Bible Study Guidelines
Yeah (sigh!)... we know... most of us DON'T like rules.
But while we talk about making Jesus Lord of our lives, we don't want to turn into "Lord of the Flies". Thanks to John Stott's tried and true guidelines... we'll use these to get the most out of a successful bible study:
1. Come to the study prepared to learn. You will find that will greatly enrich your time spent in group discussion.
2. Be willing to participate in the discussion. Group members are encouraged to discuss what they have learned and what the Holy Spirit has revealed.
3. Stick to the topic being discussed. Your answers should be based on the topic as the focus of the discussion, and not on outside opinions such as commentaries or speakers. When studying a particular passage of Scripture, only rarely should we refer to other portions of the Bible. This allows for everyone to participate on equal ground and for in-depth study.
4. Be sensitive to the other members of the group. Listen attentively when they describe what they have learned. You may be inspired by their insights. Each question assumes a variety of answers. Many questions do not have a “right” answer, particularly questions that aim at meaning or application. Instead the questions push us to explore more thoroughly.
When possible, link what you say to the comments of others. Also, be affirming whenever you can. This will encourage some of the more hesitant members of the group to participate.
5. Never tell someone that their opinion is wrong, or that yours is right. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide, teach and correct our thinking.
6. Be careful not to dominate the discussion. We are sometimes so eager to express our thoughts that we leave too little opportunity for others to respond. By all means participate! But allow others to also.
7. Expect God to teach you through the topic being discussed and through other members of the group. Pray that you will have an enjoyable and profitable time together, but also that as a result of the study you will find ways that you can take action individually and/or as a group.
8. It will be helpful for us to follow these basic guidelines:
Anything said in the group is considered confidential and will not be discussed outside the group unless specific permission is given to do so.
We will encourage each person present to talk if he or she feels comfortable doing so.
We will avoid conversation about other people.
We will talk and focus on the bible study topic and leave personal stories and reminiscing for another time.
We will refrain from making glib or distracting comments or jokes during our bible study discussion to avoid interruption or distraction.
We will be very cautious about giving advice.