Tip #1 -- Expect People to
Learn How to Study the Bible
for Themselves

Could you expect the people in your Christian small group or Sunday School class to learn how to study the Bible for themselves? How would this change your study?
photo courtesy of walknboston number one

Consider a new format for your discipleship Bible study

Most Bible studies have a familiar format: One person prepares a lesson. Others attend and listen to the lesson.

Here is a more effective way to develop people: Ask everyone to read the Bible text before the class. This approach cultivates the expectation that preparation is everyone's responsibility. Many times people don't study the text before the class because they have never been expected to.

Openly discuss the benefits of every member knowing how to study the Bible

Discuss the benefits of everyone studying the text before every class.


The Holy Spirit can teach each person the lesson that He wants for them.

People learn and remember better when they can actively participate in the lesson, not just listen.

More people feel qualified to be leaders or mentors if the whole task of "teaching" is not on them.

Ask for "buy-in." Help your class members understand the importance of cultivating personal Bible study.

Copy and distribute the following to your class members:

Divine Truth comes from heaven. It comes from the Spirit of God through the Word of God. The Bible is unlike all other books. It is inspired by God (II Timothy 3:16). That puts it in a category by itself.

A.W.Tozer writes, "The knowledge of God is by the direct impression of the spirit of God upon the spirit of man." This direct impression begins when we read the Word of God. Just as God once spoke directly to Moses from within the burning bush (Exodus 3:4), God continues to speak directly to us from within the Bible. We should approach the Bible as a Voice from heaven, not a user's manual. It's not a book that was once written -- it's a Voice that is speaking here and now. We hear God's voice when we read the Bible with our spirit not just our intellect.

Observation and applications questions for the scriptures

As you learn to how to study the Bible for yourself, here's some guidance. The following questions will help you know what to look for. Write your answers to these questions regarding a certain passage of scripture: (Note: not every question will apply to every scripture passage)

In this Bible passage. . .

  1. what truth about God (who He is and what He does) is revealed?
  2. what teaching about salvation by grace, through Jesus do you find?
  3. what blessings, rewards, and promises do you see?
  4. what warnings are in this passage?
  5. what words of comfort, confidence and hope are there?
  6. what temptations should you resist?
  7. what sins should you stop, avoid or confess?
  8. what steps of obedience are commanded?
  9. what attitudes and actions toward God and others are emphasized?
  10. what key people, times and places do you notice?
  11. what ideas do you not understand?
  12. what do I need to pray for?
  13. what do you sense God is telling you to do?

Be ready to share your answers at our next class or meeting.

Remember: Jesus died for us, but will not read for us.

Christian Bible study group time

When each member of the study has read the text before class, be sure to allow time for members to share some of the answers to the above questions. You can also ask, "What part of this passage was most meaningful to you?" This approach doesn't mean that the leader can't prepare a lesson, but it does mean that the members of the class are actively involved in learning throughout the week and in sharing what God has taught them in the class time.

Need a Bible study for seekers and new believers?

How about a more in-depth study to ground believers in Christian fundamentals?

An inspirational devotion emphasizing the need for a daily Bible study time.

How did this tip work for you? We're eager to hear from you.

Author: Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com

For any reuse or distribution of Expect People to Learn How to Study the Bible or any other of our free Bible study materials author credit and web address is required.

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