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Here's a very simple and effective way to do Bible Study, and it can be used for both personal study and group discussion.
1. Realize that it's okay not to have all the answers and that it's a process of discovery.
2. Pray (and maybe sing a worship song first to get the worship juices flowing)
3. Read a passage of scripture
4. In your mind, or in your group focus on questions like this:
a. What stands out to you in the passage? In other words, what do you like or not like in the passage? What strikes you in it?
b. What is God saying to you (or "us")?
c. How can we apply it in our lives today? this week? etc.
d. Is there something in the passage that we need to think about and maybe study about more?
e. In a group (a church) we might talk about what God is doing in and around us these days. Where we see Him at work. We might also talk about things we're grateful for, maybe even personal struggles depending on the nature of your group and how intimate and confidential the group is capable of being, etc.
5. Pray again (and maybe sing a worship song)
Once a discussion group gets familiar with how this line of discussion works, we can just take turns talking about these things one by one. I may have missed something, so update these discussion guidelines accordingly and add things specific to the needs of your particular group. You only need one other person to start a group. You can invite others to join you. But try to keep your meeting together for these discussions consistent if possible.
Feel free to copy and paste this if you think it will be helpful to you, your family or your group. When you've customized it for your particular group or devotions, print out some copies and hand them out in your group, and/or use it in your personal devotions.
If you're using this in a group or starting a group (starting a Church), taylor the scriptures you use each week around the needs and interests of your particular group. If it's an outreach group, use passages that pertain to salvation and how to have genuine purpose and healthy, spiritual self-esteem in life. If the group seems to have certain questions about the Bible and what it teaches, use passages that address those particular concerns. Another good program would be to just pick a book of the Bible and work through it. You can do this chapter by chapter or use the subheadings that most Bibles have and go subheading by subheading, or story by story. There are a million ways to do this depending on the needs and interests of your particular group.
if your group consists of only two or three people, maybe take turns selecting the passage for discussion each week, or however frequently you meet.
Oh yea. And try not to dominate the group. Depending on the maturity level of the members you could even take turns leading the group. But, if you're the leader, try not to dominate the group with too much preaching. Maybe go last so that you can use your time to talk to gently (very gently) address any problems or issues you heard from other members. And don't feel like you always have to do that. If you don't have an answer, admit it. Maybe before your next meeting you can do some research on an issue or question that arises (or someone else can), and if the issue is important enough, address it in your next meeting or a future meeting.
In some cases you might want to have a list of short passages prepared to read on a particular topic.
For anyone interested in starting one of these small churches, the following Wikipedia article may interest you. I used to have the "Ungame", which included a set of cards to break the ice for Christian discussions. It was a great way to break the ice in starting a small Church. Later I began to develop other (sort of) "Ungames" with cards that members would draw. The questions were designed around whatever passage we were discussing. We used to meet every Tuesday at Dawn Donuts and play our discussion game. Often others would ask if they could join in. It was fun, and extremely rewarding. A few people got saved as a result of this group.
All of the above text is copied from Donny Bowers with his permission integrated within the text itself. Thank you Donny for allowing me to share this here. These are great reminders to anyone who would like to take part in the leading of small groups with the purpose of growing in our Christian Faith and through the Word of God.