Summertime can be a lag for me spiritually! It’s easy to sleep in, enjoy vacations without pulling out my Bible, to go throughout my day busy and forgetting to be prayerful and meditation on Scripture. Last summer I decided to start a Bible study with our college staff ladies and a few college gals to help create for all of us an urgency to be in the Word. We studied Romans. It was a blast! And it kept me in the Word each day. Come fall, none of us wanted to quit, so we kept going all year. Every Wednesday morning at 6am between 9 and 15 we still rearrange the furniture in the back room of a coffee shop and rub elbows around God’s Word.
Over the past year I’ve learned the most effective way to lead this Bible study when my time is limited, and when we want to glean the most out of our study.
Every lady does a deep Bible Study throughout the week
This is huge. Our Wednesday morning Bible study has become an extension of our personal study time. I feel like my study is not complete until we’ve discussed the passage in a dim room around our well-loved coffeeshop table. I know the other ladies feel the same!
I distribute my devotional guide that I’ve created for my Etsy shop at my Bible study each week, so we are all reviewing the same questions throughout the week. With this devotional guide we can walk through any passage verse-by-verse and really glean from it. Each woman studies the passage during the week, then brings her notes to study so we can talk them over.
I assign side studies
The women in my Bible study are students or working women, without children. It’s easier for them to carve out time to do a “side study” along with studying the passage than it is for me! (My children tend to wake up between 6 and 6:30). So for instance, this week we are studying Hebrews 6. I asked one of my friends in the study to teach us for a few minutes on God’s promises, especially relating to salvation. She will come prepared to teach for 5+ minutes on what she has found in cross references and commentaries, so that we can delve a little deeper in that subject.
Read through the passage together
We begin our study by reading the passage together. We will take one or two verses at a time and read the chapter we studied that week. This is a sweet time to revisit the chapter, and to become unified around the table as we think about what we learned that week.
Every woman a teacher
Since all of us have been in the passage that week, we often look at different emphases in the chapter. We bring different perspectives to the table, and we have listened to companion sermons or read a commentary. Walking through our study notes together is really an important part of our study. We discuss context (historic, cultural, and the context of the larger book), we discuss our outlines, hard topics in the chapter, word studies, theological truths, practical application. Every woman becomes a teacher at this point, as we hear from one another and sharpen each other in truth.
I Pre-write questions
I really enjoy finding an emphasis in each chapter and writing questions that challenge our thinking or practical application of the passage. Sometimes this involves looking at cross references, or sometimes just thinking through truths about God or our lives. It’s great to end the discussion on the passage with thought-provoking questions.
The girls and I in our study have memorized both Romans 8 together and Ecclesiastes 12 together. It was fun and challenging! I haven’t started a new passage with the ladies due to other passages I’ve been learning with other groups. But it really helped keep my mind saturated with Scripture last summer.
We end with praying for one another. The emphasis in our group in prayer is evangelism. All of us have other forums in which we are accountable to others in prayer. We can use this group as a sweet time to talk about the unbelievers in our lives who we are reaching out to and praying for.
A great get-to-know-you at the beginning of a women’s Bible study would be to answer these 5 questions together and consider your priorities. I would also recommend through my organization and life purpose course together as a group so you can hold each other accountable. You can take each lesson a week at a time if you want – there’s no rules!