Leading a Bible study group, or participating in one, works best when we take God’s Word seriously and handle it with care (not in our own wisdom but under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit). This, of course, requires some time and effort, but it is worth it. Consider these words from Psalm 119:9-16:
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping Your word.
I have sought You with all my heart;
don’t let me wander from Your commands.
I have treasured Your word in my heart
so that I may not sin against You.
LORD, may You be praised;
teach me Your statutes.
With my lips I proclaim
all the judgments from Your mouth.
I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts
and think about Your ways.
I will delight in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.
To keep His Word, we must know His Word; to proclaim His judgments, we must know His judgments. So we must meditate on, think about, delight in, and not forget the Word of God.
To this end, here is a suggested schedule to help leaders and group members prepare for each week’s session using their Leader Guide and/or Personal Study Guide (if your group meets on a day other than Sunday, just change the days of the week accordingly):
• Read the main Bible passages for the upcoming session, recording your insights and questions (add to these throughout the week as needed)
• Read the session’s Introduction
• Read Point 1; meditate on the Scripture passage throughout the day
• Read Point 2; meditate on the Scripture passage throughout the day
• Read Point 3; meditate on the Scripture passage throughout the day
• Reread the main Bible passages (record any further insights and strive to answer any remaining questions)
• Read the session’s Conclusion
• Leader: Read the Teaching Plan and think through how best to teach your group the meaning and application of God’s Word, cutting and adding to the Teaching Plan as you see fit. How were you impacted during your week of preparation? How did God’s Word affect your thinking, emotions, will, and actions this week? Incorporate your reflections as you teach, and allow group members to do the same.
• Group member: Reflect on and answer the questions from “His Mission, Your Mission.” How has God’s Word impacted you this week? In light of your study and experiences this week, how might you encourage those in your group to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18)?
• Come prepared to lead and/or participate in the study and discussion of God’s Word so that God’s work in your life this week benefits and encourages others in the faith and displays the gospel of Jesus Christ for all to see.
“The life and fellowship of Christians in history is to be a foretaste of life in the Kingdom of God and is to reflect in the world something of what the [future] will be.”
–George Eldon Ladd (1911-1982)