6 Steps to Writing a Bible Study
How to create a basic study lesson plan for your students.
I’ve sat in on a few youth group Bible studies and felt lost. The whole thing felt like one long casual conversation that wandered pointlessly from one topic to the next. In those gatherings, I’d watch the teens as they’d slowly moved from being focused, to being confused, to completely checking out. And I have to admit, they outlasted me, because I already checked out and started focusing on their engagement.
One of the basic skills of youth ministry that some youth workers seem to lack is creating a basic lesson plan for a Bible study. The skill is essential if you’re creating your own Bible studies for teens, but it is even more critical when you are evaluating resources to use with teens (if you don’t know the basics then how can you evaluate a resource). So I’ve put together this simple how-to on creating a Bible study that I’d encourage any youth worker to practice for a season (one-to-three months) just so they can get the feel for a well-crafted lesson time.
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Step 1 – Study the Bible
I know that this is a jerky thing to start with, but it’s true. Let’s say for our purposes that you’re going to teach on a single passage, Mark 16:1-8.
The point of studying a passage is to figure out the lessons for your group. When I do this, I write them out in bullet points (here are my comments from studying the passage).
- Doubt is a part of resurrection faith.
- The central question in the passage is: “What happened to Jesus’ body?”
- The women are presented with an explanation: “Jesus is raised from the dead.”
- There are multiple ways that one could answer the central question.
- The point is we need to answer the question for ourselves.
Step 2 – Learning Objective
Start the writing of the Bible study with clearly defined objectives. This gives you a goal to work toward with every aspect of the Bible study. Without learning objectives, your time can be prone to wander. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t go off script if an unexpected learning moment presents itself. This just means that you have a focus and purpose from the beginning that will hold your whole study together.
Here are my two for the Mark passage:
- To understand that doubt is a part of faith
- To commit to a personal answer to the question: “What happened to Jesus’ body?”
An Aside on Learning Styles
Now we are moving into what you’re going to actually do with your group: the study time. At this point, you need to start thinking about the different learning styles for group members. So I suggest you draw some symbols on the side of your paper or download and insert this graphic into your document.
As you put together the various teaching elements to your Bible study, remember that each person has different learning styles. In order to engage various learning styles, make sure to add those elements into your study.
Download CREATIVE TEACHING ACTIVITIES
Step 3 – Explore the Issue
The purpose of exploring is to get teens thinking about the topic or learning objective. This can be done in many ways and is a great way to add a creative teaching activity.
Step 4 – Encounter God’s Story
The second major movement of the lesson presents or explores God’s story on the lesson topic by exploring the Bible reference or texts for the session.
Step 5 – Engage in Applying for God’s Mission
The third and last major movement of the lesson leads the group to apply God’s story to real life. Here is where Christian practices emerge that lead the group into God’s mission to redeem and restore the world.
Step 6 – ClosingThis step is where you bring people to a point, to a decision, commitment of action or summarize the learning objectives. Then close in prayer.