Recommendations for Bible Study Leaders

Published on October 12, 2020 10:34:40 AM - Modified on January 18, 2021 2:53:35 PM - Written by Robert Chambers

For people who have never taught one-on-one or in a small group, conducting a Bible study can be a stressful undertaking.  This article contains a detailed list of suggestions about “things to do” and “things not to do” when leading a Bible study. These helpful hints are provided to put teachers more at ease and to avoid some of the distractions that can make the Bible study less effective. 

A Guide for Bible Study Leaders

In 2 Corinthians 5:20, the apostle Paul declared that Christians are to be “Ambassadors for Christ” as though God were making an appeal through us urging all to be reconciled to God. Often this appeal is made person-to-person teaching the Good News of Jesus in individual Bible studies. With that in mind, here are some suggestions and recommendations about important things “to do” and “not to do” when conducting individual or small group Bible studies.

  • Before initiating the Bible study, get to know your students
    • Inquire about their religious backgrounds 
    • Listen carefully & do not interrupt
    • If they profess to be a Christian, ask when and how they became one 
      • This may identify future study topics and teaching opportunities
    • Briefly tell about your background as appropriate 
      • But don’t dwell on yourself
      • You are not the focus
    • Be open and earn their trust 
    • Set a relaxing tone for the study
  • Establish ground rules and agree to them 
    • The Bible must be the sole source of spiritual authority
    • Not religious traditions or human doctrines or institutional creeds 
  • Let the Bible do the teaching by citing books/chapters/verses
    • Examine the Biblical text together
    • Allow the student to see and read the text along with you
  • In teaching, be gentle, kind, not quarrelsome – you are soul winning not debating 
    • “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
  • Never utter the words: “Well, I think . . .”  
    • Personal opinions don’t matter – we are interested in what God says
    • Always draw from God’s Word so you can confidently say:  “The Bible says . . .”
    • Then if there is a disagreement based on opinion, it becomes a contrast between:    
      • (Personal Opinion) versus (What the Bible says - Truth)
      • By relying on what the Bible says, you depersonalize and de-escalate disagreements
      • This keeps it from becoming an argument between (you) & (them)
      • Instead, it becomes a difference between (what Bible says) & (what someone thinks)  
  • Take time to pause for questions – allow new concepts to soak in
    • However, do not stray too far off topic 
    • Do not get totally bogged down or side-tracked
    • Remember the focus & goal
  • Be sure to cover the planned lesson content
    • You may only get one chance to meet/study with this person
  • Do not try to tackle topics that are too advanced, i.e., topics that they or you are not-equipped to understand or to teach at the present time
    • Instead, offer to address those topics in future studies after this study is finished
  • Always be willing to admit freely “I don’t know” – 
    • This shows that you are honest and that you are learning too
    • Assure them you will study to find Biblical answers that you don’t know
  • Do not be discouraged - Not everyone will believe and obey the Gospel
    • If someone turns away from the Truth – Do Not Take It Personally
    • They are not rejecting you – they are rejecting the Word, and that may change in the future
      • “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”  (Luke 10:16)
    • Remember – Jesus, the Son of God, was rejected by many 
  • As Christians, our obligation is to teach
    • Our Goal is for them to hear the Truth so they can be equipped to make an informed decision
  • Outcomes will vary
    • Regardless, we can love & pray for them
    • The seed will have been planted – it may blossom in the future
  • After your study, maintain contact with your students
    • Let them know you are always there for them & willing to meet & discuss & support
    • Help them take the next step
    • Encourage fellowship with other Christians
    • Nurture their spiritual development

By doing these things, you will be serving as “Ambassadors for Christ”.

May God Bless you.