For Bible study leaders, there are numerous models for guiding participants through a Bible study session. Before choosing a teaching method, the leader has to determine the outcome. Always start with the outcome. What do you, as a Bible study leader, want the individuals within the group to take from the session?
I believe the best Bible study groups always involve discussion. While lecture certainly has a place, and can be effective, even a lecture-driven class needs group interaction and discussion.
The opening of the Bible study session is crucial. It will likely set the tone for the entire session. I’ve learned the earlier a group is involved, the more likely they will engage. Therefore, careful thought should be given to the opening question or activity. Some teaching models call this a “hook.”
Below are a few suggestions for the opening hook:
- The activity or question should be neutral, so anyone can participate. For example, a question about the Bible or personal belief might exclude those who have little or no faith background.
- Arrange participants into smaller groups, so they are not only interacting with you as a leader, but with one another as well.
- If writing or reporting is involved, ask a group member to be the “scribe” or reporter for the group, perhaps one who is normally quiet.
- Tie the opening to the truth of the lesson. While there are times for fun activities, it’s best to make a connection between the opening question or activity and the desired outcome of the session.
Bruce Raley is director of Church Partnerships with LifeWay Christian Resources. A native of Arkansas, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and traveling with Donna.