What I Have Learned From Leading a Bible Study
This Friday, our girls’ Bible study will start up again. This is the second time that I am leading a Bible study. I still have a lot to learn, a lot to grow in, many ways to challenge myself. In all honesty, this is a (very) small group of girls. Yet I treasure these times. I grow so much during these times, even though I am a more mature believer in our group. This time we are studying through the book of Philippians, and I am sure there will be many questions. I don’t know if I will have answers. But I do know that in the previous times, God has equipped me with the right words and wisdom.
Maybe you have found yourself in the same position as I did in the spring. You are starting a new Bible study, leading the study through a book you maybe haven’t even studied through yourself before. So what do you need to know? What should you prepare yourself for?
Know why you are leading a Bible study
Honestly? Just wanting to lead a Bible study is not enough. Thinking that you have a lot to teach to others is not the best reason either.
I have been praying for what the Lord has for the girls and for me in this Bible study this fall. I keep thinking about these words from Oswald Chambers: “God does not make us holy in the sense of character; He makes us holy in the sense of innocence, and we have to turn that innocence into holy character by a series of moral choices.”
We study God’s Word because we need the Truth in our lives. We need to know what is good and right. But knowledge is not enough. We have to make the choice to apply these things into our lives constantly. We have to be intentional about the choices we make, and that they are right and good ones. It will not be easy. We will fail. You will fail. And that’s okay. What I forget sometimes, is that the fields of my heart are like walking on a holy ground. This is a heart molded and formed by God, the Almighty, All-Powerful God. Every choice, from the least of them, makes up more than what we can in that moment imagine.
We should do a heart check before we start leading a Bible study. We also need to do a heart check before every meeting. How is your heart today? What is your attitude towards God, towards His Word, towards the people in your study?
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
Make sure that you step up to this position because God has put the calling on your heart. Not because someone else suggests that you should lead a study. Not because you think you can do it. A good Bible study gets its beginning always from God.
Put effort into building a sense of community within the group
Ice breakers are often needed for this, to get to the point where everyone is willing to share about their lives and their hearts. I found it good to take a time for introductions within the group. There were easy questions and difficult ones. I asked about likes, preferences, hardships, struggles, and joys.
Be ready to be the first one to share. Let it be a natural conversation. So yes, think about questions you want to ask. But do not think what you will answer yourself. Let it come in the moment, just like it does for the rest of your group.
Be ready to welcome questions
This spring and over the summer, we studied through the book of Ruth. Understandably, there were questions about relationships, dating, and marriage. (Even ones I challenged the girls to think about.) There were nights when we went through the chapter we had been studying for that time very quickly, yet there were many questions relating to topics we had discussed about. Important questions; ones that had been taking up space in the corner of someone’s mind. Thankfully, God guided me to the right Scriptures to give some answers to these questions. But they would not happen if there was no space for questions.
Along the same lines, be ready to welcome conversation on topics outside the topics of the day’s Bible study. Yes, allow them. But also be sure to be quick to confess when you don’t know the answer to something. You can always answer questions the next time you meet.
Be ready to be flexible with your schedule
It is easy to think that you can schedule a Bible study every week or every two weeks at the same time. But this will not happen. Something will come up, more often than not. (Once there was a terrorist attack in our city and so we had to move the meeting to the next week!) So be flexible with your time — from changing the Bible study times to communicating back and forth with your people. It is not always easy or nice, I know. But that’s life.
These are a few things I have learned about leading a Bible study. Have you ever led a Bible study? What did you learn? Let me know in the comments below!