10 Ways to Get the Most From Your Small Group Bible Study

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At the end of the year get together, our Bible study leaders plan a brunch and sharing day. We eat delicious breakfast casseroles and pastries, then we share how God has worked in our lives that year through the study. I am always so moved by the sharing as I can see God’s hand in the lives of the women there.

There have been occasions when I couldn’t think of anything to say. Did God not work in my life that year? Or was I too busy to allow him to change me?

Being transformed by women’s Bible study is amazing and it is the goal. But showing up with some answers written in a workbook won’t guarantee spiritual growth.  Some people will get more out of it than others. Here are ten ways you can get more out of your Bible study this year!

1.     Set judgment aside

I promise you that what you believe on the first day about the women in your group will change over the year. Women will become more beautiful, or wiser, or humbler to you over the year. Others who look like they have everything going for them will reveal deep pain. Some who seem arrogant and loud may be great listeners or be full of wisdom. Stop judging and focus instead on learning everyone’s name.

2.     Listen more or talk more

If you are prone to fill silence with many words, hold back and try to spend time listening. If you are prone to never speak, find a question you are comfortable answering aloud and speak up!

3.     Be willing to ask questions

Asking questions takes humility. You are revealing that you don’t have all the answers. It is essential in a small group for someone to ask the first question. Others will become more comfortable asking questions if you ask the first one.

4.     Get to know someone new

We all feel most comfortable sitting with and talking to our good friends. And nothing can be more intimidating and uncomfortable than coming in the first time and not knowing who to sit with. It can be the high school cafeteria all over again! Watch for new people, ask them to join you. Take them under your wing and introduce them to others. Find out about them and introduce them to someone who shares common interests with them. Make it your mission to welcome them and make them comfortable.

5.     Pray for the people in your group

Next week I will be writing about how to pray for the women in your group. Too often I have carefully written down requests and then failed to look at them during the week. Say you’ll pray…then do it!

6.     Do your study when you are at your best

If you are a morning person, night person, or middle of the day person, choose a time to do your study when you are wide awake and feeling at your best. Don’t give God the dregs of your day. If you hate mornings, then find another time to do your study.

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7.     Come even if you didn’t get your study done

It can be embarrassing to come to the study unprepared. I suggest mentioning it to your leader before the group starts and letting her know you still wanted to come. I’ve never had a leader who said you shouldn’t come if you didn’t do your study.

8.     Be vulnerable without oversharing

This is a tough line to find. Being vulnerable means exposing your own heart, pain and worries. Oversharing means exposing things that are happening to your spouse, children, friends without their permission. Be especially careful about talking about your marriage. Speaking of your spouse’s faults in a public setting is disrespectful to him and will breed more discontent in your heart.

9.     Take notes

Writing down what you are learning or what someone else shared is a way to show you are listening carefully and value what you are hearing. The act of taking notes will also help your brain to remember and recall these truths later on.

10. Collect seeds of insight and knowledge

In the study I attend now, the leaders create scripture cards from a key verse in that week’s study. They also provide a blank card for us to write down what God is teaching us. We put the cards in a small photo journal. I love the discipline of writing down one key thought or idea for each week. What often happens is that I find I am writing down similar things each week. I can see how God is leading me to the same truth over and over. And I start to pay attention. Write down key insights. Create a journal for them or a card system so you can look over them and remember what God is teaching you.

I experience so many emotions over the course of a year of Bible study. I feel excitement to get started, discouragement when I don’t keep up, weariness when the busyness of Christmas comes, and determination to finish well. I’d like to be consistent and disciplined. Follow these 10 suggestions with me and we should be well on our way to a great year in Bible study!

Want this list to hand out to your small group Bible study? My subscribers have access to this and many other printable resources in the resource library. You are welcome to make copies to use with your small group.

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Looking for a great Bible study to do with a group of friends?? Check out my Bible Study, The Spacious Place.