By: KFA
How to Start a Bible Study: Tips and Ideas

Community and studying scripture are two very important aspects of Christian life. It is recommended to read the Bible on your own time each day, but bringing others together to study a theme or book on top of that has its own advantages. There’s a strong chance that at some point during your life you will be invited to take part in a Bible study of some kind. Other times, you may feel called to begin your own. Maybe you don’t know how to start a Bible study, though. The good news is that anyone can do it. You don’t have to have a certain skill set or spiritual gift. If you’re willing to put in the time, you can create a Bible study that will help people draw closer to God. Here are a few tips and ideas that will help you know how to start a Bible study on the right note.

Start a Bible Study Where It Makes Sense

God has placed us all in unique workplaces, neighborhoods, and families. We should use these scenarios to come up with a great place to start a Bible study. You want to be somewhere it makes sense for you to begin a Bible study. There’s a good chance that God will reveal to you an ideal location or group of people with which you can start a group. For most people this means their job, apartment complex, or in some other community where they belong.

People aren’t crazy about outsiders coming in to tell them what’s what. Maybe you shouldn’t drive from the suburbs to an urban area to start a Bible study if you haven’t laid the groundwork for your ministry. Even if the situation doesn’t cross community/race/class lines, it makes sense to start helping those in your area before you walk into someone else’s world. The natural exception to this advice is if God has personally told you to pick up and go somewhere you don’t already belong. If God is calling you to move to a low-income neighborhood or a different city/country, etc. you take that word from the Lord and run with it. For everyone else, though, look in the environment around you for the best place to begin.

Pick a Topic That Interests Everyone - How to Start a Bible Study

While you don’t want to sell the Lord’s work short, it is important to pick a subject for the study that will interest and benefit the people you are trying to reach. Surely there are benefits to any study, but you might not make your first choice for a middle school girls Bible study to be on Biblical manhood. Each audience has a certain hierarchy when it comes to subjects that pertain to them and where they recognize the need for improvement. If you fit into the same demographic as your potential community, think about what you would like to study. Don’t get too wrapped up in your personal preferences, but if you aren’t interested in the subject there’s a good chance no one else will be either.

Starting a Bible study is a commitment to weeks, months, or years, but you’re not going to stick around that long if no one ever comes. A safe way to start is by studying the Bible one book at a time. Go through the one of the Gospels, Proverbs, or maybe something from Paul and learn to dissect scripture with a group of friends. After going through a book or two you might decide to move onto a theme like parenting or grace.

Consistency - How to Start a Bible Study

So you have your group of people and something to study together. That’s a great place to be. Many people have trouble taking those first couple of steps. Now the struggle is maintaining consistency. It might be easy to commit to a certain morning or night each week right now, but in two months your whole schedule could change. There’s always some level of rolling with the punches, but don’t give up on your Bible study out of laziness or boredom. If you know how to start a Bible study, you know everything you’re giving up when you remove consistency.

You’ll find that some weeks are better than others. You may even forget to plan anything one night, but give yourself a little grace. Another problem you might encounter is waning attendance. If you notice that certain people disappear for a few weeks, be sure to give them a call just to check in. You really should consider doing this even with the people in your group who are always in attendance. There’s no sense in acting like strangers when you’re not together.

Don’t Be Afraid of Getting Real - How to Start a Bible Study

Speaking of which, you should try to create intimacy with those in your group. Community isn’t just some Christian code word that churches throw onto promotional material. It means that believers are coming together to form new relationships and pursue God. Assuming everyone in your group is a believer, it is a good idea to share your struggles and to discuss how God’s word provides an answer to the issues. If someone attending your group doesn’t know Christ personally, you may want to speak with them in private so that you can figure out how to minister to them and understand why they came in the first place.

There are several ways to develop intimacy and community within a Bible study, the easiest being to share prayer requests. We are all struggling with our own issues. A great way to open up is during a time of prayer. Just be sure that you are sharing your own requests and not airing someone else’s laundry in a way that could be mistaken for gossip. Text or call each other throughout the week to see how things are going or maybe even just for fun. The best Bible studies are when you feel part of a group rather than being taught by someone with whom you don’t have a connection.

Adapt When Necessary - How to Start a Bible Study

Once your group is off the ground, you may feel like you know how to start a Bible study. Don’t be surprised when changes come because they are surely coming. You may find that the people in your group are looking for much more or less organization than you had prepared. Three weeks into the study you might discover that everyone is pretty bored by it. No matter what happens, you should always be willing to adapt. The only time you should have to stand your ground in a Bible study is when someone or something goes against scripture. Even in this circumstance, you should have Biblical proof to fall back on. This both protects the integrity of the Bible study and can help to correct any opinion that isn’t based on scripture. For most people, adaptation will be something along the lines of changing the study materials, moving the date, or something else on the administrative side of things.

These are a few tips that will help you learn how to start a Bible study in your area. Remember that God can use you wherever you are. Think of how you can impact your community and develop relationships that will drive yourself and other believers closer to Christ. There are very few things that are both worthwhile and easy so stick it out and see what God can accomplish.

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