The Joy Of Teaching Home Bible Studies
During the past several years I have been frequently asked to provide some personal perspectives and general comments regarding the study and teaching of God’s Word in a Home Bible Study setting. I have always been convinced that Home Bible Studies are where the “real action” is for committed Christians. There are no hard and fast rules regarding how to prepare for or conduct a Home Bible Study, but there are some principles which may prove helpful.
Our Central Focus
One of the key secrets to a successful Home Bible Study, in my experience, has been to focus on a Genesis to Revelation study with charts. There is a simplicity-and a fruitfulness-to focusing on what God has said in His Word, addressing one topic of the Bible at a time with each lesson. This has proven to be one of the most effective means to laying an in-depth foundation that will last a lifetime, and which will ultimately cover “the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)
My personal method is simplicity itself. After serious prayer, and having selected a study, I then collect a few selected commentaries to use as I teach it. I prefer to own my own, so I can mark them up and annotate the margins. Commentaries are not expensive, and they will quickly take their place among your most reassured investments.
Another issue is the tempo or pace of the study. I have found that for the most part, one lesson each week is usually about the right pace. This allows some real in-depth exploration without getting bogged down in too many details or tangents. There are, of course, portions of Scripture that merit a more measured and penetrating pace, but you can lose your students attention if you don’t keep it moving.
After careful and repeated rereading of the lesson for the coming week, I simply glean the insights from each of several commentaries, underlining and annotating as I go. It’s not difficult to stay a lesson or so ahead of your group. As the day of the study approaches, I prayerfully collect my notes from the annotations in each of my sources. It’s not difficult or burdensome to gather enough to
contribute a valid understanding of the lesson to be discussed. Along the way, some specific topics or issues will emerge, lending themselves to more specific investigation. This is where some easily available supplemental resources-such as a Bible encyclopedia or dictionary-can be handy.
Where to Start?
One of the most frequent questions I get is, “Which home Bible study should I start with?” There are many sound answers. Which study series interests you the most? I startle many with the suggestion of starting with a study of end-time prophecy! It is the only study in the Bible that declares a special blessing on the reader and hearer! No other study singles itself out in that respect. One of the reasons it is always such a special blessing is that a proper review of Revelation will include supporting passages from virtually every other book of the Bible. (The 404 verses of Revelation include over 800 allusions from the Old Testament!) It puts God’s entire plan of redemption into focus-from Genesis to Revelation.
The Role of Prayer
Prayer is, of course, your most formidable weapon. You need to be in prayer continually in preparing for the study; you must always open in prayer; and you need to have a prayer team committed to continuing to hold up the study in prayer. It is a warfare, after all.
It should be understood that these brief comments are merely suggestions for teaching the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate teacher and the Spirit will teach you in ways that can either be manipulated nor regulated. My personal prayer is that Jesus would reveal and teach His Word to you in ways that you could never have imagined, and that you would take to heart the words of the apostle Paul: “Let the Word of God dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another…” (Colossians 3:16)
The above article, “The Joy of Teaching Home Bible Studies,” is written by Jack Floss. The article was excerpted from: www.askjack.org web site. May 2012.
This material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”