How to Lead a Bible Study
Fall is approaching and with this glorious season (my favorite time of year) comes Women’s Bible study! With a new book to study and new women to meet, joining or leading a Bible study has been a large part of my life for close to two decades now. Bible studies have helped me grow in the Lord and connect with other Christian women.
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
Over the years I’ve done the following:
- Attended Bible studies at my church.
- Led Bible studies at my church.
- Led Bible studies in my home from teens to homeschool moms and everything in between.
- Led Bible studies in someone else’s home.
- Led a Bible study online.
- And written a Bible study.
Maybe you’re considering leading a Bible study? Below are a few questions to ask yourself.
Who are you ministering to?
- Teen girls?
- Young adults?
- New believers?
- Homeschool moms?
- Your group can be a mix of young and old. Married or single. Very specific or very vast.
Are you teaching or simply facilitating the group?
If you’re new to leading a study, facilitating is an easier first step because you can’t teach what you don’t know. For example, the first Bible study I led was close to 17 years ago. My youngest son was just two weeks old and my oldest wasn’t even two yet. The Bible study we were going through at my church was on the book of Revelations. To say I was terrified and overwhelmed (not to mention exhausted) would be an understatement.
That year, I simply facilitated the group leading them from question to question as we discussed the lesson homework. Many times questions came up in the group discussion that I couldn’t answer but that didn’t mean I didn’t seek out the truth. Sometimes digging deeper into scriptures, asking my husband for his understanding of the Word and clarity, and going to my overseer for her input were things I did after the lesson ended. Then the following week I would address last week’s concern.
It’s okay if you’re not the Bible Answer Woman or a Walking Concordance of the Word, as long as you’re a willing vessel seeking to bring God glory, that’s all that is needed.
Are you using a specific Bible study book to go through or are you writing out your own message and questions for group discussion?
Going through a specific Bible study book is easier to lead as the material has already been written for you.
How often and long will you be meeting?
Once a week?
Twice a month?
Once a month?
If you choose a Bible study book to go through, the author will usually have a recommendation. For example, the book might be a 6-week study, 8-week study, 14-week study, etc. If you can manage a weekly commitment and so can your ladies, then meet once a week for the next 6 to 14 week, depending on your book. Since most Bible studies start in the Fall, plan on taking a break (or ending before the holiday season.)
What time will you be meeting?
Will your Bible study be held in the morning or evening? Depending on the group you minister to will depend on your time slot. For example, right now I’m leading and preparing a message for single women. Most of them work during the day so our meeting time is on Friday evenings rather than Friday mornings. Years ago I led Bible study in the mornings. And when I homeschooled my kids and led studies for homeschool moms, I led studies in the evenings and sometimes once a month on Saturday mornings.
It’s best to look at your schedule and figure out what you can handle. The next step is to ask the group of women you’ll be leading how often they’d like to get together. Then pick out your study and make it work for you.
Other things to consider…
Determine Your Schedule.
Most Bible studies are approx. 2 hours. For example: 9:30-11:30 am or 7:00-9:00 pm. (Some women will have to leave earlier depending on their commitments.) But 2 hours is ample time to discuss the lesson, have time for prayer requests, and fellowship.
Do Your Homework.
When I led studies at my church years ago, I made sure I went through the lessons well in advance before I met with my women. The last thing you want to do is go to Bible study unprepared. You don’t want to be a leader who has not done her lesson because of procrastination, lack of planning, or the unexpected. Be a leader worth following.
Taking on a long and in-depth study might not be the best situation for a newbie. Look into Bible studies that are short and to the point. If you’re going to take on a longer and more in-depth study, then make sure you take a nice big break around the Holiday season so you can make it to the end of the study.
Ask for help.
Having a friend to turn to either before the study, during, or after will make leading a group a little bit easier. Maybe this person helps you send out text reminders, or prints up a phone list of women in the group, or hands out a potluck list for a future event, etc. Knowing you can enlist the help of other women helps them feel like they’re a part and it helps you from falling apart! No one person can do it all. It’s called the body of Christ for a reason.
Be sensitive to others.
Many women will have differing backgrounds, differing experiences with church and religion, and differing seasons and stages in their walks with Christ. Listen to their hearts rather than judge their hearts. Some will come with heavy hearts, discouraged hearts, overwhelmed hearts, bitter and broken hearts. Your job is not to fix them. You can’t because you’re not their Savior. Be friendly, listen to them, and point them to Jesus and His word.
I don’t know about you but I sure don’t trust a fake person. Be real with your women yet don’t overshare. This is a fine line you’ll have to learn to walk. Ask the Lord to give you discernment in this area. If there is something you think you shouldn’t share, don’t share it. It’s better to undershare than overshare. And please don’t make the study all about you. When you seek to be others-minded and the women sense you’re being authentic with them, a form of trust will naturally build in your group. And when the women trust you as their leader, they’ll open up more. This is what you want. It’s the sweet spot of Bible study where women are connecting, encouraging, and equipping one another in the Lord.
Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
There might come a time in your group discussion that a woman shares some shattering news and breaks down and cries. If the Holy Spirit is telling you to stop the group discussion and pray for this woman, do so. Don’t wait until the end of the study to meet a hurting woman’s needs just so you can stay on track with the study questions. Keeping order in your group is essential but being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading trumps this process.
Be mindful of spiritual warfare.
Satan will speak lies into your heart and mind to get you to quit before you even start. He’ll continue to speak those same lies right before each gathering to discourage your soul from doing what God has called you to do. Pray a lot and often. Find a verse and cling to it to help in this journey so you can combat the enemy’s lies.
Be the imperfect you that you are and rely on your perfect God.
Live a poured out life for Christ,