Preparing to Lead a Bible Study

Study and apply passage for oneself ten times more than you expect of the group you will be leading.

Example:  1. Study the passage for a month before using it.  Memorize the passage in the first week. Do an AEIOU Bible study on each verse of passage you are studying.

How to use AEIOU:

“A” means to “ask questions” of the passage..Who, what, where, why, how?

“E” means to say aloud each word of the verse for emphasis of that word in the verse.

 “I” means think about the passage and come up with a relevant illustration that would capture the truth of the passage.

 “O” means to look for other passages in Scripture that would have something to say about the passage being studied.  Many Bible translations have “cross references” that refer you to similar passages.

“U” means that before leaving this study that you Use it which means that you make an application for the truth of the verse for your own life.

There are three types of questions in studying the Bible for oneself.  It is helpful to get into this pattern of Bible study for ourselves on a daily basis so that when we lead a Bible study it will come out of our own experience.  Our personal experience brings genuine power to any Bible study since “we communicate in 750 ways other than verbal.”  Our sincerity brings an atmosphere of learning and application.

The Three types of questions for Bible study:

1) Observation questions: This means to discover the who, what, and where in the passage. This is painting the picture of what actually happened in the passage and who was involved.

2) Interpretation questions: These questions seek for meaning and ask the question “why?”

3) Application questions:  They are questions that lead us to apply the truths of the passage to our own lives.  Here are a few sample application questions: What should I know? What should I feel?  What should I do?

Preparing to lead a Bible study:

After studying the passage for yourself and living it through your life for a while, begin to make up a Bible study to share with others.

1.  Use the same three types of questions that you used for your personal study.  All three are very important.

a. Write out three observation questions that would describe the people, the event, and the discussion. These questions are the What, the Who and the Where.  “What” happened in the passage? “Who” was involved? “Where” did it take place?

2.  After the picture of what happened in the passage is clear, then ask the “why” questions and begin to use the interpretation questions.   Why did he or they do that do you think? Why did he say that do you think? Why do you think they responded that way?

3.  The third type of question to be asked is “application questions.”

4.  Always save enough time to discuss various applications of the passage.   Questions such as “What should we think or know? How should we feel? How should we act?  If time is not saved for obedience to the truth discovered, then the impression is left that application of truth to one's own life is not important.  This would be a tremendous mistake.  John 14:21

In leading a Bible study for two or more people, always take enough time to develop a learning atmosphere.  I like this definition.

"People change significantly when they get an opportunity to have a group experience and can talk openly and honestly with each other, share feelings and discuss problems in an atmosphere where they feel empathetically understood and warmly accepted.”  

When you first begin to meet, you might even take the major part of the meeting to share and get to know each other in a loving trusting atmosphere.  As the trust builds, the time in the Scripture increases.

Some thoughts on leading a Bible study discussion.

1.  I think it is always good to begin by having each person in the Bible study check in by sharing how they are feeling.  If one person needs some time, then the time would be well used to at least set goals to help the person after the study.  The study of the passage will be that much better when you get to it, if people get to share their feelings i.e. I am tired, happy, excited about the Bible study, sad, glad to be here. Etc.

2. Give the people a chance to share how the passage studied last week influenced their week.  Maybe the first time you asked this question you won’t get much response since most people don’t take application of God’s Word seriously.  But keep asking the question and people will begin to take God’s Word seriously and the group will take off in its excitement for God’s Word.

3. Begin to ask the Observation, Interpretation and Application questions.  Start with the observation questions on the passage, then to the interpretation and “why” questions, and then the application questions that give the passage and its truth power in our lives.

4. Always leave time for Application.

5. Pray.  Maybe during the first few meetings you will give a period of silence to pray for the person on each side of them.  End with an amen. Then you can end with each person saying a one sentence prayer. You can also say “pass” when it comes to you.  The fellowship and learning is the priority.

5.  Before you leave give each person the opportunity to say one thing they learned or observed in what they just experienced.  They can say “pass”.

Chuck Reinhold

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