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After weeks, or even months, of preparation and planning (see Leading a Bible Study, Part One), it’s finally time to begin your Bible study. You’ve evaluated yourself, selected your subject, explored resources, formulated lesson plans, worked out your meeting logistics, and recruited group members. You’re ready to dive into the Scripture! Well, almost . . .

Moderating a Bible study requires a different set of skills than planning a Bible study. You’ll need more than precise organization and foresight when you’re suddenly confronted with an unresponsive or emotionally charged study group. Many group leaders arrive at the end of the lesson plan far sooner than expected because people didn’t engage in the topic and start discussions. And just as many leaders stand back in helpless amazement as respectful discussions turn into arguments and personal attacks.

But regardless of the risks, learning Scripture in a group setting exemplifies God’s will for believers. As John Wesley said, “The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.” God did not create us to grow and mature alone. Only in a community can we find people sharpening each other as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).

Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.

Even Jesus, the Son of God, surrounded himself with disciples and friends. If anyone could have been self-sufficient in His faith, it would have been Jesus. But He understood the power of relationships and put into practice God’s plan for common unity—community.

Although we understand the necessity of growth in a group setting, we must also realize that the people in the group are imperfect. We each come with our own set of strengths and weaknesses, which don’t always mesh with the others in the group. It’s the leader’s responsibility to encourage each member to develop her strengths and minimize her weaknesses while maintaining unity in the midst of diversity. To help make this happen, it’s wise to learn a few practical skills ahead of time, including how to interpret and apply Scripture in the heat of the moment, how to effectively facilitate discussion and resolve conflict, and how to latch on to teachable moments and drive the lesson home.

This unit covers the following aspects of conducting a Bible study:

1.   Studying Scripture

2.   Facilitating discussion

3.   Encouraging reflection




Encounters with God: Transforming Your Bible Study, by Henry, Norman, and Melvin Blackaby (Thomas Nelson, 2007)

A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible: Playing by the Rules, by Robert H. Stein (Baker, 1994)

Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling: An Effective Short-Term Approach for Getting People Back on Track, by Charles Allen Kollar (Zondervan, 1997)

www.crosswalk.com—Bible study tools

www.biblegateway.com—Bible study tools

https://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/—more information about learning styles

www.enrichmentjournal.ag.org—archives of ministry leadership articles and resources



ELIZABETH HIGHTOWER lives in Missouri with her husband Eric and teenage daughter Elise. Since earning a Bible and Theology degree from Lee University in 2003, she has served alongside Eric in pastoral ministry and is currently part of the AGWM Editing and Design team.


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 two” is published by National Women’s Ministries, 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.