Last week, we looked at the outside aspects to consider when preparing to lead a bible study. The group context, your role as the leader and the possible purposes of a bible study. When you’re the one leading the bible study – there is more to think about than just reading the passage and discussing it, hoping to have a quick thought to take away and end with a short prayer. If you can take the time to prepare well, there is a richness for the group and yourself.



Everything should start with prayer – not just spiritual things, but especially leading a time that is spiritual in nature.

Once you’ve talked with the group’s leader, you’ll either have a copy of the bible study notes to follow or some guidelines of what they would like you to cover.

If you can choose the bible passage to study – talk to God about the subject. Ask Holy Spirit to bring to mind a particular passage or story that will help you look at that subject from a biblical perspective. Then wait to hear what God says in reply. (If you’re not sure if you’re hearing God’s voice, then look at my past feature article – 10 Hindrances to hearing God’s Voice. But if you don’t know how to hear God’s voice – wait for 15th April, when I’ll post a blog on this), or ask your leader or someone you know who does hear God’s voice regularly.


The Bible passage

Once you have the passage that you’re going to use. Depending on how much time you have for the whole bible study – I’d recommend 10-15 verses as a good amount. But it will also depend on the passage and context you’re looking at.

Pray, read the passage, then reread it a couple of times. Mull it over for a few days, look at different Bible translations. Checkout BibleGateway for other translations. Ask the Holy Spirit for His insight, understanding, what He wants to highlight for this particular group and time.

Look at the context of the passage. Who wrote it, who did the author write it to? What was the time/ situation of the people then? Were they going through anything particular that’s relevant and important to note for your bible study? What is being said, what is not being said? What is the writer asking or communicating? What response is the writer looking for from its original readers? 

What is happening before and after your particular chosen verses?

Continue to talk to God about all of it, the context, what words He’s highlighting, what you don’t understand, what you discover about God, about the people back then, about yourself…? All these questions will help you formulate questions to ask in the discussion time and see all that’s going on in the passage.

All this time you spend reading and reflecting on the verses will create familiarity and depth of understanding that you can bring to the group. You have time to look at it all thoroughly, which the whole group can’t do during the bible study time.

Make lots of notes about your observations, questions, key points, ideas… This is quality preparation for then sitting down and planing the actual bible study time structure/ plan.



The purpose of the introduction is to share what you’re going to look at. And to give context to how/ where the bible passage you’re reading fits in. E.g., the author, the original audience, any key points that have come before this bible passage section relevant to what you’re discussing today.

Knowing how much time you have will determine how much time you can give to your introduction. No more than 10% should be given here, but possibly less if the passage your doing is a continuation from the last time.


Reading the bible passage.

How does the group normally do this (or is there openness to doing it differently)?

Does everyone use a similar translation or whatever their bible is? Does one person read the whole thing, or do several people take a couple of verses each? Do you read it out loud a few times or once and then people reread it themselves (quietly)?

Then how much time do you give people to think about what you’re reading to start to make their own observations…?



The key to good interpretation and reflection is great observation. This is looking at the text through the eyes of the original hearers. What did the author say, how did the hearers respond. What kind of words are used? For example, command words, explanations, instructions. If it’s a letter, then it’s usually a response to something that’s happened before or happening now to them. Is it a word of encouragement? What does it show/ tell us about God’s character or heart? What’s the main point that the writer wants to make?

It’s also good to ask what stands out to people, as these will help you see what God’s showing individuals and perhaps the whole group. And to discuss how it’s relevant to the theme/ topic of the study time.  



In light of what you have observed, what do we understand of the context of the passage and topic for the bible study time? Take a little time to consider/ reflect on how to apply the verses to our lives here today.

What do you think God is saying to you as a group or individual? What biblical principles have you found? As these are timeless, so always relevant. Therefore what does that look like for us today? What is the writer encouraging us to do? What gives us encouragement? What have we learned about God / ourselves from the passage? 

Always give space for any other thoughts or comments, as these can be wisdom or other points the Holy Spirit wants us to consider. 


Application and Response

Now – how can we apply it to our lives. Is there anything I need to stop or start doing in light of what we’ve discussed? What do I need to do differently to be more in line with this biblical truth? This part is more individually applied, but some groups share what they are thinking or need to process together what they can practically look like. Others want to share what they need to do, so the group can pray for them, support them or even hold them accountable.

There should always be a place for responding to God’s word and what the Holy Spirit has spoken during the time. Some might need to ask forgiveness from God, others or free themselves from a negative thought pattern. Others need to receive love or encouragement from God or some in the group about a new truth they have discovered during the time. 

Owning a truth means we take it in and allow change to happen inside us, e.g. a belief we have about God or ourselves. Which then results in an outward shift of action. Combined, this brings a transformation where we become more like Jesus. But to stop an old habit and start a new one takes effort and time. We need others & God to help us make the change long-term.

Give them time to think of how they are doing to respond and if you’d like them to share it with the group, a few people, just them and God. And to then have time to do this.

It’s always good to finish with some sort of prayer. Whether as a group or in pairs. And to thank them for their valuable contribution to the time.


Other things to think about while preparing to lead a bible study

If you’re new to leading this type of thing. Ask your leader if you can sit with them to go over your thoughts and ideas to be clear in your plan and how to achieve your ideas.

How much time do you have to prepare? If it’s only a few hours – plan your time so you don’t go off on tangents leaving you little time to think of how you want to structure your questions to lead people through the discussion on all the points you want to cover.

Where you’re having your bible study time – is it a public or private space. Is it in someone’s home or a room in the church? How can you make the setting as comfortable as possible for people to be themselves and thus share openly?

How can you, as the leader, be an encouragement to everyone who’s attending? A kind word, a thank you, a how can we help you…? 

Ask for feedback from your leader or someone else you know that’s there too. (See my previous blog on “What getting feedback is important”.) This will help you find out what you did well, what needs work, and process what you would do differently the next time. We all have things we can learn and grow in. It’s never going to be perfect, but it can be done well.

There is a lot more we could add to this topic – and I might find time in future blogs. But for now, this is a great start. Just remember to continue to ask the Holy Spirit to help you before and especially during the time. He knows everyone and everything thing.