Bible Study Lessons for Small Groups
Leading a Bible study is both a privilege and a responsibility. Whether you’re teaching at a local church or planning to start a church at home, you must prepare well so your students can discover God’s Word with you.
Don’t know where to start preparing for your next Bible study session? Read on for a complete guide to preparing short Bible studies for small groups.
Preparing Bible Study Outlines for Small Groups
Like any other lesson, you must prepare for Bible study sessions. Here’s a six-step guide to preparing your Bible study outlines:
1. Understand the Bible Passage
Naturally, the first thing to do is to choose and understand the Bible passage you plan to teach. Read the passage repeatedly and make sure you understand what is being said.
2. Identify the Passage’s Central Truth
After you understand the passage you’re about to teach, identify the text’s central truth. Define what the passage aims to teach us and write it down – this will be the core of your lesson.
For example, we’ll use this Bible passage: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
The central truth of this passage is that we gain real wealth by storing treasures in heaven through giving, sharing the Gospel, and doing other good deeds.
3. Define Your Takeaway
Once you’ve settled on a central truth, identify the main takeaway from your lesson. Taking the central truth from Matthew 6:19-21 as an example, the main takeaway is that earthly treasures can be destroyed, while heavenly treasures are eternal.
4. Examine How the Passage Resonates With You
One of the aims of Bible study is to help students internalize the text and apply Biblical lessons in their lives. Before doing that, you must know how to internalize and apply the passage’s lessons. Once you know how to apply the lessons, you can help others do the same.
5. Create a Lesson Outline
With your central truth and goals defined, build a lesson outline around them. Write down thought-provoking questions to ask your group and define what you want to do during your Bible study.
6. Add Finishing Touches
With a complete outline, you can then put some finishing touches on your material if necessary. Add illustrations, slides, video clips, and other teaching aids to help students learn the material better.
Leading Short Bible Study Lessons for Small Groups
A lesson outline is only the first part of holding Bible study sessions. Next, you need to know how to lead a session.
Here’s a guide to leading Bible study sessions in five steps:
1. Come Prepared
You should come to each Bible study session prepared. Go over your lesson notes and ensure you understand them fully before starting the lesson.
2. Pray for Your Study Group
If you want this Bible study to succeed and impact your students' lives, the Holy Spirit must be at work. Set aside time to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit for yourself and the study group.
3. Ask Questions and Create Discussions
Bible studies for small groups are most effective as discussions, not lectures. Explain to your students that everyone can participate and give their opinions during the session.
A good way to kick off the Bible discussion is by asking the open-ended questions you prepared with the lesson plan. Get opinions from your class and start discussing the passage’s central truth from there.
4. Help Students Apply the Central Truth
Once everybody understands the central truth, help them apply it in their lives. Go around the class and ask them how they plan to apply the day’s lesson.
If necessary, you can set goals for applying this central truth that you follow up on during the next session. Ensure these goals are measurable and reachable by your students.
5. Recap and Take Notes
Once everybody has left after the lesson, take notes of your experiences. Note what went right, what went wrong, and how you can improve the next session.
Free Small Group Bible Study Topics
Need new topics for your Bible study? Here are some fun Bible studies for small groups for free.
Recognizing and Overcoming Temptation
Recognizing temptation is the first step to overcoming it. This topic is one of the easiest Bible studies for small groups of teens, where you can teach them to know the difference between tests of faith and real temptation.
This Bible passage about handling temptation is a good place to start: “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:13-15)
Handling Money and Wealth
Learning how to manage your money and wealth is important for Christians of any age. Teach your students not to covet money and watch out for greed, as said in the Bible, “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’” (Luke 12:15)
Talking about parenting is always a good idea if your Bible study group includes mothers and fathers. Parenting covers various elements, so you can further break it down into sub-topics with verses. For example:
- How to use words wisely: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
- The importance of choosing the right friends: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Creating Devotional Topics for Small Groups
A devotional is writing containing a reflection on specific Bible passages, often used for daily prayer or meditation. Reading a devotional guides your prayers, so your attention focuses on God.
Writing devotionals for your Bible study group helps everyone grow their spiritual lives. If you want to write devotionals, here’s how:
1. Pray and Focus Your Mind
Writing a devotional requires a pure heart and a focused mind. Ask for God’s guidance so you can write the right words and send a powerful message.
2. Choose the Right Anchor Verse
All devotionals are anchored to a Bible verse as their central lesson. Find a verse that speaks to you and read it until you understand the verse’s entire context and meaning. If you’re choosing a popular Biblical quote as your anchor, ensure it’s actually in the Bible before continuing.
3. Be Genuine and Relatable
A good devotional says, "Come walk with me; let's reflect on something." Once you've settled on an anchor verse, relay your central lesson genuinely.
Here are some good opening words to begin a relatable devotional:
- “When I was in college.…”
- “My teacher once told me….”
- “When my family first came into town.…”
These opening sentences instantly create a situation the reader can relate to, evoking their curiosity. People are more likely to keep reading when you have a strong initial hook.
4. Have A Strong Conclusion
Strong closings are essential in any writing, and devotionals are no different. Conclude your text with a small summary of what you reflected on and a prayer the reader can recite before they finish reading.
Tips for Successful Small Group Bible Study Lessons
Being chosen to lead Bible study is an honor and privilege, but it can sometimes be a little nerve-wracking. Here are three tips to ensure your Bible study goes well:
Prepare the Lessons and Classroom in Advance
Few things make you more nervous than dashing into your meeting place five minutes before class starts. Arrive at least thirty minutes to an hour before the lesson begins so you can go over lesson plans and set up the classroom. You can also use the extra time to pray for God’s guidance.
Always commit to the scheduled class time. If your class starts at 10 o'clock, start at 10 o'clock, even if only one person is there. Your students will eventually learn that you always start on time, and they'll do their best not to be late.
Get to Know Your Students
Small groups are the best format for personal, tailor-made Bible studies. Get to know your students beyond their names and engage in discussions outside of Bible study class. If you have trouble recalling names, use name tags for the first few weeks of class until you get to know them personally.
Leading a small Bible study group is a rewarding experience, but takes time, effort, and intentionality. To succeed in your Bible study class, follow our tips and pick the right topic for your group!