bible study?
As the leader of the group, you’ll want to prepare for your Bible study meeting before you get together. But this doesn’t mean that you have to crack open ancient commentaries and read the entire Bible before your meeting! You’ll want to read over the coming week’s personal study or passage and watch the video (if there is one). This helps you to anticipate some of the questions your group may have, as well as know which questions you may want to discuss as a group after the video. Our Bible study books often come with discussion questions, but no one knows your group like you do. Some of them may work, whereas others might not be the best fit for your group and their needs. Feel free to scrap some or all of our suggestions and ask what your group will want to discuss!
Many group leaders find it helpful to go through the entire study ahead of leading their group. One way to do this easily is through our Online Bible Studies. We provide the videos free of charge for a limited time, so it’s a great opportunity for you to work ahead or check out the study before leading it. You can find out more information on those studies here.
Does my pastor need to know I’m leading a Bible study?
Yes! Even if you are leading a Bible study outside your church (in your neighborhood, with others at your school, at work, etc.), let your pastor or ministry leader know what you’re doing. We recommend this for a few reasons. First, your pastor can pray with you. They would love to know the ministry that’s happening through your study and pray that it will be fruitful. They will also pray for you as a leader, that you will have wisdom and compassion as you lead.
Second, they may be able to provide you with resources. Most pastors have a pretty decent library of commentaries and other helpful books they’d lend you! Depending on your church and how they do small groups, they may be able to provide you with a place to have your Bible study, and may even provide childcare and books for attendees. Let them know what you’re thinking of doing, so they have an opportunity to help meet tangible needs in your group.
Letting your pastor know you’re leading a Bible study also helps when you get questions you can’t answer or have issues and needs arise that you are not equipped to solve on your own. If your pastor is already aware of your Bible study, it makes it easier to reach out when someone in your group has a theological question you’d like help in answering or someone needs a counselor or financial help in your group. Pastors and ministry leaders would love to be a part of your group in this way!
You can do it!
This isn’t a question, but we wanted to reiterate that you can lead a Bible study! We are so thankful for all those who lead others in reading and studying God’s Word. Thank you for what you do!
Do you have any other questions about leading a small group Bible study? Let us know in the comments; we’d love to help!