The task of preparing to teach a Bible study each week might seem daunting. Preparation is the key to leading a great Bible study each week. Here are what a few experts have to say about the importance of your preparation:
“No matter how wonderful the Bible study curriculum, there is no appropriate shortcut for prayerful thorough Bible study before teaching.” – Teaching That Transforms, p. 159
“Good teaching can overcome weaknesses in curriculum materials, but great materials cannot overcome weak teaching. It’s you, the leader, who really makes the difference” – Teaching Adults, p. 70
I shared the following preparation plan with my new friends at the Desert Pines training event in Show Low, Arizona one Saturday. Here is a plan for spending just 30 minutes a day preparing to guide your group’s Bible study. By the time you lead your group to encounter the Bible, you’ll have spent 3.5 hours preparing. Does that sound better than finding almost 4 hours in one sitting? For most of us, “it’s a cinch by the inch,” and we eat the elephant one bite at a time. Perhaps breaking down your preparation into manageable “bites” will help you do an even better job preparing to lead your group’s Bible study.
Here is a simple schedule that can keep your preparation on track by carving out just 30 minutes a day to do the following essential tasks:
Read core lesson passage in several translations
Jot down key words, people, places that need further exploration
Consult Bible study resources (Bible dictionary, atlas, concordance, etc.) to research keywords, people, and places identified on Monday
Ask questions of the text: Attitude to adjust? Promise to claim? Priority to change? Lesson to learn? Command to obey? Truth to believe? Sin to confess? Example to follow?
Consult and/or develop/adapt your teaching outline (1-3 points)
Consult and/or develop your group plan (allows for learner involvement/active learning/learning preferences of group members)
Review and refine your group teaching plan
Get a good night’s sleep!
Guide the Bible study (this is not a part of the 30 minutes!)
Evaluate – Ask yourself, “What went well in today’s study? What should I do differently next week?”
Review the next week’s Bible study (core passage, theme, and central truths…nothing heavy duty–just get an idea of where the study is heading before you begin your preparation in earnest on Monday.
Ken Braddy is manager of Lifeway’s ongoing Bible studies. He leads a weekly Bible study group at his church, and blogs daily about Sunday School at kenbraddy.com