Oral Study for a Group
How many groups doing Bible studies actually study . . . the Bible?
Here’s a great way to allow the word of God to do the teaching. Anyone can do a Bible study like this. You don’t need an expert, because the Bible IS your expert. The leader’s only duty is to ask an occasional question and help keep things running on track.
Choose a passage – nothing too long. Stories are good, especially to start with. Use a modern translation that people will be able to understand.Everyone can bring their Bible if they want to, but you really only need one Bible.
Get your group together. The best size will be from 4 – 6 people, but fewer will still work. For larger numbers, divide into two or more groups so everyone will get to share. People should bring a notebook and pen.
- Start on time. Ask people to share something good that’s happened to them in the past week for which they’re grateful.
- Ask people to share something stressful that’s happened in the past week. Talk about how last week’s helping project(s) went. (see #10)
- Pray for one another and give thanks for the blessings. Everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to the prayer if they wish to. Ask for God’s guidance in the day’s study.
- Have the passage read twice; use two different people. Make sure everyone can hear and understand.
- Ask for someone to re-tell the passage in their own words. Invite the group to contribute any details the re-teller may have missed. If some important things are being left out, the facilitator may ask a leading question or two.
- Ask: What does this tell us about God and our relationship with God? Use SPECK to help you think about this:
- Is there a sin mentioned in the passage that we need to avoid?
- Does the passage contain praises to God, a prayer to, or a promise from God?
- Is there an example to imitate or to avoid following?
- Does the passage contain a commandment from God that we should obey?
- What knowledge of God is shared in this passage?
- Ask: What does this tell us about people and our relationship with God and one another?
- Ask: How can we obey this passage? Have each person craft at least one “I will” statement. They should write it down in their notebooks and memorize it, but they needn’t share it unless they want to. It’s important that the statement begin with “I will,” as this helps to motivate follow through.
- Ask: Who do we know – each of us – that needs to hear this? The people in the group should be willing to share with at least one other person something they’ve learned from the word in this study.
- Spend some time talking about the needs in #2. If there’s something the group can/would like to help with, arrange to do that.
Once you’ve done this a couple of times, you should switch off and allow someone else to facilitate. It’s important to avoid teaching in this kind of study, especially if you’re studying with people who know a lot less scripture than you do. If you seem to be a fountain of all knowledge, they’ll begin to depend on you. If the group is getting off track, lead with questions; don’t tell them straight out that they’re wrong about something if you can avoid it at all.
The group should be learning to rely on the Bible, not on the facilitator. If you keep it simple, everyone will feel confident that they too can facilitate a similar Bible study with the people they know.
When people introduce information or remarks that aren’t found in the text, the facilitator should ask: “Where is that in our text?” Otherwise, you’ll all end up talking about everything but the topic you came to discuss. People may enjoy the time, but they’ll soon stop coming if you don’t stay on topic.
The study should last about 45 minutes. It’s the facilitator’s job to make sure there is enough time for all the steps, especially the last three. Once the study is finished, people can hang around and enjoy one another’s company if they like.