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Preparation—The Need for Personal Study


In truth thou canst not read the Scriptures too much;

And what thou readest, thou canst not read too well;
And what thou readest well, thou canst not too well understand;
And what thou understandest well, thou canst not too well teach;
And what thou teachest well, thou canst not too well live. ~Martin Luther

Before beginning their ministries, many of the great leaders of the Bible spent significant time in personal preparation. Moses spent 40 years caring for his father-in-law’s sheep before God called to him from the burning bush. Joseph served more than two years in prison before assuming the second-highest position in Egypt. Daniel worked in the Babylonian palace for decades before earning the allegiance of the king. Paul studied and humbly made his living as a tentmaker before embarking on his missionary journeys. Even Jesus spent His early adulthood in study and 40 days fasting and praying in the wilderness before He began healing the sick and preaching about God’s kingdom.

Likewise, a Bible study leader must dedicate time and energy to personal preparation. Until you recognize the undeniable need for Bible study in your life and the life of your church, fully understand the heavy responsibility of leading others in studying God’s Word, and honestly evaluate yourself as a potential leader, you aren’t ready to take on a Bible study group of your own.

Recognizing the Need for Personal Bible Study

When it comes to spiritual growth, it’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of personally studying God’s Word.

Read Psalm 19:7-11.

Although we sometimes tend to separate God’s Word from our “real” lives, Psalm 19 shows how understanding and obeying Scripture enhances every area of life:

•      God’s perfect law will revive your soul.

•      God’s trustworthy statutes will reveal the wisdom of simple things.

•      God’s righteous precepts will give joy to your heart.

•      God’s radiant commands will cause you to truly see.

•      Fearing God with a pure heart will save you from destruction.

•      God’s holy ordinances will give you a firm foundation, laying up for you a great reward in heaven.

Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17.

Paul’s words of instruction to the young leader Timothy prove invaluable to today’s aspiring leaders. If you have any doubts about the importance of Bible study, read verses 16 and 17 again: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

God breathed the words onto the pages of your Bible! Some believers yearn for new revelations, but we already hold the very breath of God in our hands. The Word contains the mysteries of the universe, the history of humanity, the power of salvation and eternal life. This is not just a storybook, textbook, or handbook. As Saint Augustine put it, “The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”


Reflection Questions

What role does personal Bible study play in your daily life?

How might your Bible study habits change if you better understood the life-changing power contained in God’s Word?




All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society®.

“Leading a Bible Study, part one” is published by the National Women’s Department, www.women.ag.org, © 2020. Permission to reproduce is limited to personal use or within a teaching setting. All other forms of use are prohibited.