Group Bible Study Keys
In recent years there has
been a great movement in small Home Fellowship and Bible Study
groups. Many Believers feel this movement constitutes a revival
of the Church comparable to the great tent revivals in America
during the 1900s. For many it seems to be the only
alternative to what they see as oppressive corporate Churches
and/or domineering local ministers. Whatever, the cause, the Home
Fellowship Revival is becoming a viable alternative for many
Believers in both the Seventh Day Sabbath and First Day Christian
Small Home Fellowships and/or Bible Study Groups are very appealing to those Believers who have had to sit in large congregations every week and listen to a minister deliver a prepared sermon. Now they have an opportunity to ask questions, to express viewpoints, and to search the Scriptures for answers with other Believers of likemind. This type of interaction can create bonds of fellowship that are not possible for some to achieve in a large church setting.
Along with every positive opportunity comes an equally negative opportunity for the new format to be used to incorrect ends. Some people who have become involved in small group discussions have found them to become dominated by articulate people with strong personalities, but not always by those who are well grounded in doctrine. This can lead to real disappointment for those who have just come out of an abusive large church experience. Unfortunately, when this happens, some people just turn off and go home to study and worship by themselves, (or worse yet, give up on God altogether) while those who remain may be allowing themselves to be led astray by false teachers.
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
"For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
"Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. ...
"But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
(II Tim. 3:1-9,14-17)
Good solid Bible study is extremely important so the Believer can remain well grounded in the faith. As stated before; do not accept any new interpretation of Scripture, no matter where it is found (including the pages of Hebrew Roots), without thoroughly checking it out for yourself to the very best of your ability. Also, never forget that in the final analysis:
"... by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
And what are the "...
good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in
them..."? Nothing less than the instruction book of
God, the Torah.
With all of this in mind it is our fervent desire that all of our readers might experience small group Bible studies that are doctrinally sound, interactive (so that all feel welcome to participate), spiritually uplifting, allowing for differing views (but not heretical ones) and focused always on our Creator God. To aid in this righteous endeavor we offer the following guidelines for Bible study. We do not claim that this format is the only one that can be used successfully, rather we offer it as one that we hope you will consider. We have seen it used in the past and truly believe it can help to avoid domination by a strong personality while opening up the discussion to all participants.
~ General Guidelines ~
Method of Study: Following are four basic methods for Bible study.
It is our recommendation that a new group begin be using the Chapter by Chapter method of study before attempting any of the other methods. We heartily recommend using the weekly Torah readings. Since many Believers do not have a good grasp of the Torah and therefore do not have the proper foundation for their faith, this is an opportunity for everyone to grow in grace and knowledge.
Assignments: All participants should come to the Bible Study having not only read, but studied the material to be covered. Assignments need to be long enough to provide a good study, but short enough so that even those people who are pressed for time can at least do cursory study prior to the meeting. After a few studies it will become apparent how long the assignments should be for the particular group.
Leaders: Bible Study Leaders should be selected based on their ability to lead a study and their desire to do so. it is essential to have more than one Leader so that: 1.) It does not become a burden to any one individual; 2.) There are backups available if the assigned Leader cannot attend; 3.) No one individual can dominate the group; 4.) Leading does not become a head trip.
~ Format ~
open the study with prayer. Have different people offer prayer
each time. Ask God to open the eyes, ears, heart and mind of each
individual present to His instruction. Pray that God will lead
everyone present to live more Godly lives, to draw close to Him,
and to come to see Him as He really is.
Background: When a new book, word or topic is introduced, it is important that all present have a proper understanding of some pertinent background material. For example; who wrote it? When was it written? To whom was it written? Is it primarily a book of history,? prophecy,? instruction in righteous living,? etc.
Some of the needed background information can be found in various Bible Dictionaries. Some study Bibles may contain limited amounts of information on each book, or even certain topics. It should be the responsibility of the Leader (or someone else who has agreed to do it) to provide the necessary background information before the study begins.
Each subsequent study on the same book, word or topic should be started by the Leader, or a member of the group, giving a very brief review of the background information plus a brief review of the previous study. This will serve to refresh the memory of those how were present and let any newcomers know where this study will pick up the topic.
Wrap-up: The Leader should give a very brief (2-5 mm.?) summary of what was covered and some of the lessons learned. There may be a brief discussion on the effectiveness of the study and ways in which it can be improved.
Assignment: The next study assignment should be given based on how much it is felt the group can cover. Input from the group is essential. Also, a Leader needs to be picked for the next study.
Prayer: A final prayer should be offered thanking God for His presence, assistance and instruction in the study. It is also appropriate to ask God for help in applying His principles of living in each persons life.
~ Rules ~
(The following rules are very important and should be read to the entire group prior to the study each of the first few times you meet. Thereafter it would be appropriate to review them at least once each month.)
~ Summary ~
It is our hope that these
Group Bible Study Keys will be of help to those of our readers
who are participating, or planning to participate, in small group
Bible Studies or Home Fellowship groups. Remember, that while
Bible Study may be the core, it is not the only part of Home
Fellowship. Sometimes it may be more important to just sit and
talk with one another. Other times it may be more appropriate to
spend significant amounts of time praising God in song or dance.
Still other times it may be most important to spend the entire
time in group prayer. Still other times it may be most meaningful
to take a walk in the woods or on the beach, or picnic in a
meadow or a park. Different Home Fellowship groups have different
needs, and any single group may have different needs at different
Please let us know what works in your group. We would like to share your positive experiences with our entire readership so that we might all become better prepared for our soon coming Wedding to the Messiah. As each of us grows in love, understanding, peace, joy and grace; we in effect are adding stitches to the wedding dress which is to be worn by the Bride.
"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."
May your studies be blessed with Shalom (Peace).
...and articles, and tapes, and books, and questions, and opinions.
When Hebrew Roots started about one year ago, our mailing list was only seventy subscribers. This (our sixth) issue will be mailed to over six hundred.
first we were able to handle the mail quite easily and
still have time left over to personally answer all of the
letters that seemed to need a response. However, we are
now being flooded with mail that begs a response, but we
no longer have time to answer all of your letters in
addition to continuing research, writing articles, and
producing taped messages.
What are we to do?
Much of the material looks interesting and many of the items that you have sent us have indeed stimulated our thinking and sent us to our Bibles, concordances, lexicons and encyclopedias searching to see if it is really true.
But be aware that we cannot physically study every piece of literature you send us, or listen to every tape that comes our way. Many of you are probably in the same boat. There seems to be a plethora of material available these days from all sorts of people and this is good. It is long past time when the people of God should be allowed to explore fully the things of God.
Please do not be offended if we do not respond in writing to your letters, articles, books or tapes. It is not because we do not want to, it is just that God has only given us a certain number of hours each day (twenty four to be exact), and we must use them in the most productive way possible.
We love you all, and we do read your letters, and appreciate the material you send us (except for the stuff that is of a condemning spirit or promotes hatred towards the Jewish people).